Today is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Saint-Malo, August 17, 1944. A ceremony is held every year on August 17, but this year it was a bit special. The internet site World War II Today daily highlights an event from the war. Today it had Saint-Malo as its focus. It would be worth your while to read about the liberation by clicking on this link: A shattered city – ‘Festung St Malo’ – surrenders. It will open in a separate window. The rest of the post will make more sense after reading the World War II Today post.
We attended the anniversary ceremony this morning at 11h. It was at the citadel site of the German underground bunkers which had been built as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. The “wall” stretched from Norway to the border of Spain. Here are our pictures from the ceremony today.
The last 3 pictures above are of a marker which is part of the VOIE DE LA LIBERTE 1944 – FREEDOM WAY 1944. There are around 1,200 of these stone markers in France which correspond to the route of the US Army’s liberation of France. There is a short Wikipedia entry about the Freedom Way markers if you are interested.
The American Army 83rd Infantry Division were the liberators of Saint-Malo. The 83rd Infantry Division was nicknamed the Thunderbolt or Ohio Division. The word OHIO is embed in the shoulder insignia of the Division.
The Intra-Muros braderie, sidewalk sales and flea market, is all day today and tomorrow. Our friend Marie Dominque and her twin daughters were at the Place du Marché aux Légumes at 5h30 this morning to set up their items for sale. The girls are now 16 years old and have a lot of toys, stuffed animals, and a little clothing to sell. They use the money for spending all year. Their parents have a few household items and pictures for sale outside of their hotel. We walked around quite a bit, looked at lots of things, but didn’t buy a thing.
We spoke to our neighbor, Madame Bertin, from upstairs and the “Parisian guy” at the end of our street. The “Parisian guy” sells old post cards at many of the braderies.
It drizzled off and on all afternoon. Sandy finished washing our french doors both inside and outside. They are the doors leading to our balcony and have an overhang.
mardi 6 août 2019 – Tuesday, August 6, 2019
On our way out this morning we saw Jean-Michel, our neighbor from #6 on our street. We hadn’t seen him for a couple weeks and wondered if he was out of town. He lives on the 4th floor of his building (the equivalent of 5th in the USA) and complained about the heat during our couple of hot days. He’d just returned from swimming and said he prefers the Plage du Sillon.
We purchased fruit and legumes at the marché. We also stopped at the florist and purchased some lovely small roses.
The beach, Plage du Sillon, was named France’s most beautiful beach last year. This year it is number 2 in France. We’ve taken many pictures up and down and love to walk on it.
In the afternoon we had a little walk by the harbor. The town is very crowded.
mercredi 7 août 2019 – Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Sandy reads the Saint-Malo tourism site daily to see what events are happening. Today she read, again, about a special fishing event. When the tide is low enough, the city offers fishing lessons for catching EELS! The site encourages people to bring headlamps, wear boots, and to try to be quicker than the eel. It’s not an event we will partake. Ugh!
We took a 5 kilometer walk on the digue. We saw quite a few different activities going on at the beach this morning.
ocean walkers, people wearing wet suits walking chest high in the water
sailing students, a group of children taking lessons on sailing boats
people flying kites
people on paddleboards
kids getting a lesson on how to surf
people surfing, or at least trying to surf
three dogs – dogs ride behind their owner’s bike in a trailer
At the boules game this afternoon Philippe, Gavroche the Scottish Terrier owner, introduced himself to us. Guy, the player from the town of Nancy in the east of France, also introduced himself. Genevieve, the female player who teases all of the guys, introduced herself. Genevieve told us we were the “spectateurs fidèles” loyal spectators. We’ve been called worse things 😀.
Pierre told Phil again that he had to play boules with them next year.
It was another beautiful sunny day around 24C (75F).
jeudi 8 août 2019 – Thursday, August 8, 2019
Looks like rain on our way to the boulangerie. We dropped off recycling, garbage, and glass and noticed water coming up from underneath the street across from the recycling area. It was running down the street towards the harbor. It must have been going on for a while since there was quite a stream of water heading down the hill. Hopefully someone will notice a broken pipe. Most of France is under water conservation due to lack of rain since early spring and they won’t want any water to go to waste.
