We are not in Saint-Malo, but we are lucky to have friends who live there all year. Geneviève and Guy live just across the road from the beach of Sillon. This last week was a week of very high tides and very high winds. This combination created the “high tides” called << les grandes marées >> in French.
Nous ne sommes pas à Saint-Malo, mais nous avons la chance d’avoir des amis qui y vivent toute l’année. Geneviève et Guy vivent juste en face de la plage de Sillon. La semaine dernière a été une semaine de très fortes marées et de vents très forts. Cette combinaison a créé les “high tides” appelées « les grandes marées » en Français.
A big thank you to Geneviève for these excellent photos.
Un grand merci à Geneviève pour ces excellentes photos.
It rained harder yesterday than it had all summer. Today on our way to the boulangerie the streets smelled better. The city of Saint-Malo runs street sweepers daily and use hoses to spray off and wash offensive areas. They do a fairly good job and also empty all public waste receptacles 2-3 times a day. With all of the flowers and garden spots, the city looks very pretty all of the time. The temperature was quite cool today, 13C (55F).
After breakfast we decided to take a walk on the digue. It was a beautiful, sunny day and Sandy just grabbed her jacket as a last minute decision. It was fairly warm and just a little windy as we waited for the bus. We took the bus along the coast to the northern end of the digue and just wanted to walk back. Clouds were moving in from the ocean as we stepped off the bus. By the time we walked the two blocks from the bus stop to the beginning of the digue, it was sprinkling. The wind came up very suddenly, and it started to rain harder. We were wet in a few seconds, as was everyone else who was surprised by the change in weather. The forecast was for 0% chance of precipitation, partly sunny, and a high of 19C (66F). All of the way back we fought the wind to stay upright. It was cold! Sandy used a kleenex in her ears to try to block the wind and held her hood tightly underneath her chin. The rain lasted about 5 minutes, but the wind became stronger. We were walking right into it as it was coming from the southwest. We watched several interesting things on the beach, including a man getting ready to kite surf.
When we reached the south end of the digue we walked into the residential streets to avoid some wind. We both heard a noise as we walked by a driveway. Looking up, we spotted Geneviève, the lady boules player we had just met last week. She lived in the apartment building we just passed, and had been dumping her trash in the trash container. She talked to us for quite awhile. She is originally from Nancy, on the eastern part of France and had retired here 4 years ago. She lives with her partner and her apartment has a 10 m2 balcony where she can see the ocean. She said it is exceptional to watch the grand marée, the extremely high tides. Her nephew lives in Los Angeles, CA and is a member of the band Metallica! Pretty exciting information! Who knew our “take a walk” sort of morning would turn into such an interesting and revealing outing.
However, after reaching our apartment, we both discovered that we were so “wind blown” that we felt unbalanced. A nap fixed us up wonderfully.
mardi 13 août 2019 – Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Not as windy today, thank goodness. We walked to Saint-Servan to visit a boutique that sells art supplies. We wanted to buy a tube to mail our new pictures back to the USA, rather than try to bring them home on the plane. We looked up the opening hours online yesterday and they opened at 9h30. However, we did not think about the store closing for vacation. It was, and won’t reopen until Aug 19th. So, we walked back down the hill, across the bridge and the lock and watched a few boats come and go in the harbor. It started to sprinkle and we headed for home.
At the market, Monsieur Alix told Sandy that the strawberries were not any good and so he didn’t have any today. Too bad. They were still very tasty and nice as of last Friday.
mercredi 14 août 2019 – Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Again, chance of rain and it’s cool today. Sandy met with her tutor Christine this morning while Phil did a couple errands. Sandy tells Christine about everything she did for the week, in French of course! Christine had a tube she’d been saving and gave it to us. Mailing problem solved.
Both of us experienced an extremely busy and crowded bus ride home.
