Archive for May 16th, 2019

May 16, 2019

Côte de Grâce at Equemauville!

Most folks or I would dare say all who come to this part of Normandy think they are in Honfleur when visiting this place. Actually it is in the town of Equemauville high on the hill. Or the Hill or Plateau of Grace in Equemauville up the road from the vieux bassin or old basin of Honfleur. It is a special place for us and have been coming here since 1992. Oh yes this is still the Calvados dept 14 of the region of Normandy.

The plateau is magical with what you have here as well as the wonderful views over the valley and statuaire of the Seine river. The Notre Dame Chapel, the Mont Joli, the Cross, the pavillion , and the views are superb! Of course, I have written plenty on them but never enough for this magical place.

Equemauville was born in 1023 when the Viking Scamel failed the booty. It baptized the plateau above the beach Scamelvilla. This plateau was a Gallic camp, and a Roman camp as well. They even found carved stones dating from the Paleolithic era..

The plateau of Grace offers a complete panorama on the Normandy coast. Here is what the magical and secret Côte de Grâce offers you! From Honfleur, visitors will join the city of Equemauville, in the heart of the plateau de Grâce. Relaxing walk and rewarding discovery for visitors who will visit an ancient Sanctuary of the region: the Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce or Chapel of Our Lady of Grace. It was founded by Richard II, Duke of Normandy in 1023 to fulfill a vow made during a storm in which he had almost perish. The current Chapel was built between 1600 and 1615 by the bourgeois and sailors of Honfleur. The Chapel is a place of recollection for many pilgrims and also and above all a space of hope according to the legend and worship of Notre Dame. Many faithful come to deposit for centuries offerings such as statuettes, plaques and model boats in gratitude to God. Their numbers today is impressive. The place coveted and visited by famous personnages such as Pierre Berthelot, king Louis XIII Napoléon Bonaparte, and Thérèse of Lisieux. The Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce is today for the plenitude that reigns there. On the outside you can see the bells of pilgrimages.

honfleur

honfleur

honfleur

Right in front of the Notre Dame De Grâce Chapel you have a Fisherman prayer chapel where a priest makes Mass on special ocassions such as when the Festival of Marines or Fête des Marins which we have attended in previous years. There is, also, an impressive Christ Cross overlooking the city of Honfleur below and the bay across is Le Havre.

Honfleur

honfleur

Mont Joli is a magnificent viewpoint which deserves a small detour. It offers a breathtaking view of the entire city, below, with its typical Norman-architecture houses, as well as the remarkable Tancarville Bridge, built in the mid-1950’s. The Normandy Bridgeand the mouth of the Seine river. As well as the city of Le Havre and its ports. From the hill, a nice little road goes down to Honfleur and you can thus return to the city on foot via a pleasant walk. Well it is steep hilly not my cup of tea so I have not done this but is available!

Honfleur

Another interesting building here is the Louis-Philippe Pavilion, it is a charming house where King Louis-Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie took refuge after the revolution of 1848 , known as the February revolution, (the third French revolution! )while waiting to take the boat to go into exile in England. It seems I always missed the picture on this one right next to the entrance to Mont Joli!

It is a pieceful place with great views nice walks if you dare on hilly terrain, but nice. The place was great for our dog Rex as well! Hope you enjoy this special part of Equemauville (as in Honfleur ::))

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Honfleur on cote de grace

Tourist office of dept 14 Calvados on the chapel

Tourist office of Normandy on the chapel

There you go another wonderful spot in Honfleur and surrounding hills. A wonderful family trip, very educational on the history of the region, Normandy and France. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we have.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 16, 2019

The SNSM at Honfleur!

Ok so this should be hard but need to post it and keep as memory of always in my family. if you read my blog you have come to notice we are DNA of island folks both in America and Europe, and we love the sea. I was born with the sea as my patio and have lived near or on it all my life with the exception of the time in Madrid… Honfleur is special for me in more ways than tourism.

