Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HONFLEUR - Normandy, France

June 15, 2014



Honfleur is a key tourist destination in Normandy, with its lovely port, which has inspired so many artists.

"This little maritime city, which has somehow escaped the ravages of time, has managed to preserve the traces of a rich historical past, which make it one of the most visited towns in France, with its picturesque small streets and old houses". 

Its international renown is partly due to the authenticity of its narrow paved streets and timber-framed house-fronts, its little shops, charming hotels and typical restaurants, but also to the variety of its monuments and the wealth of its cultural and artistic heritage."

So it is described in Tourist brochures. In my opinion that isn't quite the truth. It hasn't escaped the ravages of time, because most of the historical buildings are falling apart. In this time of the year when I was there i.e. beginning May, it looked rather sad and neglected. Lots of shops and restaurants were closed.  Maybe during the summer season packed with tourists visiting this little town, it looks better and wakes up. The description was probably true a century ago, but now if I compare it to the other side of the channel in England, I was very disappointed. 

Honfleur, was and is a town of painters and Impressionism. The changing light on the Seine estuary inspired Courbet, Monet, Boudin and many others. Today dozens of galleries and artists' studios continue to display a wide choice of classical and modern paintings, but most of them were closed ! If you want to know a little more about Honfleur you can read it  here



I managed to drive through these little streets, my rearview mirrors almost touching the walls !



A victim of time



Once beautiful architecture



At least I found one souvenir shop open !






A few houses however still looked good, at least from far



The habour was very pittoresque



and despite the out of season time a carousel was turning around for kids. A group of Japanese tourists admired the harbour.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

TROUVILLE - Normandy

When I was on Holidays in Normandy, we also visited Trouville-sur-Mer, commonly referred to as Trouville, it is a commune in the Calvados department in Normandy. 




The whole coast became a historical place because here ended WW II. On June 6, world leaders gathered in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day - June 6 1944 (more about it here)



Today Trouville is a well liked town to spend holidays. Above is the market place



and I am standing there with Charlie before we had a drink after having walked through the little town.


The covered market hall where Saturday's a quite big market takes place


The old covered Fish Market, is classified as a historic monument since 1922





There also was a beautiful fountain in the middle of the place.

The tour of the town was quickly done as it seemed very small. The beach looked the same like in Houlgate where we stayed and the houses and the casino too. Therefore I haven't taken many pictures.

The town also seemed rather empty, holiday season hadn't begun yet and lots of shops and restaurants were closed. It's probably better to go in this area from June on, as it also was rather cold and rainy.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

PROGRESS OF RENOVATION WORKS ON WATERLOO's BATTLEFIELD

Last time I had been to the Lion of Waterloo (post here) to have a look on the ongoing renovation works for the 200th anniversary of the battle, several old buildings had been destroyed, but it looks as if there is still a lot of work to be done to be ready for the June 18, 2015.

There had been a lot of discussions about  territory rights between Waterloo and Braine l'Alleud the neighbor city who also claims a part of the site. There were also disagreements between two construction companies.

Now there is even the question to postpone the battle's anniversary and celebrate it a year later in 2016, which would really be a shame only because of the mayors of two little towns ! Of course everybody wants to have a big piece of the cake, tourists will bring a lot of money.

So history or not, if it's not ready they will celebrate not the 200th anniversary but the 201th anniversary. The poor Duke of Wellington will turn in his grave, as he had won the battle, Napoleon maybe doesn't care ... he lost !





Meanwhile there are still lots of tourists who climb the 253 steps up to the Lion and then eat and drink in the "Wellington Café".



On the other side of the Lion it doesn't look very inviting.



The façade of the building which were there in 1815 are preserved and protected with steel not to collapse.



This has once been the Wax Museum and a souvenir shop.



Napoleon's is wrapped in a black plastic bag so he can't see what is going around him.



the new underground museum is protected behind grids with paintings of the battle.



The museum's surface is already mostly finished.



You can walk through this corridor along the underground museum



On the pictures you can see the future entrance into the museum






Fortunately the tourist office is still standing ! Entrance fees and souvenirs have to be sold for the probably rather empty pockets of the site !

And here is a link to how it looked before when I visited the site in 2008.

A video shows you how the new museum will look like here

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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