the week ending September 1, 2019 – la semaine se terminant le 1 septembre 2019


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This is our last week in Saint-Malo for this year. Mixed emotions as usual.

lundi 26 août 2019 – Monday August 26, 2019

in addition to the marmot entertainment on France3, we are often highly amused at several French television programs. France5 has shows which are considered documentaries but often their content is very funny and/or peculiar. We always watch the shows in the French language with French subtitles to help with comprehension.

A show titled “Les trains, pas comme les autres” (The trains, not like the others) features an extremely friendly presenter name Philippe. He visits various countries around the world. The trains, train stations, passengers, local sites and cultures are featured throughout the show in a very casual way. We always learn something or see new places from watching the show. Last night England was the featured destination. The presenter took a ferry to the Isle of Wight. The presenter interviewed two local men who were searching the countryside of the island for animal poo. We’re thinking they are scientists studying something interesting. That would have been funny and quite bizarre. However they are founders of the Museum of Poo, which is really funny and bizarre. The museum is housed in a former public restroom still complete with urinals where they display many varieties of poo! The Official Poo Website is a bit different. Peculiar for sure! The presenter, Philippe, was laughing during most of this portion of the show. Not surprising.

Another show, “J’irai dormir chez vous.” (I’ll go to your house and sleep.) features an even more amusing presenter. This presenter, Antoine, walks around with a couple of video cameras. One is mounted on his shoulder at about head height. He does the show on his own when visiting countries. He does a lot of walking and introduces himself to local people. After talking to them he asks if he can sleep at their house. He has been housed in sheds, dilapidated houses, caves, tents, and other odd places. He carries his own sleeping bag and always wears red shirts. One episode was about the washing and wearing of his shirts. Wearing the same color means never having to decide what to wear and is easier when doing laundry. No whitening additive needed. He has visited Peru, Bolivia, Indonesia, Albania, and many island nations. We have learned a lot about other cultures from watching this show.

Sandy began to organize our apartment for the winter. She seals any dry food products (rice, pasta, risotto etc) in glass or plastic containers until next year. She places scented clothes dryer sheets inside linens, clothing or anything soft so they don’t retain any musty odors over the winter. While we leave our heat set very low, it is seldom cold enough for it to turn on.

At the boules game Phil talked to Geneviève and told her we would invite her and her partner Guy for an aperitif next year. They exchanged email addresses and she said they’d look forward to a visit.

Phil spent much of the day replacing the handles on all the doors in the apartment. No door knobs in Europe, only handles.

mardi 27 août 2019 – Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Sandy wished Michel, Monsieur Alix’s son, a good year and told him au revoir pour cettee année, goodbye for this year.

We had our last hair cut for this year and told the stylist the same thing. She said she looked forward to seeing us next year.

Our neighbor below, from Toulouse, stopped us on the stairway and talked for a few minutes. This was the longest conversation we’ve had with her in the 8 years we’ve been coming here. She asked where we were from and was surprised when we told her the USA. (Most people think we are English.) She also didn’t know that Jean, our neighbor on the 4th floor, had died last year.

At the boules game this afternoon, Geneviève said we’d exchange “bise”. We are officially friends if we greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks. Sandy sat between Pierre and Josette during the game and they chatted a little with each other. Alain told us he’s planning to visit Denise in Paris sometime in the next two weeks. He has a couple of medical things to correct before he can head off to Paris.

After the boules game we went to the Mole and saw the RIVIERA cruise ship in the harbor.

mercredi 28 août 2019 – Wednesday, August 28, 2019

We took the bus to the Paramé marché to buy two pork chops. We also wanted to tell the butcher and his assistant goodbye for this year. His assistant told us they are starting their two week vacation this Sunday. She told us she’d see us next spring.

We walked back on the digue, almost 5 kilometers and it was so pleasant with a lot less tourists. The tide was out a long way and it was hazy and cloudy. A lovely day to be out anyway.

In the afternoon we took a walk on the mole and a new cruise ship was in the harbor, the Azamara Journey. As the tourist crowds go down toward the end of August, more cruise ships usually start showing up in the harbor.

jeudi 29 août 2019 – Thursday, August 29, 2019

After breakfast we told Marie-Dominique and Michel, owners of the Hôtel Quic-en-Groigne, good bye for this year. Michel was on his way to meet with his mother to help her choose someone that will help her clean etc in her apartment.

We stopped in the street and had quite a good talk with Madame Yvonne (boules observer). She told us the players Philippe, and Lillian were on vacation this week. Her son will come from Rennes to pick her up and take her back in September. She said she plans to return next April. We told her we’d see her this afternoon on the boules terrain.

Next we stopped at Jean-Louis J’s pottery shop to tell him good bye. He wished us a good trip and a good winter.

It was an interesting morning full of French conversations.

Sandy continued cleaning, sorting, and putting things away for the winter. Our cabinets and refrigerator are pretty bare!

At the boules game, Jean-Yves arrived towards the end of the game with his little dog. Another player had to leave early, and Jean-Yves took his place. Geneviève, and Sandy watched the dog and kept him from getting hit with the balls. He is very cute, very spoiled, and tiny.

