Tag Archives: Castle


I spent some time in Normandy, visiting my friend Audrey and Gael Chetelat’s lab at the Université de Caen.  The lab was very welcoming and is doing very cool research…I enjoyed talking science with them (although I felt a little rusty!).

Dinner with the Chetelat lab.

I haven’t seen Audrey in ages, so this trip was such a treat!  She was a great host, and even made a Normandy to-do list for me (which I tried my best to follow!).  I spent most of my time in Caen, but also saw the coast and famous Normandy beaches.

Cows of Normandy, working hard to make delicious butter and milk for us!

Chateau de Caen, built by William the Conqueror in 1060.

View of Caen from castle wall.

"Pedestrian" street in Caen.

Street art in Caen!

Audrey and I dine at a traditional Normandy restaurant.

Audrey vs. frog!

I have duck, Audrey has veal liver.

For dessert, I have Teurgoule for the first time. This rice pudding is a Normandy speciality, and it tres bon!

Visiting the Normandy coast was a very touching experience.  As you are faced with tranquil views of the water, it’s surreal to imagine this as the site of D-Day during WWII.  There is a beautiful American cemetery and memorial at Omaha beach, where the American 1st and 29th infantries landed during the attack.  I felt very emotional and patriotic during this visit.

View of coast as we drive to Omaha beach.

American cemetery.

"The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves," a statue near the American cemetery.

Map showing trajectories of army divisions.

Exhibit within the museum at the memorial.

Omaha beach and English Channel.


Thanks for reading!  Our flight back to the USA leaves in a few hours, but I still have a few more posts to go so stay tuned!

Normandy flag.

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Chateau de Breteuil bike ride

We spent our first weekend with Stephane (Charles’ advisor at the IHES), who generously invited us to his home in Dampierre-en-Yvelines.  We had the pleasure to meet Stephane’s daughter Milena, who was an excellent hostess that made us feel very welcome (and also made us coffee with mousse in the morning!).

Charles and Milena.

Who's higher? (Beth!!!!)

The weather was perfect so we went on a bike ride, where we encountered stunning countryside views and glimpses of multiple villages.

Google map showing bike ride route.

Let's go!

The entire ride was a treat for our visual systems.

AMAZING countryside views!

Champ de maïs.

Charles and Stephane.

I really like these trees.

We did an out and back to the Chateau of Breteuil, a castle in Chevreuse with lovely blue gates.

Getting closer....

Almost there.

We arrive!

There were many treasures in the castle….

Painting of french author of Marcel Proust.

Replica of the Queen's Necklace.

Hallway of butterfly specimens.

Creepy baby.

Pins with flair.

Hoof....proof that rich people own the strangest things.

Marquise du Châtelet, famous bad ass french mathematician and ancestor to the Breteuil family.

Cats inspired by Charles Perrault's "Puss in Boots." These dolls kept reappearing throughout the castle.

And finally, a see-saw just outside the castle.


Thanks for reading, will post more soon!

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