Saturday, 14 November 2009

Caen: Northern France

These are the final series of trips, which I made to Paris, before Maïté left her place there. It was interesting to see more and more of Paris and of her home-region and the surrounding areas.

[Click on the bolded-italicised-title-links for more pictures]

IMG_1654 Lily Allen Concert [22 October]: I just had to see Lily Allen when I saw that she was hosting a concert in The Zenith in Paris. It was a bit more "teenie-bopperish" than I thought it would be, but at least I had a taste of what might have been my last concert for a while. She was drunk or something while she was singing, with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other, trotting up and down on the stage with her short & very exposing dresses. We had a nice time, and even got a poster on the way out.

IMG_1721 Caen: Northern France [Memorial] [23 October]: Maïté took me to visit her previous study city, Caen. A brief about the city: Caen is a commune in north-western France. It is the prefecture of the Calvados department and the capital of the Basse-Normandie region. It is located 15km inland from the English Channel. Caen is known for its historical buildings and for the Battle for Caen—heavy fighting that took place in and around Caen during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, destroying much of the town. It was quite pretty and culture-soaked, for a northern town, and seemed to have a lot packed into it, a much more exciting study city than Aix, for example.

We visited museums, saw the city & the port, ate traditional crêpes with apples and all the works [super cheap but high quality crêpes compared to Aix, after all this was the region of crêpes!].

IMG_1731.1 One famous museum there is the Caen Memorial: Museum for Peace, which, morbid and depressing as it is, we visited. Essentially, it is a huge exhibition [which took 4-5 hours to see/read everything] on the past world wars, and the destruction/politics, quests for peace, etc. Can you believe there was a tin of KLIM Powdered Milk in the museum! Who would have thought that people would one day pay money to enter a museum to see a tin of KLIM! Ha-ha! Aside from that, one interesting display was an original letter sent by Albert Einstein to Franklin Roosevelt concerning the discovery of the atomic bomb! In the end, the museum somehow got me interested in all this since in Trinidad, our education does not really focus on the world wars as European education does.

IMG_1773 Paris by Night [11 November]: We saw Paris by night on this occasion, after meeting up with one of Maïté's friends for drinks. We saw the spectacular light show of the Eiffel Tower, accompanied by corny music, but it was nice. Earlier that day, I had the pleasure of seeing KFC on strike; it was amazing. I knew that France is famous for strikes but ironically, this was exactly when I really craved for KFC!

IMG_1783 Villedieu les Poêles [13 November]: When I went to the train station [SNCF] to get my ticket to Villedieu les Poêles, the woman at the counter reacted with shock: "I have no idea where that is, but it's a beautiful name though". Villedieu les Poêles means literally: "The city of gods, the frying pans". It is a small town in the Manche department in Normandy very near Maïté's place [Gavray]. Its inhabitants are called Sourdins from the French sourd meaning deaf. Most of the people involved in the manufacturing of copper pans, which involved repeated hammering, became deaf. It is famous for handicraft work, such as the traditional manual production of frying pans, and other copper-based products, pottery work, and glasswork. We were lucky this day to see a demonstration by the glassmaker [the art of glass blowing - soufflage du verre].

IMG_1791 Gavray: Northern Beaches [14 November]: This afternoon after lunch, we went for a walk on the "beach". This is just to show how dark, gloomy, cold, and rough the northern seas are. I think I will stick to the Côte d'Azur.

For more pictures, see: