Eat Local: ‘t Zilte Restaurant, Antwerp, Belgium

The Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) where ‘t Zilte Restaurant occupies the 9th (top) floor of the spectacular new building, Antwerp, Belgium

The Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) where ‘t Zilte Restaurant occupies the 9th (top) floor of the spectacular new building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

‘t Zilte Restaurant (2 Michelin stars) occupies the 9th (top) floor of the spectacular new building built for the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp, Belgium.  The Michelin guide inspectors wrote: “This establishment is on the top floor of the MAS, a location at the same level as the food!  The urban gastronomy here is indeed top flight, a magnificent blend of craftsmanship and creativity – in one of the loveliest spots in town overlooking the harbour.”

 

 

View of the Historic Old Center and the Cathedral of Our Lady, looking south, from the panoramic deck on the top of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) building, Antwerp, Belgium

View of the Historic Old Center and the Cathedral of Our Lady from the panoramic deck on the top of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

View of the new Eilandje suburbs, to the north, from the panoramic deck on the top of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) building, Antwerp, Belgium

View of the new Eilandje suburbs, to the north, from the panoramic deck on the top of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Loodsgebouw (Pilotage Building) on the Schelde River viewed from the panoramic deck on the top of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) building, Antwerp, Belgium

Loodsgebouw (Pilotage Building) on the Schelde River viewed from the panoramic deck on the top of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Our first course of Daikon – skate – watercress – caviar – razor clam was accompanied by a 2012 South African Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

Our first course of Daikon – skate – watercress – caviar – razor clam was accompanied by a 2012 South African Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

We were very fortunate to have the founding chef and proprietor of ‘t Zilte Restaurant, Viky Geuns, on our ship as the guest chef a few nights before we arrived in Antwerp.  He brought many garnishes with him, along with some local caviar for the dinner he cooked aboard.  It was then special to visit him and his team in the restaurant on a night the restaurant is normally closed – a special evening for Residents of the ship.

 

Chef Viky Geuns came out of the kitchen several times during our tasting menu dinner and conversed with the guests, shown here with the Intrepid Explorer, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

Chef Viky Geuns came out of the kitchen several times during our tasting menu dinner and conversed with the guests, shown here with the Intrepid Explorer, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Chef Viky Geuns came out of the kitchen several times during our tasting menu dinner and conversed with the guests.  We had met him on the ship and it was a pleasure to have the chance to chat with him in his restaurant.

 

 

Our second course of Squid – lacquered pork – bell pepper – furikaki – sea urchin was accompanied by a 2013 Germany Baden Chardonnay, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

Our second course of Squid – lacquered pork – bell pepper – furikaki – sea urchin was accompanied by a 2013 Germany Baden Chardonnay, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Our fish course of Brill – Belgian asparagus – egg yolk – caviar was accompanied by a 2014 Greece Santorini Assyrtiko, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

Our fish course of Brill – Belgian asparagus – egg yolk – caviar was accompanied by a 2014 Greece Santorini Assyrtiko, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Our entrée course of Lamb – za’atar – zucchini – yoghurt was accompanied by a 2013 France Paul Jaboulet Cote du Rhone (Syrah, Grenache), ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

Our entrée course of Lamb – za’atar – zucchini – yoghurt was accompanied by a 2013 France Paul Jaboulet Cote du Rhone (Syrah, Grenache), ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Our desset course of Coconut – pineapple – ginger — coffee was accompanied by 2014 Germany Graach Riesling “Feinherb”, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

Our desset course of Coconut – pineapple – ginger — coffee was accompanied by 2014 Germany Graach Riesling “Feinherb”, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

With coffee we were served a variety of mignardises, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

With coffee we were served a variety of mignardises, ‘t Zilte Restaurant, MAS building, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady), Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

 

With construction having started in 1352 A.D., after 169 years of construction, the cathedral of Antwerp — Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) – finally dominated the Antwerp skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 meters (400 feet). It is the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens. Following a 20-year restoration, the cathedral has been restored to its former architectural beauty.

