I was booked on an early train to Rouen(Le Havre) to meet my friends Joelle and Ian Purdie. Joelle was my Principal at Gooseberry Hill for a number of years and now runs a B&B about 40 minutes out of Rouen in the Normandy area of France. The area is predominatly a farming area with cattle, corn, canola and apple orchards for making cider.
I arrived and Joelle met me at the station...I haven't seen her for about 8 years and it was nice to see that she still looked the same...
The weather for the day was terrible!!! Very heavy rain and wind which was a little sad as it was difficult to see the beautiful countryside. We arrived at "Chez Chloe" which is a very large 3 level farmhouse down a delightful country lane in the small town of St Pierre Benouville about 90 minutes train ride from Paris. They have 3 large rooms that they rent out and have done an enormous amount of work restoring the house since they purchased it about 5 years ago. Unfortunately due to ill health and the amount of work involved to run it they have had to put it up for sale. They will still stay in the area as it is where Joelle grew up.
After the grand tour and lots of catch up chatter I was treated to a lunch fit for royalty!! We had a traditional french lunch consisting of 5 courses and 3 different wines!!! Definitely no dinner for me tonight!!! Joelle is still a magnificent cook and lunch was amazing.
After lunch Joelle and I braved the weather in the car and she drove me to Dieppe, which is a lovely beachside town...but unfortunately the weather got worse as we got closer to the ocean and we could only just see the beach when we arrived! There was a large ferry in the harbour and it takes cars and people over to England, it only takes about 5 hours to cross the channel....OH how lovely to be so close to so many amazing countries!
Unfortunately day visits come to an end very quickly and so did mine... it was 5pm and we were headed to the train station yet again.
It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and with a fond farewell I hopped on the train once more to head home to Paris. I have to say after a long day of travelling it was nice to eventually get back to my cozy apartment...now for some sleep so I can hit the shops of Paris in the morning!!!