A Frolic in the French Fields
Trip Start Mar 17, 2012
80Trip End Jun 26, 2012
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First I must pick up a car rental that has been pre-booked, located about half a mile from the port. We leave early (8.30 AM) for a 9.00 AM pick-up. We have 2 passengers, Myra & Sandi (friends we met from the ship), coming on our French Frolic to Honfleur, Giverny, Rouen and lots of French villages and countryside in between.
It is a slow start as we wait for the National rental office to open their doors at 9.00 AM. I was sure they opened at 8.30 but nevertheless we waited in the cold frost of the morning whilst the rude French assistant watched us from the inside and waited for the hourly pips before unlocking her
How was I to know they had similar green logos?
Finally we are away and heading over the massive Pont de Normandie – the newly built bridge that spans across the river Seine to join Le Havre and Honfleur.
The fishing village of Honfleur is one of the prettiest in France and is considered the birthplace of Impressionism. After lingering around its mariner Vieux Bassin to soak in the ambience, we head off along the main arterial road toward Giverny and the home and garden of Claude Monet.
It is easy to see how this brilliant French impressionist had the necessary ingredients to create the masterpieces for which he is renowned.
From Giverny we follow country roads through village townships including Lyons-La-Foret and Les Andelys, to eventually arrive into Rouen.
Being the capital of Normandy, the hustle and bustle of this city was a marked change from the serenity of the route we had travelled to get here
Time was escaping and there were just a few more hours left to take in sights of this town and to return to Le Havre, drop off the car and board the ship before departure. We elect to just drive around Rouen and see whatever was available in an allocated half hour or so, before taking a slower route back along the Route Des Abbayes – reputedly one of the most memorable routes in France which winds through black forests and lush green countryside that contain ruins of monasteries and chateaux.
With little time to spare, we arrive back on board, exhausted after a full day of exploring just a fraction of what this proud country has to offer.
Tonight we cross back over the English Channel for arrival into Dover in the morning.