 

The main nave of Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

The main nave of Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Stained glass window in Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Stained glass window in Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Main altar with Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Main altar with Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

We were very impressed with the documentation for visitors besides each major piece of art.  There were brief discussions plus three ring binders with details about the art and the religious significance of each piece – in both Dutch and English.  This may have been the most well explained art treasury that we have visited in a church, synagogue or mosque!  It was very interesting to ponder the questions posed at the end of each notebook description – questions meant to get each viewer to consider the relevance of the artwork to his/her own life and actions.

 

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

A carved figure from the choir, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

A carved figure from the choir, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

A portion of the highly decorated ceiling in a chapel, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

A portion of the highly decorated ceiling in a chapel, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Raising of the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Raising of the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

The circular painting in the dome, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

The circular painting in the dome, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Close-up of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Close-up of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

The Madonna of Antwerp (“Our Lady”), Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

The Madonna of Antwerp (“Our Lady”), Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

The City of Antwerp, the diocese and the Cathedral of Our Lady are all dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  There are several magnificent representations of the Virgin Mary in the Cathedral.  Rubens’ “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” [see photographs, above] graces the altar at the front of the Cathedral.  There is also a painting by Cornelius Schut with the same theme, near the main altar.  There is a moving marble statue that is quite beautiful, the Maasland Madonna.  The devotional statue of the Madonna of Antwerp (“Our Lady”) [see the above photograph] is located in the Chapel of Our Lady where many Antwerp residents light a candle.

 

Carved figures from the pulpit, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Carved figures from the pulpit, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Jan Fabre’s sculpture, “The Man Who Bears the Cross”, invites pilgrims and cathedral visitors to pause for reflection.  The bronze sculpture also encourages them to try and maintain a spiritual equilibrium, to keep the cross in balance, and to experience first-hand how this affects them.

 

Jan Fabre’s sculpture “The Man Who Bears the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Jan Fabre’s bronze sculpture “The Man Who Bears the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Aerial views of Antwerp, Belgium

The view from our helicopter, looking northeast, over our ship, docked on the Schelde River, to the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire on the right; Antwerp, Belgium

The view from our helicopter, looking northeast, over our ship, docked on the Schelde River, to the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire on the right; Antwerp, Belgium

 

Arriving in a port by ship provides great sea-level views of the approach and the port.  However, one misses the “bird’s-eye view” perspective provided by an airplane flight over the port on the way to the local airport.  In Antwerp, we had the wonderful opportunity, thanks to arrangements by friends, to take a 9-minute helicopter flight over the Schelde River, the waterfront and the historic center of Antwerp.  These photographs are from that quick fly-over.  A magnificent way to see a city!  And we got a close-up of our home on the ship (starboard side).

 

A bird’s-eye view of Antwerp, looking south, Belgium

A bird’s-eye view of Antwerp, looking south, Belgium

 

With Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in the foreground (the modern, red brick building in the basin), looking south, Antwerp, Belgium

With Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in the foreground (the modern, red brick building in the basin), looking south, Antwerp, Belgium

 

The view looking southeast, over our ship, docked on the Schelde River, to the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire on the left; Antwerp, Belgium

The view looking southeast, over our ship, docked on the Schelde River, to the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire on the left; Antwerp, Belgium

 

A close-up of our ship, docked on the Schelde River, and the waterfront; Antwerp, Belgium

A close-up of our ship, docked on the Schelde River, and the waterfront; Antwerp, Belgium

 

The view looking east, over our ship, docked on the Schelde River, to the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire on the left; Antwerp, Belgium

The view looking east, over our ship, docked on the Schelde River, to the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire on the left; Antwerp, Belgium

 

Our helicopter takes off for another flight, with the birds, over Antwerp, Belgium--

Our helicopter takes off for another flight, with the birds, over Antwerp, Belgium

 

