Published: April 2nd 2013March 30th 2013
We had a really nice last morning. I made breakfast - Gordon Ramsey's famous scrambled eggs and bacon. While we ate, we explored the apartment's CD collection and found a couple of new artists that we like. We wanted to go back to a few of the sites that we visited yesterday starting with Sainte Mere-Eglise. There was a few antique stores there Matt wanted to visit. We barely had enough time yesterday to pop into one, and Matt found what he has been looking for in the US but couldn't find, a big old shell casing to use as a garbage can in his WWII gun room - it's even German! He was really hoping to find something old and dug up from the area today, and he did. An old German helmet complete with bullet holes and everything, at a fraction of the cost in the US.
Next was back to Utah Beach as we were unable to visit their museum yesterday, which was quite good. We stopped for lunch and then drove along the coast a bit heading north. We are heading towards Rouen for dinner this evening. This is my final hommage to Julia Child. We
are going to eat at La Courenne, which is the very first restuarant she ate at in France after arriving in Le Havre nearby. Her and Paul were on their way to Paris in their Buick and stopped there for lunch. It was a life altering moment for her, and I love those types of moments in life where you look back and know you're different because of it. I wanted to go there and celebrate that and her influence on me :-)
So we hit the road to Rouen (2.5 hrs), and when we arrived...WOW! Big city, like a mini-Paris with traffic to match. It was a little stressful finding parking as it was super crowded and crazy. We had originally planned on staying the night in Rouen and leaving super early in the morning for our 8am flight out of Paris, but just decided to head to the airport right after dinner. Daylight savings is this evening, so we would lose an hour of sleep meaning we'd be paying for a hotel for like 3 hours....why bother?
La Couronne sits on the Old Market Square and is a stone’s throw from the spot where Joan of
Arc was burned at the stake. They claim it’s the oldest inn in France (1345). I have to say, dining at the restaurant that introduced Julia Child to French cuisine feels a little like striking a match on the site where humans discovered fire :-) I only feared that the flame might fizzle. After all, it's been more than 60 years (Nov. 3, 1948) since Julia dined here. However, the walls of every one of it's floors and rooms are lined with framed autographed photos of all types of famous people who have eaten there, so I felt a little better. In “My Life in France,’’ Julia describes the experience at La Courenne as “the most exciting meal of my life.’’ If you’ve seen the movie “Julie & Julia” you may remember Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci savoring this lunch. That’s a lot to live up to.
I wanted to follow exactly in Julia’s footsteps, and ordered the Sole Meuniere (which is one of my favs anyway). The waiter brought the whole fish on a presentation platter, perfectly browned, its butter sauce still sputtering; and then whisked it to a side table to bone it, presenting me with four
perfect fillets in less than a minute. As he wished me “Bon appetit!’’ I can almost hear Julia deliver her signature line.
Something about La Couronne’s sole must bring out the same response in every diner. Like Julia, I first closed my eyes to savor the aromas, and then took a bite, chewing slowly, and enjoying the mild salty fish and amazing buttery sauce. In her book, Julia calls it “a morsel of perfection.’’ I wouldn’t argue, I can see how one great lunch in 1948 inspired a grand career, pure perfection!
We are flying out of Orly to London Heathrow before the flight to JFK, so with full tummies we started the 1.5 hour drive. The airport area was really stressful and like driving through an obstacle course, but we made it. A few hours of crap sleep and it's time to head home, and I feel like we are ready to be back in America. It's been a great trip, and nice to see a little more of France than we have before. Until our next adventure....Au Revoir!!!!
There are more photos below