Author: Mr A
Location: Chateau de Regnéville, Regnéville-sur-Mer, Normandy France
I’ll say one thing about writing a blog, it does focus you to read a bit about where you’re passing through. It would be easy to just drift on through these places. Drive-by tourism I think its called.
Take today for instance. We have been continuing to make our way up the north Normandy coast, and stopped for a bit of wander along the cliffs, looking north over the town of Carolles, before parking up for the night next to a castle ruins. Now if i hadn’t been writing this blog, I reckon I could have easily pulled away in the morning learning nothing more than what was on the info board at the castle. All it said really was that it was built in the 12th century, and for the next few centuries was a fighting base for either the French or the English, depending on who was on top at the time.
Google wasn’t much more helpful, on this particular pile of stones, but it did get me down various rabbit holes learning (or perhaps re-learning because I would have been taught this stuff at some stage!) about this little corner of the world that has had such a huge impact on my English heritage.
I didn’t even know (remember from my…yawn…school history) that the word Normandy is derived from the description “Northmen” (or Vikings) who raided down this part of the coast, and eventually settled and inter-married (presumably after the raping and pillaging phase?), then were awarded lands by the French in return for bashing the English a bit.
I guess the most famous bit of English clobbering from this part of the world happening on October 14th 1066 at..yes…the Battle of Hastings. The lovely Mrs A having gone to school there, would have heard our version of that little fisticuffs. Yup…French rule for poor old Blighty, the Norman Conquest as we called it. You’d think we’d have ended up with better food and nicer accents?
Here’s an exam question..if the French speaking nobility who lorded it over the English peasants for the next few hundred years, had forced them to learn their lovely language, what would have been the changes to history we would have seen? Frogs legs and a glass of wine as a Friday night supper, not prawn vindaloo and ten pints of lager? I admit to going down another rabbit hole and reading a whole series of answers to that question. The more you read, the more you realise the less you know. This trip has sure made me realise how woefully ignorant I am!
Is that the real purpose of travel?