Following the French mindset of Labor Day even though I’m now officially unemployed, I mostly spent my final day of frolicking through France inside, wrapped in my jacket. (Everything was closed, anyways, something I learned the hard way when I was studying in Nice three years ago.)
At one point, I ventured outside, went NOPE, and promptly returned indoors. (In my defense, it’s still so cold in northern France that I had to unpack my winter jacket…I’m going to burn alive in Richmond.) Eventually, though, the sun showed its face, and enticed by the promise of warmth, I moseyed on down to the Côte Sainte-Catherine.
Though the hike up the hill was nothing compared to Howth, an easy 30 minutes up a verdant slope, I swear I’m going to have legs of steel by the time I leave France. Anyways, my Airbnb host didn’t exaggerate a bit: the panoramic view of Rouen and La Seine was utterly captivating. With the sun pouring down on the river, turning its waters a gleaming emerald-teal, the scenery looked like something out of a storybook–or one of those overpriced city guides full of photographs.
There at the top of the hill, as I attempted to keep my hair from flying all over my face, I experienced the fickleness of Norman weather: as the sun shone down over the city, rain began to pelt everyone, and the wind picked up to the point that my nose froze and I was afraid of climbing down for fear of being blown away like a dandelion seed.
Five minutes later, everything returned to normal. Normandy. Anyways, fun fact: in 1892, Monet himself sat upon the côte to paint the city–for all you Monet nerds like Madeline, look up his piece Vue générale de Rouen!
The day ended with me trying not to laugh when Pepito the cat rubbed his back along a set of wooden frames, causing them to topple over and scaring both himself and me. If there’s anything I’ve learned about Europe, it’s that it’s full of wonderful surprises, and despite all the racist men (we’ll get into that later, that’s a whole other post), I’m going to miss being able to hop onto a train and zip off to explore any city I want…and being able to drink in the sight of a city through a window from my bed. (Seriously, look at the view from my Airbnb.)