thomas m wilson

Life in Fecamp – La France et Les Anglais

August 11th, 2007

I’m in Fecamp and the air feels fresh and the gulls are crying. I wish Australian sea gulls sounded so nice.

Sitting up on the cliffs just outside Fecamp a couple of nights ago… It was like the allied forces were just over the water, and could disembark on the pebble beach sixty metres below our feet at any moment.


With the white cliffs of Dover not far away France and England will stand forever face to face against each other. The gulls banked and slid across the upwellings of air. One sat a few metres from me on the precipitous ledge of white chalky rock. Below the gulls the odd bit of grass clinging to a hollow or dimple in the sheer surface. It was good to sit up there and eat baguette with pate and salad, and enjoy the feeling of height above Fecamp away to the east and the sun dazzled Atlantic below to the left. Those are wind turbines on the far horizon.  I really don’t think that they ‘spoil the view’.

Fecamp is known in France as the home of the liquor Benedictine.  This horror movie style bit of Rennaisance Gothic architecture contains the distillery, and the big boxes of spices from all around the world that go into the drink.


Speaking of drinks, last night I sat in a creperie by the port, looking out on all bobbing masts, ate sea food galletes, and drank local cidre Normande, apple cider, from ceramic bowls, and spoke French.  I talked with my mum on the phone recently and she told me that my English grandfather once drank plenty of cider in Normandy in this region, along with a fair amount of Calvados, and danced with street signs on his merry way home.  Those are tall precedents to live up to!