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Disappearing silver at the Devil’s Table, near Passais

Allée couverte de la Table du Diable near Passais Orne

Before tidy roads cut their way across this land, the Passais was a wild, remote place. Named from the old French passer, to pass, this was a place of passage between the Duchy of Normandy and France.  These dangerous, enchanted borderlands were thick with forest and superstition. Lost in the mists of

The vanity bell of the Tour de Beurre, at Rouen Cathedral

Match! Adam and Eve on the Tour de Beurre, Rouen cathedral

Match! Sculptures of Adam and Eve on the Tour de Beurre, Rouen cathedral The history of Rouen cathedral is one of stubbornness in the face of Vikings, fire, lightning strikes, falling spires and destructive wars. First an unremarkable riverside church in the 4th century, a determined clergy and Rouennaise people have

Hypnotising the birds, at Gatteville lighthouse

vintage postcard of the lighthouses at Gatteville in the Manche, Normandy

There is a forlorn French poem by Jaques Prévert about a lighthouse keeper who loved birds.  It is based on a terrible fact; birds flying on cloudy nights can become hypnotised by a bright light, and if that light turns endlessly, the birds will follow it. Endlessly. Lighthouse keepers were first to notice this

Rebellion and the epic gallop of William Duke of Normandy, in 1046

vintage postcard old chateau at Ryes, Calvados

Today roads across Cotentin’s marshes are finely mapped and sturdy, when William Duke of Normandy (future Conqueror of England) was 19, it was a very different story.  If he had not known the marshes so well, how different all our histories would be. The child Duke, protected at all costs It is surprising

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