The Beer Traveler is taking a few days here to hit Normandy, France, for a little Norman cuisine – awesome stuff – and a few glasses of the bubbly hard cider and stiff apple brandy (Calvados) that’s fermented and distilled near the invasion beaches of D-Day and throughout the region.
France so far has survived the clash of cultures – the country that put the haute and the cuisine in haute cuisine vs. the dude who considers Budweiser and Buffalo wings the crowning achievement of mankind.
Here’s a little report of his excellent adventure!
Departure (Sunday night)
Slept the entire flight from Boston to Paris, waking only to ask for bit of whiskey and a beer. It’s amazing what about eight drinks and a pair of high-powered pills will do to help you relax on a plane.
Monday morning (the Road to Rouen)
Hell, it’s like a whole different country over here. They speak another language and everything.
Had to hit the road immediately for some appointments in Rouen, the capital of Normandy, about two hours or so from Paris.
Because I have this weird, life-long obsession with World War II and D-Day, I took a detour off the highway to hit the little town of La Roche Guyon. It’s where German general Erwin Rommel had his headquarters in 1944.
The HQ building – you see it all the time in documentaries about Rommel – is this beautiful stone mansion, essentially next to and beneath an old castle that that appears to have been carved from the white rock, with a big ancient crumbling turret. I couldn’t date the tower, but I’m pretty sure it was built back when the land was ruled by some king who was looked upon as sort of a God.
Of course, there was one little problem with Rommel back on D-Day. He decided to go see his wife for her birthday back in Germany. Rommel’s wife’s birthday was June 6.
So timing wasn’t Rommel’s greatest strength. Imagine Ben Roethlisberger missing the Super Bowl because he had to spend the day with his wife at Linens ‘n Things.
Interestingly, right down the road from La Roche Guyon is the little village of Giverny, which you probably know about because that impressionist cat Monet lived there and painted there – apparently he had a thing for gardens or something.
Took the obligatory photo in front of his home (which is now a museum). But didn’t have time to go in and learn more about this so-called art thing that they always talk about when they talk about Monet.
More to come later!