Tag Archives: Wine

Normandy

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.

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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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Bordeaux

Bordeaux was great!  We stayed at Villa St Simon, a B&B in Blaye (50km north of Bordeaux city). We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived, but quickly realized how lucky we were to find this B&B.  The villa itself has amazing wine to drink, tastings in the evenings, and outgoing owners that make sure you do fun stuff, feel comfortable, and learn about French wine.  I think we will visit Villa St Simon again, hopefully sooner rather than later!

We drank numerous bottles during our visit, and returned home with 10 bottles (which will hopefully make it back to Boston!).

Tasting room.

I spy Charles!

Villa St. Simon is close to the citadel of Blaye, designed by Vauban in the 1680s…

Charles strikes a pose before crossing the moat.

Buildings within the citadel.

Sunset.

Just south of Blaye is Bourg-sur-Gironde…we enjoyed wandering through this town’s streets, visiting the outdoor market, and eating oysters for lunch!

A foggy day in Bourg.

Wash house in Bourg.

A small outdoor market is held every Sunday in Bourg….

Sausages!

We have oysters from the market for lunch with our host Les (right) and another couple visiting Villa St Simon.

We return to Blaye after lunch, and enjoy the clear skies….

Where is the fog?

After a bottle of wine, I felt like sitting in this boat was the right thing to do.

On our final day, we visited Chateau Rousselle, a 57-acre vineyard in Bourg.  We learned a lot about wine from our host Les and the vineyard’s owner Vincent.

Vineyard, with beautiful fall colors.

Les tells us about the chateau's cement tanks.

Vincent tells us about his wine...

....and we listen!

Before catching our train home, we spend a few hours in the city of Bordeaux…

A panoramic view of the Girondins monument (taken with photosynth).

Inside Cathédrale Saint-André.

Charles walks on water.

View of Garonne river.

I will leave you with this homework reading list!:

Les' book recommendations.

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