Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bonjour Madame

Well my French adventure has just about ended, so it is time to start sharing the stories from my fascinating three-day trip. I experienced and saw so many new things that I think three entries will be in order.

As I alluded to in my quick post on Thursday, I had a bad Charles de Gaulle airport experience. By 12:30 on Wednesday, I almost had myself convinced that Paris (and therefore all of France) was as terrible as I thought in college and that I should just go back to Germany. But not wanting to let the Frenchies win, I persevered-- through ticket machines that only except French credit cards or coins, through the broken change machine that would give said coins and through a crazy long ticket line due to problems a and b. I eventually found my way to the St. Lazare station and caught my train to Bayeux.

Luckily, my problems seemed to be more the result of French inefficiency and stubbornness than rude French people (as the stereotype goes.) French people were actually surprisingly nice. My general experience was that the following worked very well:
1. “Bonjour madame/monsieur”
2. Flash friendly smile
3. “Par le vous Anglais?”
4. Flash another friendly, hopeful smile
5. Throw in “merci” and “si vous plais” as often as possible

Using the above battle plan, I got myself to Bayeux and from that point on, had only positive experiences.

Louis XVI built the B&B I stayed at for his botanist. The room had wooden beams in the ceiling and stonewalls and the garden/park in the back was filled with interesting trees and flowers. There was no phone or internet, but I guess if I wanted that I could have stayed home:-)

I hadn’t really expected much of Bayeux, so its delicious food, quaint streets and window boxes overflowing with colorful flowers were quite a pleasant surprise. For dinner on Wednesday I had a salad with warm cheese, an apple tart and a glass of cider. The area is known for cheese, apples, pears, cider and caramel. DELICIOUS! After dinner I did a bit more exploring. In some ways the town reminded me of Leland-- cozy but a bit touristy; great ice cream and even a water wheel!

I watched the soccer game later in the evening and then headed to bed so I would be ready for the Tour de France the next morning.

Cathedral of Notre Dame in Bayeux

More tomorrow…

(p.s. As I type this at the airport, a guy just walked past wearing a GIANT cowboy hat. I guess that he is either from Texas or Germany, but he certainly is not blending in with France.)


At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Corey said...

After working for Valeo Engine Cooling, I know a little about French inefficiency . . .

Glad to hear you eventually had a good time in France.

Can't wait to read the remainder of your posts on the topic.

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous The Exit said...

soso ein französisches abendteuer. verraten sie mal bitte die infos zwischen den zeilen!

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Erin said...

Stay tuned you two:-)

At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Wisco Girl said...

see, cheese CAN make bad experiences better! did you find a kind you particularly liked?

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I had camembert and goat cheese and both were fantastic!


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