With the first anniversay of my dear late wife Martine passing due to cancer, I like to once again take the task to write something about it as she loved coming here too. And the boat rides were a must of course. A lot better than on a lifeboat as I had to do twice. Anyway, this is the story of the SNSM or Société National de Sauvetages en Mer or something like the National Society of Rescues at Sea.

honfleur

First class rescue (vedette) star SNS 131 Notre-Dame-du-Port is the boat at Honfleur. Very emotional for me to pass by it as it took the ashes of my mother and wife out to sea burial in 2007 and 2018. Of course, I am a donor since 2007, and the folks at the station of Honfleur are great folks all volunteers ex fisherman, marines, navy etc who does an admirable jobs protecting lives and helping those in deuil. Chapeau!!!

SNSM station at Honfleur

Sea tides at Honfleur page

honfleur

These boats are first-class Star (vedettes) (V1) are unsinkable and self-right able, allowing it to sail away from the coasts and under extreme conditions. It has an average of 2 diesel engines of 330 HP allowing it to reach the speed of 25 knots. They have length in meters: from 13.3 to 16; Width in meters: from 4 to 4.6; Draught in meters: from 1.15 to 1.35; Displacements in tons: from 12 to 20;; Knot speed: 15 to 26;; Motor power in CH: from 225 to 500; The star V1 costs about 800 000 € for a lifespan of 30 years. This lifetime allows this investment to be recover in the long term.

honfleur

Today, the SNSM has 41 all-weather canoes (CTT), 31 1st class vedettes (V1), 69 2nd class (V2), 4 3rd class (V3), 400 pneumatic, 60 semi-rigid and Jet Ski. In 2018, were delivered a new generation V1 NG for Bandol and Nouméa. The new all-weather canoes recently emerged for the Ile de Sein, Les Sables D’Olonne and Sète. Part of the fleet will be renewed in the coming years because of the end of life of a part of the canoes and the vedettes.

honfleur

The SNSM rescue boats are located on 218 stations along the metropolitan and overseas coasts and operate under the authority and at the request of the regional operational surveillance and rescue centres (CROSS) which in France are the centers of emergency coordination at sea and which depend on the direction of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

A bit of history I like

A British-majority aristocratic committee established the first rescue company in Boulogne-sur-Mer, under the name “Human Society of the Shipwrecks”. Then, were created the human societies of Dunkerque, Calais, Rouen and Bayonne in 1834, of Dieppe in 1839, and finally Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1841. The beginning of centralization was only apparent in France in 1865, when the Central Shipwreck Rescue Society (SCSN) was founded under the chairmanship of Admiral de Genouilly. As a result of the WWII, everything was to be rebuilt, with most of the shelters and nautical means of the SCSN and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB) being destroyed. The two companies with similar goals can no longer meet the needs of the entire French coastline, particularly because of the developing sea crafts and nautical recreation. The SNSM was born in 1967 of the merger of the Central Shipwrecked Rescue Society (SCSN) and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB), a union raised by Admiral Maurice Amman, former maritime prefect of the 2nd region in Brest, which will become the President of the new company.

The SNSM has three types of activities, the offshore rescue, the training of seasonal lifeguards and the prevention of nautical hazards. In the phocean city of Marseille the vedettes of the 1st class V1 NG La Bonne Mère de Marseille (the good mother of Marseille) SNS 152 is armed by soldiers of the battalion of Marines-firefighters of Marseille and not by volunteers like all the other French and overseas stations. Given the size of the city, it was impossible to rally a crew of volunteer rescuers to sail within the 15-minute period ,which is the target for the average time limit for the overall SNSM.

Official webpage of the SNSM

There you go a nice history , a wonderful job, and I love them. You too can visit them and they will show you their boats on many events program throughout the year. And of course, if you can donate, as these folks are all volunteers doing a human heck of a job me think. Another plus for Honfleur!