We bid Alain good bye for the year and thanked him for everything he does for us. He confirmed with Sandy to leave the mail on the small kitchen table and dispose of the publicity.

There was a small cruise ship in the basin today. We got a picture of it as we were walking to the boules game, but it left the basin before we saw its name. Oh well.

After the boules game, while were walking home, we passed two vans from BACKROADS tours. Every year we see a lot of bicycle tours in Saint-Malo. Our friends a the Hôtel Quic-en-Groigne have lots of bicycle tours staying at the hotel each year. Bicycling the Brittany region is always a popular sport.

vendredi 30 août 2019 – Friday, August 30, 2019

We continued to clean, store items, clean out the refrigerator and run the cleaning cycle in the dishwasher. We watched several families pack up their cars and leave.

Before going for a late lunch, we stopped at the boules game to say goodbye to the players and spectators we knew. It has been a very good experience watching and talking with all the people each day.

We had a late afternoon lunch at the B’Art à Thé restaurant in the Place du Marché aux Légumes which is a 1 minute walk from our apartment. Actually from our kitchen window we can see in the kitchen at the restaurant. We had a delicious meal. The owner of the restaurant has been very nice to us and we said a nice goodbye to her. We told her we will be back next year for more good food.

samedi 31 août 2019 – Saturday, August 31, 2019

Saturday morning we went to the La Fournee Malouine boulangerie for breakfast. It was great as usual and we got to say goodbye for this year.

We took a bus to the train station, gare, and waited a bit impatiently for our train to Rennes. It was a local train which made about 5 stops on its 45 minute run to Rennes.

At the Rennes train station we had about 55 minutes before our fast train to the airport arrived. The train station had been undergoing remodeling for the last three years. Now it was complete and it is very nice. We bought a sandwich and drink to have on the 3 hour ride to the airport.

Our train was on schedule and since we rode first class it was a very nice experience. The train arrived on time at Charles de Gaulle Airport on time and we had a 2 minute walk to the hotel.

dimanche 1 septembre 2019 – Sunday, September 1, 2019

Departure day started just fine with a continental breakfast at the hotel. We got to the departure terminal quickly, waited about a half hour in line to check our baggage and only about 15 minutes to go through security.

The flight was slightly delayed by some difficulties at the main European flight control center in Brussels. The flight was very uneventful. This was the first time we had flown Delta to France and it was a good experience both coming and going. The flight arrived on time and we got through passport control very easily. The rental car was ready for us and the drive to Grand Rapids was very easy. We picked up our car at our son’s house and Sandy drove it to Holland, following behind Phil who was in the rental. We’ll return the car on Tuesday morning.

Overall it was a pretty good couple of days traveling from Saint-Malo France to Holland Michigan.

Another wonderful experience in France. In 2011 we were not sure how our gamble on a second home adventure in Saint-Malo would work out, but it has been a really great experience.

How to view additional photos.

You can view an album of photos by clicking one of the following links. The photo album will open in a new browser window with the photos.

Click here for all the August photos in France

Click here for all the July photos in France

Click here for all the June photos in France

Click here for photos of La Roseraie Saint-Anne

Click here for the photos in Paris

the week ending August 25, 2019 – la semaine se terminant le 25 août 2019


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lundi 19 août 2019 – Monday August 19, 2019

The lady below us and her son arrived yesterday from Toulouse in southern France. She is probably close to 90 years old and he is in his 50’s. They keep pretty much to themselves. They arrive sometime between the first and middle of August and generally stay one month.

A comment Sandy has been forgetting is an item that is included on our salads at the restaurant B’ Art a Thè. The object appears to be the size and shape of a clear “Vitamin E” type gel cap but is full of balsamic vinaigrette. It is delicious! Wonder if we can find them in the US?

This morning we wanted to go to the Intermarche in Rocabey.We boarded the bus and wanted to get off at the first stop. We pressed the bell, the sign lit up showing a stop was requested. Sandy stood up, the man next to her also stood up and walked to the door. The driver drove past the stop. We called out “madame the stop please” in French and she kept driving. Another passenger said in English, you have to press the button. Sandy answered that she had, pointed to the red light, and finally the driver stopped at the next stop. The other passenger muttered to himself as we exited the bus. Apparently the driver was not having a good morning.

We were on our way to the Intermarche to look for packing tape. We found it in the hardware section with the adhesives.

We decided to walk home from the Intermarche and saw a lot of gulls on the basin.

Later in the morning we packaged our two new watercolor paintings inside the tube, Christine gave us. We sealed it up with our new packing tape, and went to the post office. The lady who runs the post is always polite and patient when we mail items.

After lunch, the boules game was on and we were greeted by 6 players. It was almost too cool in the shady court, but the players didn’t have much choice. The sunny court was still quite wet from the recent rain while the shady court was dry.

There was an interesting ship moored in the basin: Sea Cloud II. We think this is the second time for it to be here this summer.

Lovely sunny day today.

mardi 20 août 2019 – Tuesday, August 20, 2019

At the market this morning, Sandy asked for 6 stems of small roses. The lady florist must think we’re frequent shoppers as she gave us 8 but only charged for five and a half. That was a nice discount and the flowers look great. Unfortunately, it’s our last bouquet here of the year.

