Thursday, September 15, 2011

Honfleur and Caen - Day 2 of Tour de France, Part 2

From Rouen, we made our way to Honfleur. Along the way we saw policemen manning all the bridges, junctions and exits and we wondered what was going on. Our tour manager, Simeon, then told us that the strong presence of police was because of the forthcoming G8 Summit that was planned at Deauville in the next couple of days. In fact he told us that Deauville was on our original itinerary but because of the tight security and the ensuing traffic congestion there, we would skip that and instead have another sight as replacement. Anyway we soon arrived at Honfleur and we were immediately struck by its beauty as we walked towards the town centre.

There is also the ubiquitous carousel.

The old town square is dominated by a unique wooden church, the St.Catherine. This is supposed to be the largest church made out of wood in France.

The structure is totally made of wood and because it cannot hold the weight of a bell-tower, it is built some distance away as a separate building. Another reason is that hopefully it will not be struck by lightning and burn down the whole church.

There were a number of restaurants in the square and we had our lunch in one of them.

Since Honfleur is famous for its seafood, we of course picked it for our lunch. For starter, I had the "fruits de mer" or an assorted seafood platter,

while the missus had mussels in a bowl.

They do not very clean but they tasted very good, I suppose they are in their natural state. We sampled each other's food and I must say the mussels here are tasted the best among those that I tried including those that I had later in Mont St. Michel and La Rochelle. The main dish was some fish and I must be too hungry and forgot to snap their photos. The cost of the starter and the main dish was only 15 euros as this is part of their "plat du jour" or set menu for the day.

After a satisfying lunch, we visited the wooden church.

We walked out of the church

through some narrow streets

and arrived at the beautiful Vieux Bassin or Old Dock. This is the area shown in the first photo but now it is from the other side.

It was really a lovely sight on a lovely sunny day.

From Honfleur, we should be going to Deauville before going to Caen but because of the G8 Summit there, we drove straight to Caen and spent some time in the town before checking into the hotel. First stop was at the square where the Town Hall (on the left), the Abbaye aux Hommes (or Men's Abbey on the right)
and the church of St.Etienne-le-Vieux is located.

We then went to the city centre dominated by the St.Pierre Church

and the restored remains of William the Conqueror's fortress (Caen Castle or Chateau Ducal) just right across the road.

First we visited the church to view the interior.

We then cross the road to climb up to the fortress.

From the ramparts, you get a good view of the city.

In one of the squares inside, there seems to be some sculptures that look like the Chinese Zodiac.

We then went to the old port area at the Bassin St.Pierre to wait for our coach. A pretty relaxing place where I watched some synchronised swimming! 

We then checked into the hotel Mercure Caen Cote de Nacre for the night.

Ronald Kwok

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