Around the corner from our hotel is the Tours Cathedral,
and we visit it this morning before we head off on our drive to Normandie with our final destination of Avranches. The cathedral is Gothic in style, flying buttresses and all, except for its two towers, which are clearly Renaissance, and appear from a distance to have been highly influenced by the Spanish Renaissance. The Cathedral is not particularly inspiring, and would probably not be worth a visit except for two things: a spectacular Renaissance tomb, one of the 1st in France, of 2 French princes, and its cloister.
Into Avranches Dairy and Cattle Territory
We finish our tour of the cathedral and the monastery, check out of our hotel and hit the road. It is a beautiful day for a drive through the Loire Valley, sunny and bright, and we drive happily through the French countryside and into different agricultural landscapes than we are used to. In both the south and the Loire Valley, most of what we have seen is vineyards; as we move north and west, we move into dairy and cattle territory. We arrive at our destination, Avranches, which we have chosen solely for its proximity to Mont St. Michel, and discover that our hotel is actually in the country. A restaurant next door, a kitchen supply store across the way. We drive into town, hoping to find that it is interesting or that at least there is a restaurant that inspires us. There is not. We head home for nap and decide to have dinner at the restaurant next door.
Steak-Frites and Line Dancing in Avranches
Naps finished, we walk over to the restaurant and find that it is a “steak house”, modeled on somebody’s idea of what the American Wild Wild West looked like. (At least the steaks are “steak-frites”, and not “a la steak sauce”). Inside, we discover that the local line-dancing club has booked most of the restaurant for the night (we get to sit on the enclosed veranda, which, given what was going on inside, was not such a bad thing) and that most of the line-dancers are women of certain age, tall and bony, big hair, badly-applied makeup, wearing U.S. flag T-shirts or vests with their cowboy boots.
We eat our meal as quickly as we can, and escape back to our hotel, glad that at least a handful of people in Avranches appreciates the U.S., despite all the France-bashing that has been going on in the U.S.