Monday, May 11, 2015

Three Days in one

The day began early.  The sun was shining when we met in the Boulevard Roi René. The seven of us filled two cars. Janick, Guy and Anne-Marie were in the lead. Claude, Lydia, Peter and I filled the second car. We drove west but took a dip south to cross the Loire. Our destination was St Florentine Le Vieil where a beautiful church stands on a bluff overlooking the Loire River.

When we arrived, Peter remembered coming here to attend a concert of Vox Campus in which Janick sang. 

Inside the church is a marble statue by David d'Angers. The subject is a young general who fought for the Royalist cause during the French Revolution. Because this area south of the Loire was heavily Royalist, much violence took place in the region during the Revolution. General Beauchamp pardoned a group of Revolutionaries who had taken refuge in this church, among whom was the sculptor's father. The General was later killed. The sculptor portrays him as a classical character in a heroic pose. 

The drive to Le Croisic on the coast took until 1 p.m. It had clouded up, and the wind made it feel cold. Guy got us a table at their favorite crêperie while we parked the cars.  We saw a poster announcing an afternoon parade, but we forgot about it as we ordered crêpes and cider. The creperie was warm and cosy and we were in no hurry to leave. 

We started strolling along the shops and other creperies when we heard music. That's when we remembered the parade. It was May 9, the second day of celebrations to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
The parade began with bagpipes, the traditional instrument of Brittany. 

Next came a club of Harley owners who looked like real Americans, many of them sporting American flags.

Then came the soldiers wearing authentic uniforms driving vintage vehicles.  They all chewed big wads of gum and some threw candy to the kids, or let them ride in the jeeps.

  The old cars carried the Resistance members known as the FFI. There were men in vintage clothes riding bikes including gendarmes and a curé.  

It was well done and lots of fun. The date is on squares and streets all over France. 

Our next stop was Guy and Janick's house in Batz sur Mer. Guy served coffee after Janick gave us a tour of the house. They took us to the nearby beach where they bring their grandchildren in the summer.  

Then we headed back to Angers. There was a lot of dozing in the cars, but the drivers stayed alert. 

We arrived shortly after eight and went straight to dinner at Jean-Claude and Armelle's house. This was our third night of dining together, and it was just as much fun as the previous two dinners
. We ate and laughed and shared stories until midnight when we finally faced the reality of our long drive the next day. The goodbyes as we left were warm and heartfelt. We went straight to bed and left the packing for morning. 

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