After lunch we took the bus to the Madeleine Center to buy a replacement light bulb for our ceiling light in the kitchen. It is a sort of special bulb and isn’t always easy to find. Again, the bus ride was crowded and long. The wind had also picked up and at 17h the steady wind was 30 mph and the gusts were blowing at 55 mph (NOT KPH).
jeudi 15 août 2019 – Thursday, August 15, 2019
Today was a holiday in France, the Assumption of Mary. The Assumption of Mary is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. Many businesses, offices, post office, and government buildings are closed. There is always a procession from the Cathedral to the statue of Mary above the gate at the Grand Porte. They hang banners and decorate with a lot of flowers. Since the holiday is a Thursday, many people turn it into a 4 day weekend and businesses are also closed on Friday.
On our way towards the bus stop, someone honked and waved at us. It was Jean-Louis J., our friend that owns the pottery boutique. We yelled “Bonjour” and waved.
We walked to Intermarche to pick up a few food items. Phil saw the boules player Guy at the cash register and stopped to say “Bonjour”.
We also walked through the Rocabey market and bought a small steak for dinner, a chicken breast, and some farce à tomato to make stuffed zucchini. Sandy purchased a small piece of Comté cheese, which is delicious on a salad.
Usually we take the bus on the way home because we have bags to carry or our cart to pull. Not today due to the holiday. The city buses are running on a Sunday-holiday schedule (about one bus every 45 minutes) making it difficult for tourists to get around. The wind was extremely strong on our return, making it difficult to walk. Glad it’s only a 15 minute walk.
In the afternoon we stopped to see if there was a boules game. No one was playing due to the holiday, strong winds, or lack of players. We watched the harbor for awhile. Philippe, the owner of the dog Gavroche, walked by and waved.
Already today we had seen and spoken to more people we knew here than we do on a normal day in Holland, Michigan. We think it’s because everyone here walks so much more than in the USA. No car for us here.
vendredi 16 août 2019 – Friday, August 16, 2019
Cool and cloudy again. The weather reminds us that fall is approaching.
We walked on the beach from the Esplanade Saint-Vincent to the start of the digue. Lots of beach today as the tide was high two hours ago. We wanted to see if we could find the building that Genevieve lives in.
We walked home along the quay (docks) but the wind was still strong. The forecast is for very strong wind after 15h. After lunch we walked to the boules court. We were almost blown down and since there wasn’t a game, we headed back inside the walls. Too windy to be enjoyable near the water.
samedi 17 août 2019 – Saturday, August 17, 2019
Today is the celebration to honor the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Saint-Malo. There is a wreath laying ceremony and moment of silence at the Hôtel de Ville (city hall). There was a ceremony for all slain soldiers from both wars in the Rocabey section of Saint-Malo where the permanent war memorials are located.
We walked to the top of the Cite d’Alet where the largest Liberation Ceremony was held. The ceremony was at the Cite d’Alet section of Saint-Malo which was where the last German troops in Saint-Malo surrendered. Here was and still is the large WWII German bunker. Today and tomorrow, there is a “Camp” portraying the war with tents, equipment, vehicles, and many men dressed in French and American soldiers. The mayor of Saint-Malo and the US consul for the North West portion of France (the regions of Lower Normandy, Brittany, and Pays de la Loire) spoke and laid wreaths at the memorial. The national anthems for the UK, Canada, USA and France were played. Quite impressive.
At the Cite d’Alet there is a museum for the war years 39-45. We have been in the Museum before. It has many artifacts related to the German occupation. The Cite d’Alet itself is an ancient site. The Romans had a settlement there, so it has been part of much of our Western civilization, but not always good parts.
dimanche 18 août 2019 – Sunday, August 18, 2019
We had a nice early afternoon walk on the digue and the beach today. The wind was a bit brisk, so after walking north on the digue away from Intra-Muros, we returned via a city street which was protected from the wind.
We got some good news when we got back to the Esplanade Saint-Vincent. The Bubble Guy was back! Bubble Guy (not his real name) was here last year. Today was his first appearance in Saint-Malo for 2019.
We had a great mid-afternoon dinner at the B’Art à Thé. The restaurant was busy as usual. Phil had a pastis for his aperitif. It is an interesting French drink from the south eastern part of the country around Marseille.
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