Another week of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This week’s topic is “waiting” and Tina wrote a few paragraphs to explain her idea.
Here is my story:
Back in the 1980s when I had my first car I persuaded my younger brother to go with me to France for a photo trip along the river Loire and visiting all the famous chateaus. For the end of that trip, a visit to medieval town Mt. St. Michel was planned. Mt. St. Michel is built on an island near the coast between Brittany and Normandy. At that time I had my first job and a car. My younger brother was still at school but he was able to speak french. So, without him, I wouldn’t be able to travel to France. At that time, the French were considered to only speak French and nothing else. I don’t know the reason anymore, why we canceled that trip. But, later I was sure of never seeing Mt St. Michel.
In January 2009 I joined a group of photographers. Each first Saturday of a month we’re meeting for photography trips in our area. Although we’re living distributed over nearly half of our state, we’re able to meet. The organization and planning are done via the internet.
Over time some friendships grew among some of us. We even organized some trips to locations a bit further away and for quite longer durations than one afternoon a month. In 2011 we used a public holiday (a Thursday) for a trip to Brittany. While planning the week, I came up with my long-time dream of visiting Mt. St. Michel. I even was able to persuade the others, despite the quite long distance from our vacation home at the Côte d’Emeraude. We were traveling with 2 private cars. Unfortunately, two of us were unable to start with the other on the same day and stay the full week. Instead, they started on Wednesday after work and arrived late that evening, while we others already had 4 days of driving around and seeing some parts of that area, including Rennes.
When they arrived, they told us about the fantastic sky at sunset and that they were near Mt. St. Michel when the sky turned red for sunset. So, they decided to take a photo stop at Mt. St. Michel 😢 I felt terrible when they told us about this. Mt. St. Michel was so near to me and the chance for canceling the planned visit was increasing rapidly. But, the previews on their camera displays made the other eager to want to go to Mt. St. Michel, too. Tides are turning 😀
Finally, the next day we headed to Saint-Malo first and later that day to Mt. St. Michel. Walking up the hill was a fantastic experience. I felt like thrown back in the medieval age. Unfortunately, the town was very, very crowded.
In the end, I was able to get this image (and a few more – but I love this one most). I have printed it and it’s hanging in our living room. At the same time, the others were in a pop-up theatre attending the opera Madame Butterfly right at the foot of the hill. When we arrived they were persuaded by a sales agent to use that night for a once-in-a-lifetime experience watching the Puccini opera in an open-air opera near that centuries-old town. I refused to accomplish them. My plan was very different and you know, why. 😀
It was kind of hard, to find a spot where the pop-up theater won’t ruin my image.
But, I found one 😀
You see, I had to wait about 25 years to see this iconic town.
This image is from my first trip to Etrétat in March/April 2012.
This window had a diameter of approximately 1,50m and was cut in the chalk cliff. A small path led to this place. We’re about 80m above the sea and no fence is between me and the sea. The ground you can see in the im image is the floor I’m standing on. I’m approximately half a meter away from the edge. What a strange feeling!
When I was in this place again in August 2015, only a few remains were visible. Lots of chalk were already eroded.
Now we are in Fécamp. A small town with a quite big and interesting harbour. The slideshow has some images taken along the cliff and a few from the harbour. From a photographers perspective, the town itself is not so interesting. but, there are a few restaurants with a fantastic view over the ocean.
Come here in the late afternoon and enjoy the lights in the harbour. You can also watch the fishermen bringing their catch home.
From Étretat you can walk along the cliffs either north or south. When walking south, you’ll reach the estuary of the river Seine and Le Havre.
In northern direction, you can get to Yport or Fécamp. It’s a very nice path along the cliff. The ocean to your left and farmlands to your right. You can get on the track easily from the promenade of Étretat. On both sides of the beach, there are paths and stairs to reach the top of the cliff.
It’s about 9 km from Étretat to Yport and another 9 km from Yport to Fécamp.
A warning: have an eye for the edge of the cliff. The path is often very near to the edge of the cliff. So, you might come in danger of falling down, when the soil under the grass is rinsed or eroded. A chalk cliff is very soft and gives room to wind and rain very easy.
Another product you can buy in Étretat is goat cheese. Despite the goat ranch is only a few hundreds of meter away from the center of the village, I didn’t found their cheese on the local market. But, I found it in a few local stores and even in the local supermarket, a member of a huge chain – what a surprise.
But, from the beginning 🙂
On top of the cliff (landwards from the part called Les falaises d’Etretat) you can find a goat ranch. You can visit the ranch. They have visiting hours for the farm itself and they have a shop with some interesting products made from goat milk: ice cream, chocolate, pralines and of course their cheese. I’d recommend have a walk to the farm, taste some of their products and walk bat to the village. You can easily make a round trip by walking up to the barm by following the roads and then head to the coast to follow the cliffs back to the village.
I like the pralines and the cheese. It’s a kind of cream cheese sized like a flattened tennis ball. You can get it at an age of 3 days, 1 week or 3 weeks. The older the cheese is, the more solid it is because it loosens moisture. I liked the 3 day old most. The older the stronger. 🙂
I already wrote some posts on french farmers markets and how different they are compared to ours here in Germany. So, I included only a short gallery without writing much about it.
In Étretat the market does not only have stands for vegetables and fruits. You can also buy different kinds of cheese, meat, sausages, soap and even clothing.
A place, usually used as a parking ground, in the center of the village is used for the market on friday mornings. It’s always interesting to see all the products and even taste some of them.
So, simply enjoy the gallery below. 🙂 – please be patient, wordpress needs some time to load the gallery :(, I don’t know , why
As proposed last week, I have another post on Claude Monet for you. From 1883 he lived in Giverny, a village of about 500 citizens. In 1890 he bought the house, he used to live in during the last 7 years. He lived in that house ’til he died in 1926.
The house still exist and is a museum, now. You can visit the house and the gardens surrounding the house. Huge parking grounds are prepared to have enough room for many, many visitors. The entrance fee is quite high. But, to maintain such a big garden costs a significant amount of money. You can also visit the house. Many paintings are hanging on the walls. But, don’t expect an art museum here. The rooms are still equipped with the past owners furnitures. So you can get an idea of the circumstances Claude Monet used to live. The exposed paintings are from several different creation periods. Certainly, you can see paintings created in the garden around the house, too.
When we arrived, we found a free parking slot very easy. Parking is free and the parking grounds are well signposted. We found is very easy, although it’s a bit remote. On the feeder road several busses full of tourists met us halfway, so we expected a very crowded place (we were there in the middle of the French summer holiday period). Fortunately I bought our tickets in advance online, so we were entitled to enter the property by a side entrance only for bus tours and people with pre-bought tickets. This side entrance is a little bit hidden and we have had to look for it. We knew about the side entrance from the fine prints on the tickets. There was a significant queue in front of the cash box. But inside the garden it was ok. Only the house was too crowded for me. Thus I fled back in the garden very quickly. My wife and my daughter stayed inside much longer.
You can also find a huge gift shop. Here you can buy calendars, postcards, books, DVDs and many, many different tiny things decorated with images by Monet or related to him or his art style. The gift shop is also accessible from the street without the need for a ticket. From inside the garden you have to leave by crossing the gift shop.
Although the garden is big and has a lot of different gardening styles, you’d probable need only about 2 hours to watch it. It was nice to have visited the garden, but I won’t go there for a second time.
Around the house, there are several art galleries, cafés and even flower shops trying to attract people coming for visiting the house and garden of Claude Monet.