I’m having a hard time lately–really sad and missing David like crazy–but I did promise more about France, so maybe this will redirect my thoughts for a while. It’s all day-to-day and learn-as-you-go, this grief thing. The 29th of August was the three-year anniversary of the day we learned David’s diagnosis was terminal. Certainly all the anniversaries have their own sting, but that’s one of the worst. And unfortunately, you can’t count on the sorrow magically shutting off when the calendar changes to the next day.
So . . . (deep breath) . . . in an effort to focus on the positive, I’ll tell you about a couple of adventures in France I was not at first sure I would enjoy.
I shouldn’t have doubted. Pascale ALWAYS plans excellent adventures, but when she suggested driving down to Royan to see a 1950’s concrete cathedral, I was skeptical. Fortunately I know better than to turn down anything proposed by Pascale and Jacky, so the morning of June 9th, we were on the road again.
The church is an impressive feat of engineering, so huge I never really got a decent photo, but here’s the best I’ve got. It’s a moving story of building something great after senseless tragedy. On January 5th, 1945, Allied forces launched a heavy bombardment, believing it was a final stronghold of the Germans. Sources differ on the exact numbers, but all agree the bombing raids killed many more civilians than German soldiers and 95% of the town was destroyed, basically for nothing.
But Royan rose again. It’s very different from La Rochelle and most of the other French cities I’ve seen, so well worth the trip. I loved the wide flat beaches that made me think of long walks with David on Folly Beach . . .
. . . and these carrelets . . .
. . . that reminded me of Jacky’s 70th birthday “cake.”
Then we headed down the road to charming little Talmont-sur-Gironde, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, where there are beautiful little details like this . . . .
Their church is pretty much the opposite of 1950’s concrete, ancient and barely hanging on to the edge of the cliff. The access to take the cool scary photo from below is now so dangerous we weren’t allowed down there.
Definitely a lovely, interesting day, but the best part was simply spending time with my friends, who with unflagging generosity, share the beauty of la belle France every time I see them.
So glad I said, “Oui, merci !” Even writing about it is making me smile. Thanks again, Pascale and Jacky!
Next up: Grilled eels — Stay tuned!