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Friday, February 04, 2011

France 2010 - Day 9, Part 3 - Normandy: Avranches, Brittany: Dinan

"Computer dating is fine, if you’re a computer." - Rita Mae Brown

***

France 2010
Day 9 - 11th October - Normandy: Avranches, Brittany: Dinan
(Part 3)

After lunch I saw a couple of things in Avranches before driving off.

For one, the town had something of a fetish for Patton.

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"Voie de la Liberté 1944"
("Way of Liberty 1944")

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"Du 31 juillet au 10 août 1944, realisant la percée d'Avranches dans le vacarme de ses blindes en marche vers la victoire et la libération de la France, la glorieuse armée américaine du général Patton a franchi ce carrefour"
("From 31 July to 10 August 1944, breaking through at Avranches in his armoured push on the road to victory and the liberation of France, the glorious American army of General Patton passed these crossroads")
Patton memorial

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Patton Bust

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"En hommage à John BRUNEA. Dernier vétéran américain de la Manche. Débarqué le 6 juin 1944 à Omaha Beach. Décéde à Avranches le 11 janvier 2010"
("In tribute to John Brunea. Last American veteran of the [English] Channel. Disembarqued 6 June 1944 at Omaha Beach. Died at Avranches 11th January 2010")

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Tank

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Showing which direction (and cities) part of the 8th Army headed for

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Memorial

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Interior of a Boulangerie-Pâtisserie (so much for specialisation)

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"ouest france. dimanche en vente ici"
The newspaper Ouest France is sold here on Sundays. Which means this place is open on Sundays. Which means you have something to do on Sundays.

We then left Normandy behind us and drove into Brittany, the old town of Dinan.

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An elegant solution to providing parking in old medieval towns - underground parking (the real underground area was behind me, but this gives you an idea). Besides being practical, this is also one of the more picturesque parking lots I've seen.

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Mairie (Mayor's Office)

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Place du Marchix: The modern and ancient on a street

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Rue de la Cordonnerie (Shoemaking Street)

There was also an interesting memorial:

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"Ici eût lieu - en champ clos en l'an 1359, le célèbre combat singulier entre Bertrand Duguesclin et Thomas de Cantorbery"
("Here saw - in an enclosed field in the year 1359, the famous duel between Bertrand du Guesclin and Thomas of Canterbury")

As you can imagine, this means the French guy (a Constable of France) won. The story is quite amusing, actually.

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Statue of Bertrand du Guesclin on horse

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Castle. Which had just closed (this was at 5:31pm)

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Rue de Léhon

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An abandoned church

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Hôtel de Keratry

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The Hôtel de Keratry claims a long heritage (being built in 1559) but what we see was reconstructed in 1938. Hurr hurr.

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Figurines on Hôtel

There was a street called "impasse" which was a dead end. In retrospect I should've seen it coming.

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"Mme Dubost Anceze. Corsets, gaines, lingerie, soutiens-gorges etc. Orthopedie"
("Madame Dubost Anceze. Corsets, girdles, lingerie, bras etc. Orthopedics")
Presumably if you bust a rib after wearing some fancy underwear you can see the doctor straightaway

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Basilica of St Sauveur

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Portal

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Nave

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Altar

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One of the monuments

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Painting of angel spearing someone (who looks like he's been flayed and opened up?!)

One guy started talking to me (in English, despite my refusing to reply in that language - I guess we both wanted to practise) and pointed out the following to me:

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Where the heart of the guy who fought the English (Bertrand du Guesclin) is. Besides the hideous font, the inscription's not in modern French either so I won't transcribe it.

The double-headed eagle with strikethrough at the bottom was curious (I saw it on the wall of the Mairie too) but it seems to be a variation on the coat of arms of Bertrand du Guesclin:



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Le jardin anglais ("The English garden")

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Back of basilica

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Church unmarked on the guide touristique (so I don't know what it was)

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The lovely Rance River from the ramparts

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Bridge from ramparts

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Ramparts

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River and bridge from the ramparts

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Random Arch

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Store with sleeping stuffed cats and dogs

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Place des Merciers ("Square of the Mercers" [cloth merchants[)

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Rue de la Chaux ("Lime Road")

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Rue de la Cordonnerie (Shoemaking Street) again
This should be from the opposite side of the previous instance

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Fake Greek restaurant. It claims to be Greek but its prime dish is Kebab, and there's no Gyros (or pork). It's almost certainly an ersatz Greek restaurant run by Turks!!!

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You know this restaurant is BAGUS because of the Malaysian Bee (with the trademark slurp, too!)

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Viaduct from river

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This is what passes for the "port" of Dinan. It is, rather, a marina.

We then left Dinan. Interestingly enough, we hadn't seen *any* signs in Breton (the nominal 'native tongue' of this region)

We headed for another Formule 1 (St. Malo). Each establishment being constructed from pre-fabricated units, I found this one eerily familiar.

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"Save water: shower together"
I know it's a budget chain, but this is kinda ridiculous...

The Formule 1 being in an industrial district, there weren't many dining options (especially at almost 9pm) but we ended up at a cafeteria ("Casino Cafeteria" - like Flunch but less tasty and without the légumes à volonte [side dish buffet]).

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Croustillant de fromage with Madeira sauce, meatballs, salad, peach compote
The rice was quite tasteless. Should've gotten more fries.

The dijon mustard was surprisingly hot - because I am used to dijonnaise, but it was not just because of that - even for dijon it was spicy. Meanwhile the madeira sauce was tasteless.

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I've no idea why you'd order Nestlé ice cream with all the lovely choices available

After dinner I had more problems with the car - no matter how hard I jiggled the steering wheel, I couldn't bypass the steering wheel lock and start it. Luckily a girl from the caféteria came to help me and she got the car going.


France has a lot of roundabouts. I guess they're cheaper than traffic lights (not least in maintenance!)

Leaflets in Formule 1 advertising Jersey and Guernsey: "So different, so British"
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