Deauville according to a European

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.

3b0689a1fbd4ea05918d664a9738c243

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.

Advertisements

Trip to Deauville that is the stuff of fairy tales

Yeay, we finally arrived Saturday late afternoon at our destination in Deauville, city located in Normandy, France. See those happy faces? Not so. That’s just me trying to make my life look perfect. In fact by the time we arrived at Deauville Paradise, our apartment rental, we were all in a very cranky and disgruntled state.

Why? For one, I was dead beat stressed out. I have been running around trying to manage three kids on my own, getting them dressed, fed and to school. Putting food on the table. Getting them to their activities. Taking care of medical urgencies. And the list of single motherhood duties goes on.

To top it all off, I am also trying to get my game on for my own business. Continuously pitching new clients and doing all the work by myself as my star employee is awaiting to have a darling little baby. I have applied for an au-pair and found a fantastic match, but still waiting for the whole thing to go through red-tape administration.

Plus I have engaged with another company to film webinars on how to do online marketing. Which is a great opportunity for me to promote my visibility and to make new contacts in my network. It would all have been just exhausting had it not been for the very attractive, and very young, camera man, which just made the whole thing very challenging. Imagine being stuck in a small room for three entire days with the most sexy man you know. Yup, that’s how it feels.

So stressed out mommy hops in her car merrily with her three darling kiddos. One toddler approaching the terrible twos, very prone to throwing huge tantrums. One head-strong pre-teen daughter. And a very explosive teenage boy. All very loving and adorable kiddos, yet each with their very own challenges to manage. All bundled up in one car with one stressed out mommy.

Off we go down the motorway from our hometown Mechelen in Belgium to Deauville in France, a journey which should last no longer than four and a half hours according to my sat nav. That wasn’t counting on the traffic jam we encountered halfway there where two lanes were suddenly reduced to one.

I stopped after a two hour drive at a service station that looked promising. It had a McDonalds type of fast food and toilet facilities. Yet only one nursery room and loads of parents traveling with infants in diapers. We had to queue only to find out that little babykins had a dry nappy and didn’t need a change so I decided to save the only nappy I had brought out of the car for later. Waste not.

We queued up in the fast food squashing between what seemed like hundreds of other starved travellers to get a meal which is really just subpar, but the kids liked it. Whilst eating our french fries the baby pooped and I thanked heaven I had saved that nappy for later. Still had to queue up again, this time with a very smelly toddler.

France is known for its paid toll roads. Unless you want to go the long way round. In our case that would mean adding on an extra two hours to our travel itinerary. I think not. When traveling with kids, go for luxury, it’s worth it. I paid toll fees about four or five times. A serious rip-off if you ask me. Seemed ok at first. Just whisk out your credit card, pay the toll. And then again. And then again, really? And… again, like seriously? And…

Anyway, the last part of the road I should have made another stop. But I just wanted to get there. Find our sunny seaside resort and relax with a bunch of happy kids. Big mistake to keep driving. My bum was hurting when we got there. Kids were not happy. We resorted to giving into the toddler’s whim and shoved YouTube under his nose for the last half hour in the car.

IMG_6979

Our apartment we found in a beautiful private domain, at a ten – or looks more like fifteen to me – minute walk from the beach. Beautiful, comfortable but cold. Like ice cold. And if something gets me more cranky than being tired, it’s being tired and cold. We were obviously the first visitors in this apartment for this season and the place had not been heated. It took two full days of putting the radiators full blast to have the place feeling liveable. Just saying.

We went out to eat pizza that night. With a very tired baby who threw a tantrum towards the end of the meal so we left before desert. At least I had had my glass of champagne.