Today was Sandy’s day to visit her French teacher Christine in the Paramé area of Saint-Malo. Phil got to do the grocery shopping.
After lunch we walked to see if they were playing boules. They were not! We did see Madam Yvonne reading under the trees. We stopped to say hello and she invited us to sit with her. Phil explained how important it was for Sandy to listen to the conversation. She agreed and was happy to help Sandy improve her listening skills. Yvonne also told us she has a house in Rennes (an hour away) and spends April to mid September each year in Saint-Malo. She was 88 years old and had taken a trip to California when she was 80.
vendredi 9 août 2019 – Friday, August 9, 2019
Sandy read in the newspaper Ouest-France that there are strong wind warnings for this afternoon, evening, and strong waves on the ocean. There was a red flag flying at the Plage du Mole meaning it is hazardous to be in the water. We also read where all nautical activities should be well planned and preparations taken. It was advised to securely attach all tents and marquees.
We saw the sailing ship Renard (Fox) depart from the harbor and were glad we weren’t onboard. It will be a rough, rocky sailing.
Christine invited us to come for an aperitif this evening at the “usual” time of 18h. We had a very nice time with Christine and her husband Michel. They served champagne, cherry tomatoes, rillette du pork, chips, cake with ham and vegetables inside, and melon de Charentais.
A Charentais melon is a type of cantaloupe melon, Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis. It is a small variety of melon, similar in flesh to cantaloupes, but with a more fragrant smell. It was developed in western France around 1920 as a more refined cantaloupe. Most are now produced in North Africa, with some limited production in the United States.
Michel insisted on driving us home in his Citroën station wagon. It is always good to have a chauffeur.
samedi 10 août 2019 – Saturday, August 10, 2019
On our way back to our apartment from the boulangerie we met our neighbor Madame Bertin’s brother. Her brother’s name is Jacques-Louis and he is a fluent English speaker. He is retired now, but he told us he had worked in the U.K. and Saudi Arabia for ARAMCO. Interesting.
We took a short walk to the basin and found that a nice sail boat was moored there. The FS BELLE POULE is a French navy training ship. It is actually classified as a schooner.
The french words “BELLE POULE” translate to “BEAUTIFUL HEN”. Here is the story behind the name.
The name Belle Poule derives from an incident in 1533. Francis I was presented with the keys of Toulouse by Paule de Viguier, the baroness Fronteville. Paule was a young girl known for her beauty, and Francis nicknamed her la belle Paule. The name became altered over time to belle poule through the difference between French and Occitan pronunciation. The name was later adopted by a Gironde corsair for his vessel, giving rise to it as a ship name in the French navy. Another version of the story is that Francis called her belle poule, as a play on words. The word belle is “beautiful”, while poule is a reference to her name, Paule, but also means “chick”, which in French, as it was later in English, can refer to a young girl.
Again this morning the wind is strong. Sandy read in the newspaper Quest-France that a tornado touched down on the border between Luxembourg and France. It damaged over 100 homes and is quite rare there. There were many train delays due to downed power lines caused by the wind in the north and west of France.
We took a walk on the beach. The wind was at our backs as we started out, but was in our face on the return. The wind was so strong that there were small waves of sand blowing along the beach. In the water, the waves were breaking hard against the small exposed islands.
A music festival taking place this weekend called “No Logo” also experienced wind delays . Since they are primarily using tents for stages, etc., it wasn’t safe for festival goers to be allowed onto the site until the wind calmed down.
“No Logo BZH is steadily establishing itself as one of the top reggae festivals in Europe. Spread across three glorious days in the historic port city of Saint-Malo in northern France, the festival maintains a sense of independence and, as its name suggests, is all about the music.”)
The crowd was really thick today on the Rue de Dinan, the main road in the Intra-Muros.
dimanche 11 août 2019 – Sunday, August 11, 2019
Just after noon we walked over to the QUAI SAINT-MALO to attend an artisans exhibition called “MALO MÉTIERS D’ART.” We walked around and found two vendors which had some items we really liked. This was the first year for each vendor at the exhibition.
After attending the artisans show we walked over to the restaurant B’Art à Thé. We had a wonderful mid-afternoon meal.
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