From Honfleur, in Normandy region of France, travels through a young girl’s eyes

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, October 5, 2016

By Madeleine Fuselier

The Orange Leader

Hi there! I am a life-long Orangeite who just moved to Paris. I am spending this year teaching English, improving my French, and exploring France (and some of its neighboring countries) before heading to college next fall. Keep reading to find out what’s been going on “Meanwhile With Madeleine!” Thanks for allowing me to share my adventures with you!

Just before noon, my roommate and I arrived in Honfleur, France. We eagerly exited the bus and made the trek towards town. We encountered a drawbridge, which had been risen to allow a boat to pass through and waited as it lowered.

As we crossed the bridge, we came across a duo of street performers. The woman sat at the base of a staircase while the man stood a few steps above her. He held two rods that controlled the strings tied to each of the woman’s wrists, and their entire bodies were painted to resemble statues. The pair stood completely frozen until a spectator dropped some change into the jar that sat in front of them. Then, they would begin a beautiful routine in which the woman played a marionette and the man acted as her puppeteer. My roommate and I stayed to watch them for quite a while. There was something mesmerizing about their graceful, perfectly synchronized movements. Every aspect of every motion, even down to the timing and manner of their blinking, seemed intentional but somehow completely natural at the same time.

When we were finally able to break out of our trance, we headed to the Church of Saint Catherine, the largest wooden church in France. It was quite a departure from the Gothic style churches one frequently sees in Paris. It was so interesting to see how much the architecture of Honfleur differs from that of the French capital when they’re about the same distance from each other as Orange is from Houston.

We continued to make our way through the city’s winding streets, popping into several cute little shops before stopping at a cafe to share a delicious nutella crepe. We walked around the perimeter of the town’s beautiful port, past restaurants that gave off tempting aromas, but we had packed lunch with us. So, we sat on a bench by the ocean and shared a meal of cheese, charcuteries, a baguette, jam, and heavenly French butter.

As we walked back to the bus, we saw the street performers break character and begin to pick up their things. We boarded the bus and hit the road towards Étretat. We crossed over the Pont de Normandie, and we saw the Seine meeting the English Channel. I had been up late the night before, so I quickly settled in for a much-needed nap.

Once in Étretat, we walked through town towards the boardwalk and then hiked to the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean (I must acknowledge my roommate for conquering this feat in heels). We took in the spectacular views, and then made our way back down to the boardwalk. We grabbed two cones from a little ice-cream stand and bought them to the beach.

The beach was one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been. Instead of the sand I’m used to seeing back home, it was covered in smooth gray rocks. Because of this, the waves made a different sound as they approached the shore, which might most accurately be compared to that of a distant roar of applause. We finished our ice cream, and then just laid back and soaked it all in.

It was an all-around perfect day in Normandy, and this little adventure has me very excited for more to come!