I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Le Mans

driving to Chateau du Loir to meet Marie Noelle

The tourist signs on the sides of the road are BIG and AWESOME! Can't miss those!

our second choice for lunch as the first choice was housed in a hotel that's up for sale and thus closed

cute little frenchie on the menu

the area I usually choose from for lunch

Ashley and Ben's Croque Madame...this one made a little differently than the first one they tried.

My jambon and fromage omelet (ham and cheese)

Danny's dessert...a trio of pots de creme

Ben and Ashley's yummy ice cream

Moelleux au Chocolat with Sorbet Cassis

Hotel de Ville (city hall) of Chateau du Loir

a monument to the children of residents of Chateau du Loir that were lost in the World Wars and is located across the street from the Hotel de Ville

P. Labat is Danny's Uncle Pierre that was lost in World War II on a submarine
Eglise Saint-Guingalois de Chateau du Loir....the church where Danny's Grandmere and TaTa Renee attended worship.

Inside the church. Marie Noelle remembers going to services here when she would visit. Both of her grandparents lived in Chateau du Loir

beautiful stained glass and chandeliers

The organ at the back of the church

standing in front of Grandmere and Tata Renee's residence where they lived after Grandpere died

#20, the number on the door
strolling the streets of Chateau du Loir

a little wall art

personalized mailbox

lace curtains in the windows

a french woman out for a stroll

sucker for door handles as well
the cemetery in Chateau du Loir

door to a tomb...beautiful iron work

more tomb doors

a peek inside the door below

Marie Noelle's father's family. Just behind and to the right there is the tomb of Danny's Grandparents, Ben's Great Grandparents

The grave we were looking for. We found it interesting that people are buried together in one space.

a memorial to Pierre at the foot of their graves

It was February 18, 2013 that we were standing in this spot, the anniversary of his death and Ben is the same age (23 years old) that Pierre was when he died.

Marie Noelle brought flowers to place on the grave

and Danny STEALS water from another person's grave to put our flowers in!

Danny and Marie Noelle could not stop chuckling about the stolen water

This was apparently a very popular fellow

a place for cremated remains

and a special place to pour your cremated remains

Inside the chapel on the grounds

we stopped here to pick up "something" for dinner, but Marie Noelle would not let us look!

More Kir Royale, this time with Cassis

I will purchase several boxes of these the next time I'm in France!

