Back in February, I needed to get away. So, off to the beach we went! I’ve been to the Normandy region once before – omg so long ago – but I knew this trip would be different than tagging along as an au pair.
It ended up being the perfect getaway. Let’s get the nitty gritty stuff out of the way.
As one might expect, this option is for chatty people with strong stomachs, zero attachment to driving laws, and slim wallets.
Pros: cheap, a nice view onto historic street, great beach location (just a short walk away)
Cons: too-pleasant robot clerk, no hairdryer included, unsettlingly blank walls.
Both mornings this was our breakfast – just look at all that butter! Eaten in a little place next to the Saint Jacques church in the sun.
Stumbled on a little farmer’s market – apples galore and a friendly tutoyer-ing cheese vendor. Neufchâtel is produced in a city bearing the same name that we passed on the way up to Dieppe. I’ve seen that name on cream cheese in the US but it’s not at all the same. It tasted a bit like Camembert. Very salty with a creamy center.
The Café des Tribunaux, on the main commerce street, was great for relaxing and people-watching. After a morning of getting a salty air facial on the beach, a croque madame was the exact meal I wanted. If you were wondering what the difference between a croque madame and a croque monsieur is, it’s the egg! These afternoon pastries were quite good – passionfruit tart and something noisette I think? I lost the information of this salon de thé but it was a cute 2-story place a short walk away from Café des Tribunaux where you could look down on the street from the window.
So, when I ordered les neuf amandes avec leur sauce échalotte at Le New Haven I honestly expected to get a plate with nine almonds on it and a yummy shallot sauce to dip them in. I was oh so curious to taste this northern French specialty comprised of such a delicate and unexpected pairing of two ingredients that I love. When the waiter ceremoniously placed a tiny fork on my side of the table, my stomach sunk; I knew what was coming…
Once I convinced myself to actually pick up one of the shells, wrench out the thing, and drench it in the lovely vinegar-shallot sauce, I did enjoy eating it. They tasted like the sea + the sauce, in a good way. But after about three of them I’d had enough, and my bf happily finished them off.
Small towns are funny. We really enjoyed reading the local news posted on these red displays every day. I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture the first day of the shiver-inducing headline about a local murder case.
There were plenty of beachfront casinos to choose from. After seeing them on our many walks on the beach I finally forced us to go in. We played some slot machines as was recommended by the very friendly woman who takes your money and gives you a fake and illogically proportioned version to play with. I’ve never been to Vegas so I relied on my Super Nintendo skills to win and then instantly lose 50€. Every day I wake up and the bitterness that floods my being forces me to have an extra sugar in my coffee. No, just kidding, but wow I understand gambling addiction now. I really, really wanted to keep playing to “win it back” – even though I’d never actually won it.
The architecture was a fascinating and sad mix of beautiful old buildings and either modern reconstructions or the signs of plans to rebuild. I must have been quite impressionnée because I have almost no pictures of buildings despite our many walks around town.
Other discoveries were the bomb shelters remaining from the war on the tops of the cliffs every couple hundred meters, the boats and lock, and the château on the edge of town. No pics, too captivated! We also noticed that the buses stop running at 7pm (!!!) and learned the hard way that almost every store and restaurant is closed on Monday. Ah, small towns, so quaint! Luckily there were two kebab shops to choose from and we picked a winner with Istanbul Kebab – it was honestly more delicious than most Parisian ones I’ve been to. ❤