Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chuck is Obsessed with Crepes in Deauville

If we’d been living one hundred years ago, Chuck, the rascal cat and I might have come to Deauville, the wonderfully historic seaside resort--the closest one, in fact, to Paris--via railway, but, in fact, we came via highway.  

With great expectations.  

This lovely town has a fantastic history dating back to 1060. It seems to have always been the stomping ground of the rich and famous of France--the place where the fashionable people went--the upper class and the wealthy--to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

In 1865 when the railroad connected Paris to Deauville, it was easier for people to come to the Deauville Hippodrome to see the horse races, which then spawned the development of therapeutic baths, and eventually the construction of a casino.  Deauville was living high on the hog then.

But during World War I, Deauville took in and cared for the injured soldiers, and unfortunately, the war took an economic toll on the city. Then the Germans occupied Deauville during World War II, and it wasn’t until D Day that the Allied forces were able to finally liberate the city.

Since 1975 Deauville has been the location of the American Film Festival, which is a celebration of big budget and independent films. Every year they celebrate a different Hollywood star--Elizabeth Taylor, Robert De Niro, Janet Leigh, Sharon Stone, George Clooney . . . the list goes on. 

Many famous artists and writers have been inspired by Deauville. Marcel Proust vacationed nearby in Cabourg, Deauville’s sistertown, and wrote In Search of Lost Time. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatzby had Daisy and Tom Buchanan honeymooning in Deauville.  Claude Monet, the famous of all Impressionist painters, came to Deauville for inspiration.

Chuck and I could have come to Deauville to see the races or for the therapeutic baths or to gamble. We could have even come to play golf. But we didn’t. We came here to sample the famous French crepes.

Yes, we have crepes in America, in New Jersey, where we are from, but they are not the same.  In Deauville, the crepe is not just a breakfast food or a dessert.  It is also the main attraction, the main meal.  Entire restaurants are called creperies and that is basically all they serve--many different varieties of crepes. Ordering a crepe is like ordering a pizza here in the states.

They are thin and delicious pancakes filled with almost anything:
Yes, I would like my crepe with ham, mushrooms and spinach, please.
Yes, I’ll take the meat lovers crepe or the veggie crepe.
Yes, I’ll take two different kinds of cheese in my crepe, please.

It was lovely trying to choose which crepe to order from the menu. 

We stopped at the Creperie Becassine on the main boulevard in Deauville, a small and rather crowded creperie and sat at a quaint table inside.  Ordered up our crepes.  They cook in no time.  The cute waitress served them up almost immediately.  Hot and delicious.  She never blinked an eye that Chuck was a feline.  That is one thing I love about France.  The French people take their dogs with them everywhere--into stores, restaurants, and I would assume even into church, although I have to be honest about that--I didn’t actually eyewitness a dog in church.

Perhaps, they thought that Chuck was just a wierd looking dog, or that Americans treated their cats like the French treat their dogs--as constant companions.

Anyway, no one said a word about Chuck sitting on the stool.  He didn’t actually like the pancake-like crepe, but he liked the tiny bits of ham inside.  He gobbled the ham up like it was bits of candy.

The next morning, before we left Deauville, we passed an open market. That’s another thing about being in France. Sophistication abounds but everyone is also very down to earth. 

Remember, Deauville attracts the rich and famous. The French elite come and stay in Deauville. An open market? I love it.


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