Paris, Dieppe, Caen, Rouen, Rennes, St. Malo, Saint Lunaire.

February 11, 2009


Paris, Dieppe, Caen, Rouen, Rennes, St. Malo, Saint Lunaire and Roscoff.

The train leaving the station reaches an astonishing speed and very quickly is now on a viaduct over Rainham Marshes. The speed is 239Kph. Its dark. Everyone is interesting on Highspeed 1. From the Gare d Nord hotel I venture out to discover Paris. Saturday: A sunny spring day in Paris. The writing is too small on Paris maps. La Defence is abominable. Arc d Triumph: It might as well be a M shaped McDonalds. The Quarter Montmartre is unashamed. The Eifel Tower is wonderful. Paris: you need to know someone there and read up on it first. Paris closes on Sundays.
From Newhaven to Dieppe overnight. Two tanned wealthy blokes sold me a cabin. There is a deep loneliness crossing by ferry to Dieppe which I either endured or enjoyed. From Dieppe per train to a hotel in Rouen. This naddir I feld could well be the Rouen of me. Rouen picuresque but succinct and compact like Bayeux so after circling the town this second time I was off to Paris only one hour away. The railway station is notable Art Neuveau. Train to Paris: Fast through Sienne landscape and northern environs of Paris. Wandered aimlessly round Paris. One and half hour train journey back to Rouen. Rouen is a genuine medieval city, the French equivalent of Ravensberg and equally intact, with a tilting cathedral.

Take the train from Newhaven after embarking from Dieppe. I stayed in The New Steins in Brighton. The overtly gay Ambassador one half way down with the awful modern paintings. The breakfast with real coffee but the radio blazing out from the kitchen for the Polish staff.

From the unremarkable port of Roscoff, Finistere out of Plymoth I visited Le Conquet.
Caen is the dourest city. Its all facing the wrong way. Cafes on busy streets. It was heavily bombed and aspect was clearly ignored. I’d cycled from the Ouistreham entrepot to Bayeux and journeyed circuitously to Caen. There is a Mulberry harbour – Omaha Beach is featureless. Only one or two bunkers. Virtue was never made of bunker in architecture I lamented. From Caen again to Rennes, a regional capital, the equivalent of say Norwich. Wonderful train journey across Normandy. Up to St. Malo, a divine resort on the Coast of Love. Cycled west as far as Saint-Cast-le-Guido overnighted in a haunting Hotel Richmond in Saint-Lunaire. Dinard is exceptional. East as far as Cancale. The citadel of St. Malo is quite simply paradise. So what would the rest of France been like?

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