After we shopped at the marché we took a walk through Saint-Servan and the Plage des Bas Sablons. It was high tide, although it was a low high tide, and the beach was very pretty and quite a few people were on the beach.

Another lovely sunny day.

mercredi 21 août 2019 – Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Sandy commented about less tourists being around this week, at least Intra-Muros section of Saint-Malo.

We walked to the Carrefour at Courtoisville, did our little bit of shopping, and then walked home on the digue. It was high tide and the waves were great to watch and listen to. It was sunny and bright. However, Sandy decided she was incorrect on the tourists. There were so many people, bicycles, scooters, strollers, joggers, that it was difficult to walk.

All of the parking lots we passed were full and there were lines of cars waiting to enter. Ugh!

We walked through the Esplanade Saint-Vincent and saw Bubble Guy! He is in the picture below with a purple shirt and white pants. The kids and adults love his act.

In the afternoon we spent some time watching the boules game and then we went to the harbor.

jeudi 22 août 2019 – Thursday, August 22, 2019

Sunny again, but cool, only 14C (58F).

Sandy spent two hours with her tutor Christine for the last time this year. Christine and her husband are taking off for two weeks at a friends home in southern Spain.

Phil purchased new interior door handles for our inside doors. The current handles were here when we purchased our apartment. Antique looking, brassy/gold in color and not always working correctly. The light fixtures and handles on our french doors are silvery/satin in color in a newer style. Phil was able to purchase enough to change all of the interior doors. They will look modern and in sync with the rest of the apartment.

We talked to Alain at the boules game in the afternoon. He told us Denise and Gilles, in Paris, are doing well. A beautiful, sunny, warm afternoon.

After talking with Alain we went to the harbor. We saw this great looking sailboat in the distance.

Sandy spotted 3 cormorants in the harbor. They are awfully difficult to photograph because they spend a lot of time under water getting their food. When they surface they spend only a few seconds on surface and then they dive underwater. Since you never know where it is going to surface next it is difficult getting a good picture of the cormorant. Phil had been trying for about 4 years and had only succeeded in getting distant photos. But today Phil got lucky. He snapped off about 12 shots very quickly and got a great shot of a cormorant.

vendredi 23 août 2019 – Friday, August 23, 2019

Sandy purchased a piece of watermelon, and other fresh fruit at the market. Monsieur Alix, his son, and lady assistant greeted us even though they didn’t wait on us. Always pleasant to see a smiling, friendly face.

We walked to Intermarche to pick up the last few needed items and walked home along the digue. We occasionally hear a jet or plane, but not often. We looked up, above the beach, to see the French equivalent of the Blue Angels flying in formation and spewing blue, white, and red smoke. We waited a few minutes and they passed again. Interesting!!

Interesting at the boules game today. Alain wasn’t there, which we knew, but another lady we’d watched all summer came and shook our hands and said bonjour. Probably if we were here another month we’d be on “bise,” kiss on both cheeks, terms.

Our son Michael is an assistant professor and librarian at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. A photo of him while presenting to a class has been added to the library web site. So he sent us a screen capture of the web site with his picture. Very nice to see.

samedi 24 août 2019 – Saturday, August 24, 2019

The forecast for today is hot with a high of 30C (86F). Absolutely too hot!

However the water temperature st the beach was absolutely cold! The temperature in the water was 19C (64F) and super cold. It took quite awhile of continually moving around in the water before Sandy was numb enough not to feel the cold.

On our way back, we met our neighbors that live in Versailles, France and own the apartment on the top floor of our building. They just returned from a trip to Beirut, Lebanon and said the ocean temperature there was 29C (84F). They invited us for an aperitif at noon on Sunday to see all of the remodeling they had completed earlier this spring and summer.

dimanche 18 août 2019 – Sunday, August 18, 2019

At noon we went up to our neighbors apartment on 5th floor (6th floor in the USA) for an aperitif. They are on the top floor of the apartment building. Natale and Nicolas were there with their son Corentin. They were spending just a couple of days here to take a look at the remodeling work they were having done on the attic apartment which is above their apartment. They had purchased the attic and were remodeling it so their children Corentin and his sister Gwenaëlle could use it as their own vacation spot. The remodeling was coming along very nicely and looked great. Gwenaëlle was not with her family because she is spending the college semester in Beirut, Lebanon.

We spent a good amount of time discussing family matters, world affairs and just about anything else you could think of. We really enjoyed the tuna dip and the lobster dip. Phil got to try a new drink which Nicolas mixed. Unfortunately Phil cannot remember the name of the drink, but it was a potent drink.

We had a great late afternoon dinner at the B’Art à Thé restaurant. This was probably our 6th time at the restaurant and every meal had been delicious.

How to view additional photos.

You can view an album of photos by clicking one of the following links. The photo album will open in a new browser window with the photos.

Click here for all the July photos in France

Click here for all the June photos in France

Click here for photos of La Roseraie Saint-Anne

Click here for the photos in Paris