Bruges, Belgium

A typical canal scene with the Bruges Belfry visible in the skyline, Bruges, Belgium

A typical canal scene with the Bruges Belfry visible in the skyline, Bruges, Belgium

 

Bruges, Belgium, is one of Europe’s best preserved cities.  It was described by UNESCO as “an outstanding example of medieval historic settlement” when Bruges was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000.  It is located about 60 miles (100 km) west of Antwerp.  Bruges is the capital of West Flanders and was a former financial and trade center of the Hanseatic League.  Bruges grew to prominence in the 13th and 14th centuries, but lost its important role to nearby Antwerp when its link to the North Sea filled with silt.  Nicknamed the “Venice of the North”, the town is crisscrossed by canals that are in turn decorated with graceful swans bobbing in the wake of excursion boats.  Much of the Old Town is pedestrian-only, which made it very easy to explore the city on foot.

 

Church of Our Lady, constructed entirely of local bricks, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries with a tower rising 401 feet (122 meters) and is the tallest structure in the city, Bruges, Belgium

Church of Our Lady, constructed entirely of local bricks, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries with a tower rising 401 feet (122 meters) and is the tallest structure in the city, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child in the Church of Our Lady was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime, Bruges, Belgium

Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child in the Church of Our Lady was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime, Bruges, Belgium

 

“The Madonna of Bruges is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo of Mary with the Child Jesus. Michelangelo’s depiction of the Madonna and Child differs significantly from earlier representations of the same subject, which tended to feature a pious Virgin smiling down on an infant held in her arms.  Instead, Jesus stands upright, almost unsupported, only loosely restrained by Mary’s left hand, and appears to be about to step away from his mother.  Meanwhile, Mary does not cling to her son or even look at him, but gazes down and away.  It is believed the work was originally intended for an altar piece…Madonna and Child shares certain similarities with Michelangelo’s Pieta, which was completed shortly before — mainly, the chiaroscuro effect and movement of the drapery.  The long, oval face of Mary is also reminiscent of the Pietà.  The work is also notable in that it was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime.  It was bought by Giovanni and Alessandro Moscheroni (Mouscron), from a family of wealthy cloth merchants in Bruges, then one of the leading commercial cities in Europe.  The sculpture was sold for 4,000 florin….[The sculpture was removed] in 1944, during World War II, with the retreat of German soldiers, who smuggled the sculpture to Germany enveloped in mattresses in a Red Cross truck.  It was discovered a year later in Altaussee/Austria and again returned.  It now sits in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium.  This is part of the fact-based movie The Monuments Men.” — Wikipedia

 

The tombs of the Duke of Burgundy and Mary of Burgundy in the Church of Our Lady, dating to approximately 1500 A.D., Bruges, Belgium

The tombs of the Duke of Burgundy and Mary of Burgundy in the Church of Our Lady, dating to approximately 1500 A.D., Bruges, Belgium

 

 

Before the summer tourists arrived en masse, it was very pleasant to stroll under the trees, along the canals, Bruges, Belgium

Before the summer tourists arrived en masse, it was very pleasant to stroll under the trees, along the canals, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

The brick residential architecture of the late 1800s became more decorative as seen in this residence from 1893, Bruges, Belgium

The brick residential architecture of the late 1800s became more decorative as seen in this residence from 1893, Bruges, Belgium

 

The most popular canal for photographs of Bruges – the Rozenhoedkaai Canal -- and a view of the Bruges Belfry, Bruges, Belgium

The most popular canal for photographs of Bruges – the Rozenhoedkaai Canal — and a view of the Bruges Belfry, Bruges, Belgium

 

“In the last half of the 19th century, Bruges became one of the world’s first tourist destinations attracting wealthy British and French tourists.  By 1909 it had in operation an association called ‘Bruges Forward: Society to Improve Tourism.’  After 1965 the original medieval city experienced a renaissance. Restorations of residential and commercial structures, historic monuments, and churches generated a surge in tourism and economic activity in the ancient downtown area.  International tourism has boomed, and new efforts have resulted in Bruges being designated ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2002.  It attracts some 2 million tourists annually.Wikipedia

