Trouville Normandy – A Trip Down Memory Lane

When we lived in Paris, we joined the mass exodus leaving the city for weekend get aways to the nearest seaside in Normandy, to visit our French family.  Now the seven-hour jaunt from Geneva-Switzerland is harder to make, so I hadn’t been back for years.

As soon as I rang my French in-laws doorbell in Trouville, I was flooded with memories. The brick-framed, six-story walk-up built into the falaise along the Touques River,  has housed fisherman’s families since the 1700s. Step out the front door on ground level and you are on the quais of the bustling seaport, across the ultra chic twin city Deauville. However, out the backdoor, on the floor above, is Papie and Mamie’s place, which opens onto the winding cobblestone rue de Bonsecours.

Trouville from the bridge leading to Deauville

Trouville from the bridge leading to Deauville

The house echoes with footsteps. If the faded, wooden steps of the spindly, spiral staircase could talk, the stories they would tell! Not long ago, I listened with trepidation as my children giggled, racing up and down flights. Now my heart jumps as I hear the stairs creak with Papie and Mamie’s footfalls, afraid that they will slip. Papie just returned from the hospital after a lung puncture to remove fluid build up from a weakening heart. Mamie slipped on wet cobblestone of mainstreet and broke her wrist. Yet, still they insist laying out a banquet fit for a king, with an artillery of glassware and cutlery.

Mamie, with her left arm immobile in a cast, directs traffic with one hand from the kitchen nook to the dining table. She oversees the steady stream of courses on platters laden with fresh asparagus, green beans, sole fish, Camembert and strawberries dipped in cream, the finest Normandy has to offer from land and sea. Papie, frail after losing 10 pounds, still pops open champagne, serves aperitifs, pouring the wine, and argues about past skiing exploits with his son.

The seaside resort retains a sense of timelessness. Sea gulls swoop and dive above the fishing boats bobbing in the waves under azure skies. Daffodils dance on iron wrought balconies in the briny, spring breeze. Horses clomp down Main Street hauling tourist carts from the bridge connecting Deauville and Trouville, at one end of the road, to the casino at the other end.

horse & buggy in front of Deauville's casino

horse & buggy in front of Deauville's casino

 

As I walk on the beach, lined by 17thcentury mansions, I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. Young couples stroll the boardwalk with their arms intertwined. Parents with toddlers in tow pick up seashells; small children dig castles in the fine, white sand. School age kids race the waves as they crash the shoreline and teenagers kick soccer balls.

Nat & Nic on the beach      circa 2005

Nat & Nic on the beach circa 2005

kids growing up on the sand.

kids growing up on the sand.

 

If I close my eyes, snapshots of my children’s pasts flash by. Nat skipping alongside Mamie to play at the beach; Nic’s his eyes aglow carrying a gaufre, giant waffle covered in chocolate and whipped cream. Nat tugging on a kite string; Nic climbing over the Roches Noires. The two of them playing keep away with their cousins.

The magic of this historic spot by the sea is that throughout time’s passage, nothing changes; Trouville, like memories it holds, just grows older and more beautiful.[meteor_slideshow]

Posted in inspiration, travel.

25 Comments

  1. What a lovely description of your husband’s family and his home. I cannot imagine still putting out a feast at an advanced age. But what gracious and loving hosts your in-laws are.

    Remember when we were young and thought the familly you married into was irrelevant! How naive and silly we were! How fortunate you are to have them and that place in your life.

    • Oh yes, Judy, I am so lucky to have been adopted into my French family especially when living as an ex-pat and having my American one was so far away. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Wow, this has it all: nostalgia, a warm feeling of France, family relationships, warm memories, and more. Thanks for this bright spot.

      • Yes, it’s so true, I have many cherished memories of times shared “a table en Normandie!” The only downside is that it rains a lot there, but then that is why everything is so green and springtime is especially glorious.

  2. Sista, Ahhhhh beautiful description of a beautiful place. So glad you were able to travel! I can just picture Mamie and Papie bustling around, pretending they have not aged, delighted to have family near! Prayers continue for their recoveries and improved health. Te amo!

  3. Dear Pat, What a beautiful snapshot of precious family memories. It is so rich in detail that I can smell the “briny breezes”, see your gracious in-laws and feel their welcoming,loving presence,smell the steaming vegetables. Wow! Thank you for letting us in to your world. I feel like I have traveled to Normandy. Lovely!

    • Thanks for taking time to stop by and travel with me to my favorite ol’ haunts. If you ever do get back across the Big Pond, be sure to add Normandy to your must see list!

  4. Pat, I love reading your blogs. They are beautiful, it makes me feel like I’m there! What a lovely family you have!

    • Glad to hear and thanks for taking time to write Carol. Yes, I was blessed to have been adopted into my French family especially when my American one (and extended one the ISU family) were so far away.

  5. Pat, you certainly “paint” a beautiful picture with your words. It makes me want to travel there! I’ve never been to France and hope to go someday. Until then, your writing will inspire and mesmerize me!

    • Thanks Deb..I do hope that you and Tom will get the chance to travel to France one day. It is a beautiful country and every region has its own special charm.

    • Oh yes, Miss Footloose, Trouville-Deauville is a lovely place; the only problem is all the Parisians love it too so turns into St.Tropez on the English Channel during weekends and holidays!

  6. I soaked in all that was contained in these paragraphs, the warmth of family, the fantastic scenery, the food and the joy.

    Thank you for including this in this month’s ‘POTM’ Club, it was a fabulous way to meet you.

  7. This article was one of my faves. It let me see into the lives of your in-laws. And the fond memories of the kids…..well, that always touches my heart…..kinda sad that they’re grown. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Jan, ah yes, makes me sad too, but life marches on and we have been blessed with wonderful kids and even though they grew up too fast and became taller than us, we will always be Moms!

  8. Pat..So I just figured out that this was You. I was a little suspicious when the first one showed up and didnt read. Thanks for sending. I am eagerly awaiting more to connect me with past memories. Suzi

  9. Pat, thank you for sharing your memories and painting pictures with the words you used. This was a great distraction from my other blog reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.