Archive for Caen

from William’s castle [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2017 by xi'an

Initial, Caen [*]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2017 by xi'an

along the canal from Caen to Ouistreham, Oct 09, 2016In what may now become a family tradition, we sampled for the new year another Michelin starred restaurant in Caen, Normandy, called Initial, which is a small and unpretentious restaurant in one back-street, not far from my collège, Lycée Malherbes. And from Guillaume’s Abbaye aux Hommes.


The food itself was both elaborate and light, with fantastic presentations, like the millimetre thick crepe above. Absolutely stunning! Now, the lunch menu has very few degrees of freedom as the chef cooks according to the local products currently available. Which means the menu changes all the time. And also presumably to cater for local clients having only a lunch break from work: we stayed there for less than one and a half and most of the other customers did not stay that long. The service is very efficient and friendly, advising about (cheap) wines that fit the dishes. (Hence, I tasted an unknown Austrian wine!) And bringing plenty of side pre- and post-dishes as nibbles… This is all quite enjoyable, if not the ultimate culinary experience, and very affordable, since lunch at Initial cost much less than in a mediocre Paris restaurant!

Caen hospital [jatp]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on October 9, 2016 by xi'an

Norman restaurants [Ivan’s star]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2016 by xi'an

Visiting relatives for the New Year break, I had two wonderful opportunities to sample chef’s restaurants in Normandy. One was Ivan Vautier’s IV in Caen, who had recently lost one Michelin star out of two, but seems to deserve two from the quality of the food and service we received for lunch. For instance, this poached egg… (Definitely above the X I tested twice in 2015.) Plus a great touch of connecting with the local producers, whose pictures were posted in the entrance to the restaurant. The second restaurant was Pavillon de Gouffern, located in a forest near Argentan (and almost on the path of my traditional half-marathon). Worth recommending if only for the setting, in a former hunting lodge, superbly quiet with great views. Plus a well-made scampi risotto, ultimately creamy. And a wide collection of local pear-ciders.

La Rochambelle 2015 [10K – 38:28 – 73th & 4th V4]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2015 by xi'an

stade1Another year attending La Rochambelle, the massive women-only race or walk against breast cancer in Caen, Normandy! With the fantastic vision of 20,000 runners in the same pink tee-shirt swarming down-town Caen and the arrival stadium. Which made it quite hard to spot my three relatives in the race! I also ran my fourth iteration of the 10k the next day, from the British War Cemetery of Cambes-en-Plaine to the Memorial for Peace in Caen. The conditions were not as optimal as last year, especially in terms of wind, and I lost one minute on my total time, as well as one position, the third V2 remaining tantalisingly a dozen meters in front of me till the end of the race. A mix of too light trainings, travel fatigue and psychological conviction I was going to end up fourth! Here are my split times, with a very fast start that showed up in the second half near 4mn/km, when the third V2 passed me.

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20,000 pink ladies [10k: 37’26”, 43rd & 3rd V2]

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2014 by xi'an

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This year was a special year for the races of Les Courants de la Liberté, in Caen, as part of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing on the nearby D-Day beaches. The number of women running the Rochambelle race/walk against breast cancer was raised this year to 20,000 participants, an impressive pink wave riding the streets of Caen, incl. my wife, mother and mother-in-law! And even one of the 1944 Rochambelle nurses attending the start and finish of the race!

While I had no particular expectation for the 10k race, it went on so well that I ended up with my best time ever on this distance (my previous record was in Ottawa in July…1989!). The weather was perfect, cool and cloudy with a tailwind most of the way. (The low intensity training in Edinburgh and the Highlands may have helped.) I had a bit of an issue at the beginning passing the first rows of runners who were clearly in the wrong league but stuck with a runner most of the race, which helped with the middle hardest k’s (with a maximal 3:58 on the 8th k!), and  finished by motivating another V2 to keep up with, very glad to see my finish time. I actually ended up 3rd V2 just ahead of two other runners from this category, but there is no podium or reward for this in this race, given the large number of races to accommodate (ultra-trail of D-Day beaches, marathon, half-marathon, 10k, rollers, kids,…)

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Caen, June 1944-2014

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , on June 16, 2014 by xi'an

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