 

Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), constructed between 1376 and 1420 in the Gothic style on the Burg Square, with statues (now reproductions) of the counts of Flanders filling 49 niches, Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), constructed between 1376 and 1420 in the Gothic style on the Burg Square, with statues (now reproductions) of the counts of Flanders filling 49 niches, Bruges, Belgium

 

A close-up of the gilded annex to Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), Bruges, Belgium

A close-up of the gilded annex to Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), Bruges, Belgium

 

A residence built in 1654 with half-oval sculptural inlays on the brick facade, Bruges, Belgium

A residence built in 1654 with half-oval sculptural inlays on the brick facade, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

The Provincial Hof (Province Court), a Neogothical building (1787, replacing the former Waterhalle) on Grote Markt (the market place), is the former meeting place for the provincial government of West Flanders, Bruges, Belgium

The Provincial Hof (Province Court), a Neogothical building (1787, replacing the former Waterhalle) on Grote Markt (the market place), is the former meeting place for the provincial government of West Flanders, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

Minnewaterpark on the edge of Old Town where the broad Minnewater narrows to feed the city’s canals, Bruges, Belgium

Minnewaterpark on the edge of Old Town where the broad Minnewater narrows to feed the city’s canals, Bruges, Belgium

 

Antwerp, Belgium

Panorama from our ship, docked on the Schelde River, of the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire, Antwerp, Belgium

Panorama from our ship, docked on the Schelde River, of the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Celebrated as a leader in the diamond trade, Antwerp — Belgium’s second largest city after Brussels — is a many faceted city.  Among its architectural standouts is Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady), the largest cathedral in the Benelux countries.  The list of artists who were either born or worked in Antwerp includes Frans Halls, Anthony van Dyck, Pieter and Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens.  And Antwerp is a favorite of beer lovers – the Kulminator pub is famed for its menu of 600 brews.

 

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the ship, Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the ship, Antwerp, Belgium

 

After 169 years of construction, the cathedral of Antwerp — Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) – finally dominated the Antwerp skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 meters (404 feet).  It is the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries.

The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens.  Following a 20-year restoration, the cathedral has been restored to its former architectural beauty.

 

Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central Railway Station), Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central Railway Station), Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) with Michelin 2-star ‘t Zilte Restaurant on the top floor, Antwerp, Belgium

Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) with Michelin 2-star ‘t Zilte Restaurant on the top floor, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Details of the curved glass “curtain” walls of Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

Details of the curved glass “curtain” walls of Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Het Steen (Steen Castle), a medieval fortress dating back to the 13th century on the banks of the Schelde River (we were docked “next door”!), Antwerp, Belgium

Het Steen (Steen Castle), a medieval fortress dating back to the 13th century on the banks of the Schelde River (we were docked “next door”!), Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Looking towards Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) from the medieval residential quarter near the Schelde River, Antwerp, Belgium

Looking towards Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) from the medieval residential quarter near the Schelde River, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

New residential buildings built in the architectural style of the medieval buildings, adjacent to Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

New residential buildings built in the architectural style of the medieval buildings, adjacent to Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

“The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

“The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Legend has it that Antwerp owes its name to a corruption of the Dutch “hand werpen” (hand throwing).  The fountain in the middle of Grote Markt depicts the story of the brave Roman soldier Silvius Brabo, who slew the giant Druon Antigoon and threw his hand into the Scheldt River because the giant had demanded an exorbitant toll from every ship on the river.

The hand is also a prominent feature of the city’s coat of arms. Antwerp Hands come as pastry biscuits or as chocolate.  The chocolates may also be filled with marzipan and Elixir d’Anvers.  This luminous yellow liquer remains a popular tipple in Antwerp, still being produced in the center of the city.

