• Category Archives Normandy
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  • USIC Tennis Presidents’ Cup

    The International Club (IC) is a tennis organization originally founded by the United States and Great Britain…today it consists of about 30 countries. It’s a way for mostly high level players to get together in a more casual competition than tournaments.

    The Presidents’ Cup is a biannual competition between France and the United States for men and women who have played for their country in the past or who have won national titles. In 2016 it was held in La Jolla, California at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. This year, the 7th iteration of the event, it was held in Normandy France, at two different clubs, the Garden Club in Cabourg and at the Villiers Sur Mer Club. The French Captain was Bruno Renoult and the US Co-Captains were Charlie Hoeveler and Erika Smith.

    This competition is named for Robert “Bobby” Abdesselam and Eugene “Gene” Scott, who were long-time presidents of the French IC and USIC, respectively.

    The two teams first got together on Thursday evening at the City Hall in Cabourg for wine and then walked to the beach to a creperie for dinner which the French IC hosted. (I had moules frites…mussels and French fries..and a salade verte (green salad)..very good!).

    On Friday the French IC arranged for the teams to go to the Beaches in Normandy where DDay took place and to see the DDay memorial and cemeteries. Needless to say it was very moving and hard to fathom the carnage of that day. The beaches are so long and the the cliffs so steep.

    On Saturday we had our first round of matches, singles in the morning and early afternoon followed by doubles. I played Bridgette Simon, who played on tour in the 70s and was a very good player, though she said now she plays mostly golf. In the afternoon Mai Ichikawa-Abel and I played doubles against Brigette Cadoret and Nicole Hesse. In between the French treated us to a delicious buffet…just the bread and cheese were fantastic, and then there was carrot salad and apple torte…I do love French food!

    Here’s a photo of the USA players (thanks Cheri Wulf for taking the photo!)

    It was a good thing we played tennis because we had another nice dinner, in Deauville, which is on the beach, featuring hake (fish), and an ice cream and Madeline desert which was superb.

    Today, Sunday, was all doubles. Paul Wulf and I played Bridgette Cadoret and Clive, which was fun. Then Armistead Neely and I took on Geoff Cykman and Sylvie (they whomped us). Overall though the USA retained the Cup till 2020 anyway, when the 8th iteration will be held in the USA.

    For more information on the USIC tennis, go to USICtennis.org.

    I’m off now to a tournament in Croatia, my last stop on this European tour!


  • Beuvron-En-Auge and Seeing Caen

    Cabourg, Normandy, France, Thursday Morning August 6, 2018

    Good morning! Yesterday was a busy one…tennis, sight-seeing, meeting up with IC friends and dinner.

    It was a drizzly Wednesday, but on clay that doesn’t stop the tennis. We drilled for a while, then headed off to Beauvron-En-Angie, one of the most beautiful cities in France. It’s tiny, only about 200 permanent inhabitants, and only a few blocks long, but charming, lined with restored half timbered houses, and there’s also a charming small church full of chandeliers and small stained glass windows. The region is also noted for its Calvados, an apple brandy…there’s a Calvados route, similar to a wine route in other areas of France. Many of the windows of the buildings had lace inside and flower boxes outside.

    After leaving Beuvron-en-Auge

    , we headed to Caen, known for its castle, churches (St. Etienne and St. Trinite) and part in the World War II Normandy Invasion. It also has a long pedestrian shopping street and I found a couple of interesting eyeglass stores. By the time we left Caen, around 5pm, the cafes lining the pedestrian street were packed

    We met some of the USIC tennis people for dinner. Unfortunately, our crepe shop from Monday was closed as were a lot of the restaurants in Cabourg (it’s a summertime town…many shops seemed closed for the winter), but we found an open restaurant and Mai, Brent, Robert (who lives in Switzerland and is a native French speaker), Erika and I had dinner there. We saw Bob & Joanne and Geoff too.. and Erika and Mai found Judy at the bus station…the US International Club team is coming together!

    Off to practice now and tomorrow we tour the Normandy Beaches.


  • Cabourg, Normandy, France,

    Cabourg, Normandy, France, September 4, 2018

    It was back to tennis today for Erika and me. We had a long practice session (focusing on serves). I then introduced Erika to Lidl (Susan and Robin, they have the same bread here as in Germany…and the same slicer). We found carrot salad (my favorite) some Tomme cheese (all varieties are delicious, especially Tomme de Savoi) and of course a bit of chocolate.

    After lunch we walked into the town, which has a pretty Main Street lined with restaurants, bakeries and candy shops mostly. The Main Street led us to the Grand Hotel, a five star Sofitel property. We walked through it to the beach and the promenade which goes on for a long ways. The promenade is lined with houses, which seem to be a mix of half timbered houses and Brittany style houses.

    Tomorrow we are going to explore the area around Cabourg (after tennis practice of course), and out teammates for the US/France International Club match should be trickling in.


  • Paris to Rouen to Cabourg (Normandy)

    Tuesday September 4, Cabourg, Normandy, France

    Monday we left Paris after renting a car and buying the obligatory baguette in Paris. First stop was Rouen, a little over an hour outside of Paris. It is the capital of Normandy and is known for its half-timbered houses, Astronomical Clock (Gros Horloge) and the Rouen Cathedral (among many gothic cathedrals in the city). Victor Hugo called it the town of 1000 bells for the many cathedrals and I now understand why!

    We drove to the city center and walked by the Rouen Cathedral of Notre Dame (which was closed to entry when we were there; they don’t open till 2pm on Mondays). The cathedral is also famous for having been painted by Monet several times; several of the paintings are in the Musee d’Orsey in Paris.

    Then we walked around the old town which is full of half timbered houses, some dating back to the 15th century. Most have been restored…there are over 2000 in the city. They are vividly painted and the old city is charming. Also in the old town is the Astrological Clock which is quite ornate.

    After leaving Rouen (well worth a trip and maybe an overnight stay), we headed on to Cabourg where we have a French/US International Club match later in the week. After checking into our hotel (which has some half-timbered features and is near the hippodrome, a big race track for horses) we set off the find the tennis club. There was some driving in circles but it ended up being quite close and we hit on the red clay courts which were very nice, and there were lots of them (and very few players).

    We ended the day at a creperie which was excellent. Potatoes, cheese, ham and egg…simple but delicious with a fantastic salade verte.

    More tennis today and some exploring of the town which is right on the ocean.