I was sad to be leaving Paris. We packed in the morning, and had our last breakfast of eggs and orange juice. Then we left to pick up the rental car. Although I had advised my father-in-law to make the reservation at an agency far from the city center, somewhere near the end of a metro line close to our apartment, I found out that we would be picking up the car somewhere by the Louvre. We took the Metro to the Louvre Rivoli stop, then trudged up and down Rue Rivoli, looking for the car agency located in the “Carousel du Louvre.” I then suggested that my in-laws stay with the bags while hubby and I scouted the Louvre itself for the Hertz agency. I couldn’t believe that it would be possible to rent a car inside the Louvre, but apparently it is. We found Hertz with the help of a Louvre employee. We went back to get our in-laws, and then trudged with our heavy bags back to the Louvre. Within 20 minutes, we were in our rental car, a VW Tourang.
My father-in-law has never driven in Europe, and he now faced having to drive through the busiest part of Paris. He took us successfully down the Champs Elysee and around the Arc de Triomphe with a minimum of swearing and exasperations. We had Mapquest directions on his laptop to Rouen, which we followed without any problems.
In Rouen, we parked in the Hotel de Ville parking lot, close to the cathedral. We bought panini from a street vendor and took them back to the square in front of the cathedral. My hubby and I split a sandwich and a piece of lemon cake. Lunch was less than 10 euros with sodas.
After lunch, we went into the cathedral, which was quite impressive. The stained glass windows were amazing, but it was difficult to get good pictures of them.
Then to the Musee des Beaux Arts. The collection there has some works by important artists, but the thing that is spectacular about the museum is the museum itself and the way that the art is so beautifully displayed.
We wandered around Roeun for a bit more, including a stop at this pretty little park, then headed for Honfleur at around 5 pm.
With my father-in-law driving, and my hubby navigating, it soon became apparent that we were lost. The map we had was not very detailed, and when I inquired why we were not following the Mapquest directions, I was told that they had begun in another part of Rouen, different from where we had ended up parking the car. If it had been up to me, we would have backtracked back to the Rouen city center to where the Mapquest directions began, but Earl’s and hubby’s plan was to drive around until they passed by something that they could find on the map. After an hour of this, they finally saw a sign to the A13, and so what should have taken an hour ended up taking over 2 hours to reach Honfleur.
Our B&B in Honfleur was La Cour St. Catherine. We arrived at around 7:30 pm. We entered the garden courtyard, and then saw a sign to ring the bell for reception. We rang it, and a man appeared in one of the windows of the main house. “Vous avez reservations?” he asked, and I answered “Oui.” He came down and showed us our rooms, and then walked Earl to the parking lot up the street. Our room was very cute and comfortable and overlooked the quiet street. We had a room with bath for 70 euros per night. Earl and Lisa’s room had a bathroom with a slanted roof, so the shower was a bit small for 6’4” Earl. We offered to switch, but they wanted the bigger king size bed in their room. The only thing that I didn’t like about my room was the “jute” carpet that was uncomfortable to walk in while barefoot.
As we waited for Earl, we met Liliane. I could tell immediately that she was a very kind and sincere person. She was very patient with my attempts at French, and even complimented me on my ability to speak it, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! She offered to make a dinner reservation for us for the night, and she did so for 9:00 pm at Le Bouilland Normand. She gave us a map of Honfleur and directions to the restaurant. We thanked her and Antoine, and headed out.
The town of Honfleur is of course as charmant in the pictures. It was a warm summer evening, and we enjoyed our stroll through the town and along the harbor.
The restaurant was small and cozy and filled with people at 9:00. The waitress was very nice and patient with our attempts at French. For dinner, I had a three-course, 18 euros menu. I had the “fish of the day,” and a trio of cheeses instead of dessert. Marc had moules, the fish and apple pie. The fish was perfectly cooked, and it had a creamy sauce with capers and potatoes gratin. The desserts that other people ordered looked super-yummy. As we were waiting for our check, the waitress came over to me and said that Lisa “needed me in the bathroom.” She had locked herself with the old-fashioned key in and couldn’t get out! Luckily I managed to “rescue her.” We went back to the B&B and agreed that sleeping in was a good idea.