Thursday, November 19, 2009

Auberge du Terroir, Servon

Early evening at the Auberge du Terroir
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On Day 6 of our French trip, we drove from Rouen down to the coast near the border of Normandy and Brittany coast to see Mont St Michel.

Given that we were going very near the beaches where the Normandy landings took place we decided to round out the education of my niece by stopping to pay our respects at one of the many second world war graveyards in the area. This one was east of Caen.

Banneville-Le-Campagne War Cemetery

Normandy contains a large number of battlefields associated with the D Day Landings and the invasion of Normandy during second world war. Consequently, there are also a large number of war cemeteries in Normandy for troops from a diverse set of countries. Those who died tend to be buried in cemeteries for the Allied Forces or for the German Troops. The cemetaries are largely associated with the D-Day landings in June 1944.

We stopped for a while at Banneville-Le-Campagne War Cemetary (location on Google Maps). It contains 2,172 graves many of which relate to Operation Goodwood which has been described as the biggest tank battle the British army has ever fought.
The cemetery contains burials from soldiers killed in the Normandy fighting, largely during the second week of July to mid August 1944. At this time Caen was finally captured, there was heavy fighting in the Bocage, and the Falaise Gap was closed as the Germans withdrew from Normandy. Casualties from Operation Goodwood particularly dominate this cemetery.
D Day Casualties - Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery
One of the soldiers buried there is an artist - Rex Whistler (1905-1944). He's the man who painted The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats - the mural in the Tate Britain Restaurant now named after him . (See my post Dining and sketching at the Tate Britain Restaurant June 1007)

Reginald John ('Rex') Whistler by Reginald John ('Rex') Whistler
oil on canvas, circa 1934
National Portrait Gallery
Painter, illustrator, theatrical designer and muralist, a master of pastiche and trompe-l’oeil. Whistler’s elegant baroque designs and witty murals enlivened many interiors including the Tate Gallery Refreshment Room (1926–7) and Plas Newydd, Isle of Anglesey (1936–8). He was killed while on active service during the Second World War.
National Portrait Gallery
While reviewing the data relating to these graves I found out that you can search for the details of soldiers who survived and those who died - via this website A Short Guide to researching British Army Soldiers in WW2.

Mont St Michel

We reached Mont St Michel in the late afternoon. I'm going to save my comments about it until the post for the 3rd October in which I'll include my sketch.

Château de Boucéel

We were staying overnight at the
Château de Boucéel and arrived there in the late afternoon after our initial visit to Mont St Michel to be greeted by the Comte Régis de Roquefeuil - Cahuzac! We were made to feel very welcome and and the Comtesse very kindly gave me map of how to find our restaurant for the evening.

More about the chateau in the next post!

Auberge du Terroir

In the evening, we had what was undoubtedly the best restaurant meal of our whole trip. I'd booked a table at the Auberge du Terroir which was, according to Dorling Kindersley, #3 on the list of the 10 best places to eat in Normandy. I'd certainly agree with that decsription. My only sadness is that I forgot to make a note of what we ate in my sketchbook - however I do have a vivid recollection of enjoying an excellent meal. We were also the first to arrive and the last to leave!

The sketch at the top was drawn at the start of our meal in between arriving and the first course arriving.

Following the Comte's recommendation, after dinner we made our way back to Mont St Michel to park on the road and see it lit up at night. It was well worth the effort and I have to say it's much more impressive in real life than can ever be captured using a camera!

Mont St. Michel - 11pm on 2nd October 2009
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell



  1. Auberge du Terroir... what a sound. You are watering your readers mouths quite a bit.. nice sketch too! I look forward to the Mt. Saint Michel post, the night photograph looks very promising

  2. I am really enjoying your posts and tend to feel like I have arm chair traveled with you. I love your sketch; it feels warm and safe while waiting to start your next day of exploration.

  3. I'm always ready to sit with you at the tables you sketch. Looks like you had a lovely view there. That night photo of Mount St Michel is lovely. It look even more dramatic at night.


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