Big Brotherless in Normandy


I’ve just returned from vacationing with my family in a cottage in the woods deep in Normandy…in a town called Genneville, just a few hours’ drive away from our own home in Belgium. The cottage was really cozy and charming and lots of other great “c” words (and also cobwebby if that’s a word), yet the promised “WiFi” was reminiscent of the days of AOL dial-up. Needless to say, we got to breathe some of the freshest air and chomp on some of the freshest baguettes in the world. And I got to know what life would be like in the boondocks of France.

Picturesque to say the least…

Cottage…and Big Brotherless.

For the first time in years I’ve missed the premiere of a Big Brother season and decided to slow my summer down a bit, and I’m happy to report Noah’s now on his 11th word in his vocabulary. He knocked #10 and #11 out while we were on vacation, and he’s really becoming a little man when he isn’t in my arms like a baby. Of all the sights and sounds and tastes experienced this last week, this one random photo summed up what Normandy was to Noah. And that’s all that matters, right?


Well, that and sex in the woods. Really, how do you say no to outdoor sex when you’re in the middle of some forest?

For the record, this “random” park Noah fell in baby love with was kept incredibly beautifully, Le Jardin Retrouvé in the coastal town of Honfleur. The French word retrouvé means to “find again” and I love that sentiment.  Without sounding like a tour guide I’ll share just some Kodak moments aka what kept me big-brotherless. Honfleur

Honfleur also gave us a picture-perfect port where we ate fresh seafood that went down our throats like crisp sea air, but we took a boat ride on too-choppy waters and Noah was not a fan. Neither was I but I was NOT going to vomit on a boat with my son on my lap for everyone to see. So somehow I kept my lunch down until we got off the boat and back on land, and then I barfed from being so seasick. But we returned another day and got Noah a super cute nautical-themed rain jacket and ate freshly-made nougat all day.Etretat

Claude Monet painted “Etretat, Cliff of d`Aval, Sunset” and the photo I took of the actual cliffs at Étretat is a special one to me. I love this kind of stuff, I do. And then Davy and I pushed Noah in his stroller up a long and winding hill to the top, and it was another perspective and scary yet still so special. That’s as close as I got to the edge of the cliff, and it was more than enough for me. What a breathtaking view!



Little did I know I’d be going on a Mini-Monet tour in Normandy, but when we arrived in Rouen we found the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen. I learned Monet also painted this cathedral many times (his piece is above, in the first row, middle). I’d never thought before this trip that there was any “other” Cathédrale Notre-Dame besides the one I’d visited in Paris. Duh. Not duh, was choosing Rouen for a day trip because it was a good balance of old and new, and we got to see where Joan of Arc was literally burned at the stake…now represented by a sky-high cross.

I also found bagels in Rouen, and that just about made my day. Thank you to John’s Bagel Station for the delicious toasted Cheddar bagel with green scallion cream cheese. I’ve never paid $6 for just a toasted bagel with cc (HELLO!) but yummm…



But I do believe the town that captured my vacationing soul was Colleville-sur-Mer, for so many good reasons and so wraps up my “What I Pretty Much Did On My Family Vacation” account.

I’m gonna try to catch up on Big Brother 15 but I’m not gonna try that hard…I am EXHAUSTED. Roadtripping to another country with a one-year-old is no freaking joke. Off the bed for me…

Always dishing,


Always dishing,



  1. Loving your trip in my mind! Looking at what Monet saw, Joan of Arc’s cross, etc., and all the exploring you did with your family makes me so happy for all of you, especially Noah, who will have a great future with adventurous, loving parents like you and Davy. Thanks for always dishing with us!

  2. When you have time, Jun, I’d love your take on the BB15 surfer dude with the Farrah Faucet hairdo. Also, aren’t the BB15 dudettes just a tad overly potty-mouthed. I’d fire anybody who worked for me and blatted f***s and s***s all over national TV, but then I’m a grumpy fuddy-duddy who is older than Joan Rivers.

  3. Shea

    Love the pics. Few important things to note:

    First your mention of retrouve reminded me of this briliant post on the limits of the English language in expression you should read (I mean what sole english word says “find again”?):

    2. Sex in the woods sounds fun. Almost as fun as that time at my cousin’s wedding, which was on a golf course, and we got busy on the green of the 9th hole…

    3. I’ve been to ten countries so far, not many but some, and France was one of the most beautiful.

  4. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your vacation with us, Jun! You’re making me long for Europe again!

    I feel you on the motion sickness. I had to take Dramamine everyday for a month when I went to Europe. And I still threw up a few times!

    Hopefully, in a few years, Noah will begin to remember your vacations! That’ll be fun!


Feel Free to Dish!