Fish with mussels and shrimp alongside rice and mushrooms

our beautiful dessert platter...SURPRISE!
 Ben enjoyed a wine from this list at the hotel bar
Today we traveled to Le Mans where our cousin Marie Noelle and her son Gabriel live. Ton Ton Michel came in the morning to pick up Danny and take him to rent a car. Danny came back with the car and we left a little after 10 to start on our journey. We drove through little towns and the countryside until we found the french equivalent of our interstate. Actually their interstate is much better! We moved a little faster at that point, but still had beautiful scenery to look at. We were to meet Marie Noelle at Chateau du Loir at 1:00, but it took us a little longer and we arrived at 1:20. We had planned to eat at the hotel/restaurant where we ate on our last visit, but alas the Hotel is closed and for sale! Instead, we ate at a Brasserie next door and it was really good. I had an omelet with jambon (ham) and fromage (cheese) as well as Danny and Marie Noelle. Ben and Ashley had Croque Madame and Ashley said this was her favorite as it did not have the Bechamel, but instead a lot of cheese. Ben prefers the one with Bechamel, but it was still good. For dessert, I had a Moelleux au Chocolat with Sorbet Cassis. It was molten and delicious. Danny had a trio of little pots de creme. Ben and Ashley shared Dark Chocolate and Caramel Ice Creams and Marie Noelle had an assortment of little desserts with some espresso. We were thankful to walk in town following our meal and let our food settle. Marie Noelle took us to show Ben and Ashley where Grandmere and Ta Ta Renee lived after Grandpere passed away. We also visited the church where they worshipped. Eglise Saint-Guingaloise de Chateau du Loir became a parish church in the Revolution and was built around 1070 to house the relics in the crypt of St Guénolé (St Guingalois) which had been brought to Chateau du Loir in 878 by Breton monks fleeing the Vikings. Chateau du Loir is where the whole family lived during the war and where Grandpere came back to after the war. There is a monument in the center of town to the children of the residents of the town that were lost in the war. Uncle Pierre's name is listed on the monument.  Both Grandparents are buried in Chateau du Loir and we went to visit their graves. They are buried together in the same grave and we were pleased to see the plaque at the foot of the grave that is a memorial to Pierre Labat, their son, who was lost in action during WWII. His submarine, the Surcouf, was somehow accidentally taken out by the Americans while in the Caribbean. There are several stories as to how it happened, but I'm not sure that anyone knows for sure. It was a very strange feeling to see that we were standing at the grave on the anniversary of the day he was lost so many years ago. That was not planned yet somehow I believe that God had us there on this day for a reason. Pierre (called "Perro" by his family) was 23 years old at the time, the same age that Ben is right now. I may get this next part of the story all wrong, but this is what I think is true....Cathy had acquired a painting for her new home and was very interested in the building in the painting. Somehow she has discovered through research for this building that there was a website on the internet with information on her Uncle Pierre Labat and his lost submarine! The website was requesting information from the family such as a picture to put with his name. It was also noted on this website the medals that he had been awarded and Cathy says that they are very important medals. I believe she also said there is a memorial to the submarine somewhere? We will do more research on the matter and settle my questions. The family has been very pleased to see this and a picture has been sent to the website. Danny and Marie Noelle put some flowers on the grave of their grandparents and we drove on to Le Mans. We stopped at a Boulangerie to pick up "something" for dinner, but Marie Noelle would not let us see what it was! We visited in her home until Gabriel came to visit and then we had some Champagne and Creme of Cassis again with pretzels and yummy little pastry sticks with Gouda cheese in them. I'm going to try to find some at a market! Marie Noelle has a neighbor that enjoys cooking and he made for us some fish with mussels and shrimp. I skipped the mussels and shrimp but Danny and Ashley said they were delicious. Ashley especially liked the mussels as those are a favorite of hers. There was a wild rice/mushroom dish to accompany it. It was a great meal and the sauce was divine with cream and white wine. We had some delicious wine with our meal from the region around Chateau du Loir. The white wine was fruity and I could taste green apple? After the main meal, we had cheese and salad. Danny's favorite goat cheese, Crottin, was on the platter this time as well as Roqeufort, a favorite of Ben! We were quite full by now, but of course dinner is not complete without dessert! Marie Noelle disappeared into the kitchen and brought out the surprise from earlier....a sampler of desserts! We had a melt in your mouth chocolate mousse cake, a strawberry mousse cake, creme puffs, and fruit tarts. They were all so delicious, but I think we all liked the chocolate the best! After dinner, Marie Noelle showed us pictures she had found of Uncle Pierre. We had seen some, but there were many new ones. We all think he looks like John Marshall, or at least John Marshall favors him. We also see some of him in Tommy too. We drove to the Hotel and checked in without any problems. This hotel has been updated since we stayed there last and is really quite nice. Ben and Ashley tried out the bar with a Red Wine for Ben and a Passion Fruit and Chambord drink for Ashley. We will have one night here and then on to Bayeux. Until then....

***a note from Renee "There is a memorial for the crew of Uncle Pierre's submarine on the pier at Cherbourg. Uncle Jean took me and Papa to see it when he came to take us to Bayeux after we came over from England by ferry (during the trip I made with him in Mamma's place because she had flebitis). We had just spent the night at a hotel that looked out on the same harbor and had no clue that we were so close to that memorial! I remember Mamarite had a photo of Granpere and Granmere at the ceremony commemorating the memorial and receiving Pierre's medals from General Charles de Gaulle.

I googled "de Gaulle at Surcouf" and got this link which has several photos, one that's of the list of names which includes P Labat in the third column.
Ahoy - Mac's Web Log - French Submarine Surcouf, the World's ...

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