 

Medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

Medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Closeup of “The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

Closeup of “The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Closeup of medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

Closeup of medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) tower and steeple, Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) tower and steeple, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Eat local: Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

A fountain in a traffic circle in the heart of Deauville, Normandy region, France

A fountain in a traffic circle in the heart of Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

“Deauville was conceived for fashionable pleasures.  It emerged from the dunes in the 1860s, thanks to the vision of one Dr Joseph Olliffe and his close friend, Emperor Napoleon III’s half-brother, the Duc de Morny.  At the end of the 1850s, marshes lay between the sea here and a little slope-side village above. Dr Olliffe convinced wealthy backers to invest in a major scheme to drain the marshes and create a resort from nothing.  The resort was designed by architect Desle-François Breney, inspired by Baron Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris.  Aided by an all-important, brand-new railway line, the resort came into full bloom within just four years.  Grand hotels in the Anglo-Norman timber-frame style, smart bathing facilities and a stylish racecourse catered to elegant Parisians.  Further chic additions followed through time. In the Belle Epoque before the outbreak of World War I, more sumptuous hotels went up, along with a major casino.  During the Great War, Deauville’s big hotels were turned into hospitals for wounded Allied soldiers.  Between the wars, Deauville developed a grand new station, iconic galleried bathing facilities and its wooden beach boardwalk.  After World War II, the resort’s international reputation grew.  A cluster of marinas beside the Touques estuary added to the permanent attractions, while the American Film Festival, inaugurated in 1975, began drawing stars and fans of the silver screen each September.” – en.normandie-tourisme.fr

 

Le Normandy Hotel in downtown Deauville, near the Deauville Casino, Normandy region, France

Le Normandy Hotel in downtown Deauville, near the Deauville Casino, Normandy region, France

 

 

Delicious chocolates were purchased at Chocolatier, Confiseur, et Glacier Au Duc de Morny, Deauville, Normandy region, France

Delicious chocolates were purchased at Chocolatier, Confiseur, et Glacier Au Duc de Morny, Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

An entrée (appetizer) of lobster salad and foie gras at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

An entrée (appetizer) of lobster salad and foie gras at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

After walking around Deauville, with our friends, we found a nice restaurant near the Casino, La Villa Gabrielle.  We were very pleasantly surprised with the high quality of the ingredients and tasty preparations of each of our appetizers and main courses.

 

An entrée (appetizer) of smoked salmon at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

An entrée (appetizer) of smoked salmon at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

 

An entrée (appetizer) of foie gras at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

An entrée (appetizer) of foie gras at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

A plat (main course) of lobster and risotto, at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

A plat (main course) of lobster and risotto, at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

 

A plat (main course) of fettucine with proscuito and foie gras, at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France--

A plat (main course) of fettucine with proscuito and foie gras, at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

 

A plat (main course) of fillet de boeuf avec morilles and vegetables, at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

A plat (main course) of fillet de boeuf avec morilles and vegetables, at Villa Gabrielle, Deauville, Normandy region, France

 

 

1,000 years of war: Caen and Bayeux, Normandy region, France

Seward Johnson’s sculpture “Unconditional Surrender” was inspired by the famous photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in Times Square, NY, on 14 August 1945, signaling the end of WW II; Caen Memorial, Normandy, France

Seward Johnson’s sculpture “Unconditional Surrender” was inspired by the famous photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in Times Square, NY, on 14 August 1945, signaling the end of WW II; Caen Memorial, Normandy, France

 

With some friends we organized a day of Norman history.  From Honfleur on the Normandy coast, we drove southwest to the city of Caen that was heavily destroyed by Allied bombing after D-Day.  We spent the morning at the Caen Memorial, an excellent museum about the events leading up to World War II, its outbreak and unfolding, with some focus on the D-Day beach landings at the Normandy beaches, and the aftermath and final year of fighting in Europe.  The Pacific Theater was referenced a few times, particularly in sections of the museum relating to the violence of war and atrocities committed by combatants (the Pacific Theater focus was on Japan’s fighting in China and the Pacific Islands).

