This post is about what Deauville is not about. Why am I writing this? Because I was deeply disappointed. I had read several articles about things to do and see in the vincinity of Deauville. I had looked it up online. I had read all the articles and noted down what I really wanted to do.
From what I had read, I wanted to visit the monastery of Mont Saint Michel. It was supposed to be just a drive away. My ex-husband, Picasso, laughed at my plan over the phone. He told me the Mont Saint Michel was in Bretagne, whilst I was clearly heading towards Normandy. I still wouldn’t have it, him being my ex-husband and all. So I checked in with my trusted boyfriend, Wim. He performed a search on Google Maps and found that the Mont Saint Michel is at 350km from Deauville. That’s like going from one end of Belgium all the way to the other end, and then some. No no no, we would definitely not be going there.
But have no fear, I had other plans too. I wanted to go see the famous tapestry of Bayeux. It is still in France for the moment. Soon to be moved to the UK as promised by the French president Macron to seal the friendship with Britain. Or is it just to remind the people behind Brexit that they actually lost that battle?
I was particularly set on seeing this tapestry from the dark ages, from 1066 in fact. The real reason being that I have serious mommy issues. My mother, being a true Brit, always declared high and loud that Britain had never been invaded, and never lost a war. But what about the Romans then, I asked her as a little girl. What Romans, my mother had retorted. I reminded her of the Roman remains we had visited the previous summer in Bath. Upon which she just casually replied that the Romans were just visiting. Yes, seriously.
Here is some Post-Easter humor: “I don’t know where the eggs come from and I have no idea why I feel a compulsion to hide them.”
So you might understand my enthusiasm when I had discovered in a comic book of Suske & Wiske when I was only 12, that the French had invaded Britain in 1066 and won that battle. The Battle of Hastings became my ally forever. I love that little piece of history. I love the year 1066.
We happily jumped into our car one cloudy afternoon in Deauville, intent on going to see the tapestry of Bayeux. I typed in the address in my Sat Nav. And the GPS calculated it would take me one hour and a half. I stared at the Sat Nav dismayed. One hour and a half is the time it takes to drive from my home to the seaside. And I was already at the seaside. So why would I spend that time in my car? To see a tapestry? I’d be able to see it in much more detail online. So I declined, reluctantly.
Runner up on my list was to visit Omaha beach, see the sites of D-day, the memorials, the tanks, the bunkers… all of it. Same scenario as above. Same driving time. Hand palm this time, and deep sighs. We would be going nowhere this holiday. We would go to the beach each day. Drink champagne. Eat pancakes. Play beach volley and run around chasing each other in the sand.
I came to the conclusion that the wonderful articles I had read must have been written by Americans. Non-Europeans at the least. When I state that something is ‘nearby’, I really mean nearby. That’s like a 30 minute drive. If I say ‘it is just down the road’, then I really mean it is within 10 minutes walking distance. 350km or even 150km is not nearby. Driving for more than an hour to get somewhere is a long way. It is not right next door. Let’s get that straight. What was nearby was the fishermen’s town of Honfleur.
We found our own happy in Deauville. We spent intimate evenings walking in the fresh air along the boardwalk. We took our chance to play together, and to find ourselves inspired and boosted with clear new energy. Energy engenders action plans to put great ideas into use. That’s what Deauville was for us.
Maybe I am a pessimist. But I always manage to find my own ‘happy’ wherever I am.