My cousin Francoise emailed me these pictures that she took while we were together in Normandy. I posted similar pictures in my post titled “A panoramic view of Rouen” I LOVE these shots, black and white is one my favorite ways of depicting subjects. We used black and white for our wedding pictures as well as sepia. It gives such emotional depth to the subject, in these pictures I’m obviously not the subject, the entire city of Rouen is what matters and the feeling generated by the composition touched my soul.
I have to tell you, I have yet to meet a French city that I didn’t love. Rouen is so beautiful, its spectacle at the Cathedral with its lights, anaimated creatures and focus on music and movement will remain seared in my mind forever.
I love taking these types of pictures; Rouen is laid out before me like an open map, I can focus in on what appeals to me most and put aside some points of interest for a later date.
This year at my cousin’s, I have kiwis growing right outside my bedroom. The vine/tree was here three years ago, but it was still too young to bear fruit. This year it is finally grown to fruit bearing maturity.
The dark images right above are all of the Cathedral of Rouen. Each year the city presents a film or films projected across the entire cathedral based on music and story. This year there were two themes, one of the Viking conquering and later being driven off, but not before leaving behind vestiges of Northern culture.
The second theme was of Joan of Arc, it was beautifully poignant since we all know the story.
The artistry and talent on display while these two films are projected onto one of the most famous and beautiful catherdrals known to man is remarkable. This spectacle is such a treat, I urge you to make the time to visit this great city of France.
I have written about my cousin often in the past, she is my role model and I see her as the older sister I never had, I can tell her anything, which is such a gift in life. I know the phrase “family is everything” has become a cliche over the years, but I feel the significance of the cliche all the same.
My time in France spent with my family has been wonderful, I was so very lucky to have had the time to visit beautiful sights, but the conversations, the laughter and the breaking bread together, those moments are, for me, priceless.
I took the TGV from Bordeaux to Paris, I had one hour to change train stations, there are four I think in Paris, maybe five, but I arrived at Montparnasse and I had to get to Saint Lazare across the river Seine. I took the metro and in only twenty minutes I was at Saint Lazare waiting for the screen to tell me which platform my corresponding train was at, the train ride was very pretty, I passed big and small towns, beautiful countryside and at last, as you can see, my train pulled into the beautiful city of Rouen.
The city of Joan of Arc, the poor thing, it was here where the English burned her at the stake. The Rouenais have never forgotten, they love their Jeanne.
This morning at nine Nicolas, Francoise, the baby girl and I piled into the Renault family car, which I have to say is a very comfortable spacious car, and headed down south to Bordeaux. The distance is about 689 kilometers, which never means anything to me. In the States, it’s miles, anything else is meaningless. So basically whatever the speed limit is gives you an idea how to calculate the time required to cover the distance so, since the speed limit on the highway here varies between 110-130 kilometers an hour and the distance is 689 therefore the time would be around 6-7 hours in the car. A full day of driving for Nicolas with a full day of riding along for the three of us. Francoise had a tremendous idea that split the ride in two parts with lunchtime being the halfway mark. Her sister Michelle recommended a wonderful restaurant in the town of Vouvray that is right outside of Tours, 3 hours away from Rouen and 3 hours away from Bordeaux. Perfect rest stop, Nicolas found it without any trouble, we were seated immediately and the decor was rustic and elegant in an Old World type of way. The food was very good, we all started with sliced cantaloupe and prosciutto ham alongside a small salad. I had a salad served with sliced breast of duck, fresh mushrooms and pine nuts, the baby girl had salmon tartare and both Francoise and Nicholas had spinach raviolis filled with cheese and served with sauteed shrimp. Everything was delicious, we ended with dessert, I had a paper thin apple tart served warm right out of the oven all caramelized with a scoop of all spice ice cream, oh my, was it so light, warm and comforting to slowly eat and savor. We got back on the road and I was battling with my cell phone trying to take pictures of the fields of tall sunflowers that are strewn all between Paris and Bordeaux. I will upload them later on but honestly you will have to trust me that the blurry yellow images are really sunflowers. Before I knew it, we were very close to Bordeaux when we hit the dreaded traffic jam, it added an hour to our trip but I spent the time thinking of what to write and I immediately thought of this car ride and also the fact that we crossed 4 rivers on the way to Bordeaux; the Seine near Rouen and Paris, the Loire near the restaurant, the Dordogne on the cusp of the southwest, the Garonne right at Bordeaux. I don’t think that I have crossed 4 major rivers in probably close to 14 years. I thought that it was an interesting part of our adventure.
When we arrived at my Tonton and Tantine’s house it was a welcome stop because even with the stop in the middle, my legs were feeling a little stiff and my buttocks were numb by this time. That was all forgotten in the wake of all the welcoming kisses and hellos.