This is an experience we recommend to anyone planning a visit to the Normandy beaches and the cemeteries.  A few hours spent on the background history makes a visit to the beaches much more meaningful.

 

Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

 

We then drove to Bayeux where we had a nice bistro lunch and then walked around the town, stopping at the Bayeux Cathedral before heading to the former monastery that now houses the incredible Bayeux Tapestry.

 

The nave and altar of Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

The nave and altar of Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

 

Photograph of a photographic enlargement of a segment of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting Norman horses before the Battle of Hastings, 1066, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

Photograph of a photographic enlargement of a segment of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting Norman horses before the Battle of Hastings, 1066, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

 

“The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres (230 ft) long and 50 centimetres (20 in) tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later [the usurper] King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings [in 1066, won by William and the Normans].

“According to Sylvette Lemagnen, conservator of the tapestry:

‘The Bayeux tapestry is one of the supreme achievements of the Norman Romanesque …. Its survival almost intact over nine centuries is little short of miraculous … Its exceptional length, the harmony and freshness of its colors, its exquisite workmanship, and the genius of its guiding spirit combine to make it endlessly fascinating.” — Wikipedia

 

Photograph of a photographic enlargement of a segment of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting sailors on boats searching for their landing spot, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

Photograph of a photographic enlargement of a segment of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting sailors on boats searching for their landing spot, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

 

A scene in a reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting “Harold and William return to Normandy, where William's daughter Aelfgifu is betrothed to Harold”, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

A scene in a reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting “Harold and William return to Normandy, where William’s daughter Aelfgifu is betrothed to Harold”, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

 

“The tapestry consists of some fifty scenes with Latin tituli, embroidered on linen with coloured woollen yarns.  It is likely that it was commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother, and made in England—not Bayeux—in the 1070s. In 1729 the hanging was rediscovered by scholars at a time when it was being displayed annually in Bayeux Cathedral.  The tapestry is now exhibited at the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Bayeux, Normandy, France.” – Wikipedia

Although it is called the Bayeux Tapestry, this commemorative work is not a true tapestry as the images are not woven into the cloth; instead, the imagery and inscriptions are embroidered using wool yarn sewed onto linen cloth.

 

A scene in a reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting events on 28 September 1066 -- “Here the horses leave the ships” and “And here the soldiers hurried to Hastings to requisition food”, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

A scene in a reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting events on 28 September 1066 — “Here the horses leave the ships” and “And here the soldiers hurried to Hastings to requisition food”, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

 

At the Bayeux Cathedral we found an interesting explanatory text that noted how William, Duke of Normandy and the victor at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 in England, used the Church’s great authority to reinforce his power. “During the Norman conquest by William, his half-brother Odo, also Arlette’s son, was Bishop of Bayeux. Historians believe that the Bayeux Tapestry was commissioned by Odo to adorn his new cathedral, which was consecrated in 1077. The Tapestry was displayed there once yearly and illustrated Harold’s ill fate to the cathedral’s faithful community. During its consecration, all of the Dukedom of Normandy and the Kingdom of England’s most eminent dignitaries were present alongside Lanfranc, the Men’s Abbey’s very first abbot, who was to become the Archbishop of Canterbuty.”

 

Flying buttresses of the Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

Flying buttresses of the Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

 

Ending the day with visit to the Bayeux Cathedral gave us a chance to reflect on the history of war — spanning a milenium — that we had seen recounted in contemporary “technologies” and story telling mediums:  the 70 meter long tapestry in bright colors without writing (at a time when there were no published books and few laymen could read) in contrast with 20th and 21st centuries’ video, photography, museum tableaux artifacts and an actual bunker used by the Germans to defend Caen, retelling the story of the second “Great War”.  A lot to absorb and reflect on…

 

Closeup of the flying buttresses of the Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France

Closeup of the flying buttresses of the Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, Normandy region, France