Like May 25 2019 they will be in Paris region ! At the Parc Nautique de l’îlle de Monsieur, 4 rue de Saint-Cloud, 92310 Sèvres, dept 92 Hauts-de-Seine. From 10h to 18h or 10 AM – 6 PM. Very near Pont de St Cloud with metro and tramway connections from Paris center. They will have Boat tours,  -Demonstration of rescue with the different means available on the beaches,  -Introduction to “save gestures” with their monitors, and Barbecue on site. All hosted by the ïle de France region station, here: SNSM ïle de France contact page

The SNSM organise on 28 and 29 June the Mille SNSM (thousand snsm) national collection days, in Paris then in the rest of France, in metropolis and overseas: two days of mobilization and festivities to pay tribute to the 8000 volunteers of the SNSM.  The inaugural operations “all at sea” and “all in the Seine”, which were very welcome last year, had made it possible to consolidate the place of the SNSM (national society for rescue at sea) in the general public.

The event will take place first in Paris on Friday 28th June, on the occasion of a demonstration on the Seine, the Mille SNSM paddle trophy. This stand-up paddle race will bring together hundreds of participants on the water , rescuers and public alike , and aboard the Paquebot liner. The Armada, escorted by jet-skis and semi-rigid fleet of the SNSM, will parade in the heart of Paris, between the Port des Saints-Pères (6éme) and theJavel Haut (15éme), at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

This orange wave on the Seine will herald a large-scale open house operation organized the following day, Saturday, June 18, in 246 stations and CFI of the SNSM, specially equipped for the occasion of digital donation kiosks where the volunteers of the Association will invite visitors to dive into the world of rescuers at sea: guided tours of canoes or vedettes boats, demonstrations of rescue, initiations of first aid, exercises of Heli-stamping or even outings at sea, with a two-fold goal: raising awareness and fundraising.

More info in French on le Figaro Nautism and picture from last year’s event in Paris here: Le Figaro Nautisme on the Mille SNSM in Paris

There you go enjoy it as we do ,and can’t for it in my area. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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May 16, 2019

An apartment life in Honfleur!

Hi y’all, here I am again to tell you more of wonderful Honfleur, salut ! la vie est belle chez ma belle France! A bit of a story telling and travel tip and anecdote as well for you. Of course, this is in Honfleur, Dept 14 Calvados of the region of Normandy in the country of France! Sort like the city X, county Y, state Z and country U,if you know what I mean!

I am sure as most of us, when first started traveling I chose hotels, very inexpensive ones hehehe! then as time went on and jobs became better I move up to nice luxury hotels and not so luxury ones. Lately, the last 15 years or so, and the family growing we came to taste apartments, gîtes, houses, apart-hotels mostly in France, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

Lately , we have stayed in apartments as was the case on our last trip to Honfleur early May’19. We search the usual popular online places and finally settle on the Le Loft at Honfleur rue des Prés off Rue de la République, walking distances to all in the city.

Their online site I found it is here: Info on the Le Loft at Booking

Honfleur

Honfleur

A bit of a real description as shown in public mediums is this: Le Loft offers pet-friendly accommodation. The accommodation includes a seating area with a flat-screen TV and a DVD player. Also have a dining area and terrace. The kitchen includes an oven, a microwave, a toaster, a kettle and a coffee machine. The private bathroom comes with a shower. The old port of Honfleur is 200 meters from Le Loft.

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

The booking was done by first email with a 30% deposit up front which is discounted from the total, checks in euros or cash are only accepted. Pets are allowed and we enjoy bringing our 17 mos Rex with us and he love it, well behave and we all had a great time walking around in the city. Final details were handle by telephone text messages. The welcome was puntual by the mother of the owner, and she took us thru the rundown of the property and some suggestions on where to eat and buy groceries always welcome. The apartment has a lockbox key so no need to carry the key around just remember the digicode! Oh check in was 15h or 3pm and check out 11h or 11am , the key then is left at the door to let know the maid time to clean the apartment. All flawless and we sure would rent again from these folks.

See our previous posts on eating and shopping in Honfleur for the places we use this time and even in previous visits. At the end it was another memorable visit to our beloved dear Honfleur and I felt a single post on the accommodation was merité even if seldom do this myself….Oh the owners also handle about 11 properties for rentals in the city so there are other choices all around the same area as Le Loft.

Tourist office of Honfleur on accommodations

So there you have another possibility when visiting Honfleur is to rent an apartment, good deal from the Le Loft. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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