When we touched down, it felt so right to be back in France. Aside from a piece of luggage that went astray (actually, it never left Vancouver) we had an uneventful flight, delightful in Business Class with real food and real utensils. We remembered the way to the car lease office and picked up our silver grey Peugeot 207, shiny and new with only 4 km on it, and drove off towards Normandy. Too bad our GPS was in that missing suitcase... but never fear, Karl with his homing pigeon instincts did not disappoint.
We drove to Honfleur on the Atlantic coast. A major defensive port in the 15th century, it has blossomed into one of Normandy's most appealing harbours. At its heart is the 17th centrury Vieux Bassin (Old Dock), with its picturesque tall houses (6-7 storeys). It is a fishing village attracting tourists with its faded buildings and colourful boats.
This is also from where Samuel de Champlain left to sail to Nouvelle-France and establish Quebec City.
We stayed at the Mercure Hotel, a name that we are now associating with quality and service, and ate at "Les Deux Ponts". Our first dinner on French soil was everything we had anticipated: salmon lox on toast, scallops en brochette, baked salmon with Basmati rice and veggies, some cheese and salad, and an Île flottante to end the repast. Of course, some delightful wine from the Land of Oc (Languedoc is where we were last year.) A long day, but without taking time to sleep during the day, our jet-lag just doesn't exist.