Thursday 8 April 2010

Monet and Calvados

Honfleur! Nearly as flowery as the name (which rather refers to rivers than to flowers, but OK, let's not be picky…) is the idea of being in the estuary of the Seine river. That means, a little further down the road (or up the stream) is Paris! But opposed to the splendor of France's capital, the harbour area of this little village  in the Calvados district is sporting the smallest houses imaginable. People seem to have walked in and out sideways! Certainly this was before the sweet shops had opened that are numerous in the sweet, cosy little port. The times of the old Normandy drift through the narrow alleys, the fortifications witness the hundred year's war, the old wooden church tells seafarer tales. If they only banned the cars from this magnificent place, it would be a world class walk-through history lesson! But already in April it is pretty crowded, which is of course also due to the magnificent weather.
In the meantime, a bus with eager art lovers is making its way towards Giverny, a little community on the  banks of the Seine river which never would be known by many if it weren't for the unforgettable works of Claude Monet, the grandseigneur of impressionism. And here it is, the probably most famous little garden bridge in the world, leading across the waterlily pond, portrayed oh so often by Monet. Hard to tell what touches you more, seeing this places through the painters eyes or step inside the Cathedral of Rouen, a immensely impressive, building that reaches as far back as the 12th century. It has always been a holy place, already featuring a church in the 4th century in the same location. And it feels.
Senses wide open, everybody returns to Honfleur, only to enjoy the old spirit of this place even more.
After sunset we cast the lines and leave beautiful France. Au revoir!