Just a week and a day ago, I arrived in France with 5 close friends and family to share some of my favorite corners of Normandy and Paris. Several hours ago, the chapter closed as I kissed them goodbye at Hotel du Printemps, Paris(12th ar.), before they shuttled back to Charles de Gaul to return home. Our time in Normandy will be shared in retrospect, as we had no internet at the lovingly restored old mill in Le Bec Helluoin, where we dined chilly evenings by the fire and woke to grazing sheep each day. Add the comforting white noise of the water of the brook powering the paddles of the mill wheel and you have a fine recipe for relaxation.
Such idyllic moments were accented by day trips to Versailles and Monet’s Giverny to the south and Honfleur, the medieval port town at the mouth of the Seine River to the north. In between the two was a road trip on the “la route des chaumieres”, the path of the thatched houses, along “les boucles de la Seine”- the buckles of the Seine, aptly named for the hairpin turns the mighty river makes north of Rouen and the amazing chateau garden of the Champ du Bataille .
Not wanting to abandon our water theme, we saw Paris from the Bateaubus, the water bus system which transports passengers between eight major sights of Paris along the Seine River. The most relaxing way to see a very busy city. All the years and times I’ve been here, I’ve never done it before, but I promise, it won’t be the last.