half timbered buildings

Rouen, France. Photo by Amber Maitrejean

Coming up on my blog, a little tour of the historic city centre of Rouen, and just a taste of what this magnificent city has to offer. We’ll look at architecture: the wonderful half-timbered buildings from the medieval period, take a tour of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, the incredible church that inspired Monet to create a series of paintings, and visit the Church of St. Joan of Arc and the market square where the saint was martyred in 1431. 

Reposting with the ficlet I wrote to go with it!  Thanks to @virgidearie for doing the manip. 


Despite the admitted silliness of the sign outside, the Cheese Haus in the town of Frankenmuth, Michigan had more than lived up to its name, boasting over 100 varieties of cheese as well as an array of other products. Belle was especially pleased with its special chocolate cheese and the multi-coloured Superman fudge that she’d bought for Henry, and Rumple had amused himself buying a bag of alligator jerky, joking that he’d been called “Crocodile” often enough. He’d even bought a cookbook for Granny, smirking, and Belle didn’t have to ask why – the older woman would be sure that Rumplestiltskin was implying that she needed to learn some new recipes. Which, Belle admitted to herself as she leafed through the book as they ate an impromptu lunch of cheese and crackers and sausage, she wouldn’t mind trying. The diner’s burgers were perfect, but some variety on the menu would be nice.

“What next?” Rumplestiltskin asked afterwards as they packed their purchases into the Cadillac’s trunk, the many half-timbered buildings around them reminding him of a town in the Enchanted Forest.

“The Christmas shop,” Belle said eagerly, pulling out her travel brochure. “It’s the world’s largest, covering 2.2. acres.”

Rumplestiltskin had no problem with putting up a fresh-smelling tree for the holidays, or some tasteful white lights, but over two acres of decorations sounded…worrisome. “Just don’t buy any of those tacky inflatable things to put out front,” he begged.

Belle pouted. “I thought the polar bear in front of the pizza place was cute. Besides, this is Gideon’s first Christmas. We have to get something special.”

Of one accord, they glanced down at their son in his stroller as they entered the store. Gideon’s eyes went wide, and his head started swiveling in all directions, including up towards the ceiling, trying to take in everything.

“Wow,” said Belle. “Better keep an eye on Gideon; we don’t want him reaching out to grab some shiny bauble and breaking it.”

“Here, let me take the stroller,” Rumplestiltskin said. “You go ahead and we’ll follow you.”

They emerged from the store nearly two hours later, Gideon clutching a light-up plastic penguin as big as he was that he had made quite clear he wanted. A personalised stocking for him, several ornaments, and some strings of bubble lights completed their haul. Belle thought that she had restrained herself admirably. They overcame Gideon’s protest at having to let go of the penguin by holding him up so that he could see it in the trunk and wave bye-bye to it for now.

“Dinner next?” Rumplestiltskin asked hopefully.

“Dinner next,” Belle agreed, looking forward to the famous chicken dinner touted by the Bavarian Inn, where they were lodging for the night.

She would mention the gift shops on the Inn’s lower level after they had eaten.