July 10, 2008 Caen, Normandy, France
Back to Caen on the last leg of our own Tour de France, just as the real thing was going through Auray, where we had been a month before. And, just as it had been when we were here 5 weeks ago, it was raining, although not quite as heavily
as it had been last time. The campsite, Les Hautes Coutures at Benouville, which we had pre- booked to be ready for the ferry, was crowded, with small pitch sizes, but had the most amazing swimming pool complex to justify its otherwise high price.
Although very close and convenient for the ferry, it is an expensive overnight stop if the full facilities are not to be enjoyed.
We visited Sword beach, which we had seen from the ferry when we first arrived, to see the memorial to the D-Day landings.
Further up the coast we saw crowds thronging what appeared to be a Sunday market in one of the villages. We stopped to investigate and found, just as one would in the UK on a Sunday afternoon, a giant car boot sale. The rubbish on sale was almost the same as an English one too. At that point the heavens opened again, so we beat a hasty retreat back to camp. However the cloud did have a silver lining, as we were able to watch the last couple of sets of that superb tennis match between Nadal and Federa.
On our last day in France we returned to the city of Caen, hoping to see it in the dry. We called at the castle built by William the Conqueror in 1050, which is now an arts complex, with some interesting pictures in the gallery, including a fine Perugino.
A visit to cathedral was a little disappointing, in spite of its age and the fact that it remained standing whilst all around was destroyed in the war. Later, while we were enjoying yet another fine lunch, the rains started again. In the afternoon we visited Vieux, an appropriately named village just outside Caen, where substantial Roman remains have been excavated and are excellently displayed in a modern museum. The rain of course spoilt the walk round the remains themselves!
Its back home now for a week or so to attend our niece's wedding. The trip will resume shortly..............