Caen and Normandy

I have been carrying on a nice email conversation with Catherine Delors in Paris about an article on Joan of Arc from last week. Because today is the anniversary of D-day I had to insert a short blurb about the crusade in Europe. Catherine who travels to Normandie this weekend has given me an honourable mention in the below article.

"This week-end I am off to Normandy for the birthday of my longtime friend Anne. She lives in the fine city of Caen, where she teaches law with extraordinary skill and passion (and a great sense of humor too.)

Caen, as I hardly need to remind you, was one of the capitals, with Rouen, and later London, of Guillaume, Duc de Normandie, remembered by posterity as William the Conqueror, King of England.

You can still admire the Dukes' impressive chateau, as well as the gorgeous Abbaye aux Hommes, the Abbey of the Men, founded by Guillaume to expiate the sin of marrying his cousin, Mathilde de Flandres. Guillaume and Mathilde were related to a degree forbidden by the Church, and the proper dispensations had not been secured beforehand.

The marriage was off to a rocky start, apart from any issues of canon law. When Guillaume and Mathilde were first introduced, the prospective bride declared rather bluntly that "she would rather be a cloistered nun than married to a bastard." Guillaume took offense at his fiancee's comment. He seized her by her braids and dragged her across the room. Indeed he was born out of wedlock, the son of the prior Duke, Robert the Magnifique, and his concubine Arlette."...more

Of all the places I would wish to visit Normandy is near the top.

Une bon voyage et joyeux anniversaire à Anne.

de Brantigny

1 comment:

Catherine Delors said...

Thank you, Richard!
The birthday was a wonderful celebration, and I also visited with Anne the Pointe du Hoc and the American military cemetery at Omaha Beach. We were not alone, and many, French and American, were bringing flowers to the tombs of the fallen.
It is always a very emotional remembrance.