Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My First French Adventure!

I woke up at 4 a.m. (Yes, you read that right!) this past Friday for my trip to France. The Instigator swore I wouldn't be able to get out of bed. (I am not a morning person in the least, and sleep in whenever I can!) But he failed to account for my motivation in getting up before the sun! I went to bed early the night before to compensate, but my mind was racing and I slept little and what little sleep I got was fitful. I drove down to the house of one of my closest friends (who lives about an hour away), and in about another half hour, we were over the border into France!!!!!! And Misha got video of me as we entered the country I longed to enter for so long....

video

**VIDEO TAKEN BY MISHA**
MY REACTION TO CROSSING THE BORDER INTO FRANCE 

The GPS took us an interesting route, owing to the fact that it wouldn't let me enter Domrémy-la-Pucelle, so I went simply with Domrémy. We were whisked away to the beautiful French countryside and got to see the sun rise in France. We went up a tree-covered hill and got a spectacular view, and I took the opportunity to kiss the ground I dreamed of for 18 years.


**PHOTO TAKEN BY MISHA**
ME KISSING FRENCH SOIL

When we got to the place our destination supposedly was, there was nothing but a driveway up to a house that was obviously occupied. We were lost! But it was the best kind of lost in the world. I was "lost" in France with one of my best friends. It doesn't get much better than that! (And the reason I put lost in quotes is because we DID have a GPS. We could have easily put in a major city or our homes and found our way easily enough.) So we went into the town immediately following where Domrémy was supposed to be. Being as it was a small town in the middle of French countryside, no nearby large tourist-y cities and no American military bases to speak of, the lady at the bakery we stopped in at didn't speak English. It may have been 8 years since my last French class, but I was able to (in my broken and poor French! LOL) ask if she knew which way Domrémy-la-Pucelle was. Unfortunately, she didn't, but that was okay. :)

Even simply driving in the French countryside made me fall even deeper in love with the country. (Well, minus the fields of yellow flowers that aggravate my allergies to the point of my misery!) It was beautiful, and such a nice change of pace from everyday life! No laundry to fold and put away. No dishes to wash. No meals to cook. No fights to break up. No whining from the kids to endure....just me, one of my best friends, and the French countryside. It was amazing.

I then was able to order an eclair for me (Misha got a Lorraine quiche), and we headed back to the car. And let me tell you....that food....it was DIVINE!!!!! After we scarfed down our breakfast, Misha took over the GPS and found Domrémy-la-Pucelle without incident (go figure, lol), and we were on our way to the birthplace of Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc).

The story of Joan of Arc has always impacted me heavily. I don't know why, but in the same vein of Anne Frank, whenever I hear her story, no matter how dry the prose, no matter the source, I cry. I'm not even sure why it is so close to my heart and affects me so much, but to go to France, in a region that I have ancestral ties to, and see the birthplace of one of my historical heroes.........words fail me. I simply cannot describe what it meant to me. 


LE MAISON NATALE DE JEANNE D'ARC
(THE BIRTHPLACE OF JOAN OF ARC) 

We got there about an hour or so before everything even opened, so we spent some time just ambling around and taking photos, drinking in the feel of the small town (population of 155!) and the landscape all around us. I was absolutely hooked. I have to go back. I already feel the pull of that region again. All it takes is for me to look at the photos, and I wish I could teleport there straight away. 

Between the birthplace and the nearby cathedral (La Basilique du Bois Chenu), we spent all morning just relishing in the silence and history, and enjoying ourselves. 


LA BASILIQUE DU BOIS CHENU



FACING AWAY FROM THE CATHEDRAL TOWARDS THE GORGEOUS COUNTRYSIDE


 Also, if you would like to hear Misha's telling or see the other photos she has posted (and I really encourage you to...she is a natural at photography and has amazing skill! Plus, she posted pictures from inside the basilica!), you can read/see her recounting of Domrémy-la-Pucelle here.

TO BE CONTINUED....AGAIN!...

3 comments:

Lady Lyndsea said...

Looks like so much fun! I am beyond Jealous!

MegWantsAbs said...

Oh my gosh, Netta... I would react the same way if I had a chance to go to Scotland or Lithuania, both where MY bloodline comes from. What an amazing experience for you. I both envy you and am happy that you got the chance to go. Any plans to see Paris in the near future?
Félicitations sur votre aventure!

smiley_netta said...

Paris (at this point) is being set for next year, after tax returns. :) That'll be at least a week trip. I'll be taking my laptop with me to blog as I go, or else I'll never be able to share it all! LOL