As I promised in my post last week all about our weekend discovering Le Havre, here is our second day exploring this lovely city on the coastline of France, just a short ferry ride from Portsmouth. Not quite as hectic as the first day, today was spent wandering around the city and, best of all, sampling lots more delicious French food.
Despite all the wine the previous night, we were up bright and early in the morning for a stroll along the harbour just outside our hotel. And what a glorious morning it was. Even though it was winter, the skies were bright blue and the sun shone down on us as we got ready for a new day of adventures.
Our first stop of the day was MuMa, the Museum of Andre Malraux, where Mr Ayla of course took the opportunity to show off his posing skills.
But he couldn’t compete with the more classic pieces inside such as Monet’s famous Water Lillies that had me feeling like I was back in school and studying art again.
Possibly the most modern piece of architecture in the city is the Volcano, or the yoghurt top as locals affectionately call it, which stands out rather noticeably against the backdrop of the older more historical buildings.
Just as modern inside the Volcano is the city library, which was full of people spread throughout the many different rooms when we visited. From rooms full of books and cosy chairs, to dark rooms for watching DVDs with sofas to lie on, the library was clearly a popular place for everyone.
After an interesting morning full of art and culture we made our way to the markets which were bustling with locals on a Sunday morning, chatting with friends and sipping hot drinks on café pavements trying to keep warm.
Our stomachs were starting to grumble a little at this point so stopping at one of the stalls for some food tasting was welcomed by all of us. We sampled more cheese than we could possibly eat in one day and then bought even more of it to fill up our fridges at home. We had so much cheese for Christmas day that we could have done without the roast dinner!
Continuing with the food theme, we were excited to then head out into countryside for a cooking lesson with Chef Regine. Apart from a cooking class we took in Chiang Mai years ago and the odd bit of basic cooking at home, neither of us are much use in the kitchen (which probably explains why we eat out so much) but I’m never one to say no to trying something new.
Chef Regine’s house was absolutely beautiful and the table was laid out so prettily that I felt like we were in Wonderland and expected the White Rabbit to come hopping past the window at any moment.
We broke off into groups and, all looking mighty fine in our aprons and chef hats (told you they were sexy), we each got to take part in the cooking of lunch.
The cheese soufflé was amazing if I do say so myself and Mr Ayla was pretty impressed at his own whisking skills. The chicken smothered in a creamy butter and wine sauce was simply exquisite and, to finish, a divine dessert of apple tart covered with caramel sauce. The entire meal was so delicious that I would return to France and Chez Regine just to eat it all again!
It was the perfect and most delicious end to a fun weekend of adventures. We met some great people, explored and learnt so much about this French city. Even though Le Havre was somewhere I had never even heard of, we left thinking what a wonderful place it was for a weekend escape.
As we headed back home with Brittany Ferries we got the opportunity to visit the bridge of the ship where if felt like we were chasing the sunset as the Captain whisked us back to Portsmouth.
Have you visited Le Havre or another city in Normandy that you loved? Let me know in the comments below or at:
For more about our adventures in Le Havre check out these other great posts:
Heather on her travels: A weekend guide to Le Havre
Lines of Escape: A winter sun weekend in Le Havre