I also told him that I couldn't plan any of it. Thankfully, he was more than happy to take on the job.
He gave me two destination choices, to which I replied, "I don't care."
He gave me train time choices, to which I replied, "I don't care."
Then he asked me which hotel we should stay at, and I said, "just make sure we can walk there from the train station."
This is how we ended up on a train at 7:45am on the way to l'Hôtel de L'Europe in the little fishing town of Dieppe in the north of France.
Dieppe wasn't just chosen par hasard; this is where the French side of my family began. According to our family tree, our first ancestor was baptized at la Cathédrale Saint-Jacques, right in the middle of town. Having lived in the south up until three years ago, I'd just never taken the time to visit mes racines. Since it was just a 20-Euro, 2-hour train ticket away from Paris, there was really no excuse - off to Dieppe we went!
We transfered trains in Rouen and I scrambled through strollers and a cloud of summer-induced B.O. to find two seats together, yelling to Copain to come and join me. When the train started moving and the three small children next to us started to whine and cry, Copain and I started to notice our surroundings...
Fake tans, gold chains, visible bras and bra straps, acrylic nails, mullets....
Were we on a Jerry Springer set?
I checked our train tickets again - Déstination: Dieppe. This must the right train.
We arrived in Dieppe and watched as the train unloaded. Our suspicions were quickly confirmed - we were in Plouk-ville! When I told Copain we were surrounded by plouks, he thoughtfully commented, "they're your ancestors!" Génial.
Well, when in Rome...
Copain put on his plouk tank top and just like that, he fit right in! After a quick walk on the beach, we both got plouk sunburns which sealed the deal - we were super-plouks for the weekend: When we ordered cheese at the marché, we appreciated the thoughtfulness of the vendor when he swatted the flies landing on our slice. When our ray dish came covered in cream sauce that floated over to the side salad, we just ate around it. And when the seagull bombed us, getting Copain down the back and me down the front, we just rolled with the punches and suddenly felt... Dieppois ourselves.
Though somehow I had hoped that my old French famille had some nobler beginnings, Dieppe was just what the doctor ordered - sun, sea, beach picnics, apéros on the port, fish dinners, and of course, the best people-watching EVER. Waaaay more fun than stuffy Cannes or jet-set Monaco in the south!
Are you my ancestor?
Un pêcheur Dieppois...this is obviously why my Dad and Grandpa like to fish.
When we arrived at 10am, the fish market was in full effect. Nothing like a little fish stench to get you going in the morning!
Despite the wind and millions of rocks, the Dieppois were à la plage. We had a picnic there, fell asleep and woke up with stiff necks from the rocks. Mais bon, this was an important step in our sunburn plouk-dom.
The big marché was going on in centre-ville ...how adorable is this salad to plant? We got afore-mentioned fly cheese, ham with herbs, cherries, nectarines, peaches and fresh bread.
Port de Dieppe, where the magic happens.
Saint-Jacques - where my first 'cestor was baptized.
Chateau on the cliffs...pretty sure my peeps lived right here.
Too bad they peaced out to Montreal...I could get used to this.
Foie de lotte, the local specialty. Who knew you could eat fish liver?
And just for good measure - the ray with crème Normande (and floating salad):
Don't worry, that's pretty much how I left my plate. My plouks left town waaay back in the day, which I am assuming means that the percentage of plouk in my blood must be pretty low at this point.
I guess I was all plouked-out.