Nick has a favourite local attraction to offer visitors. At Tourlaville you can visit the parkland within which sits the Chateau de Ravalets. The gardens have been the property of the city of Cherbourg since 1935, and in their present form are the creation of Viscount René de Tocqueville. The layout of this huge 30 acre site, based on a predominantly English design, dates back to 1872 and makes it one of the most attractive gardens in the Cotentin peninsular, with its two lakes and a glasshouse rotunda. It is currently under restoration to bring it back to its former splendour.
We discovered this local monument a couple of years ago when we were looking for places to walk and pass a few hours. At that time the Chateau housed a very macabre exhibition which consisted largely of animal bones of all sizes, and small mammal corpses. Now the chateau is closed for the winter and perhaps more restoration. As it is, at the present time very few of the rooms are open to the public.
Whilst Mike and Carolyn were visiting we drove to Tourlaville to spend Saturday afternoon walking in the parkland. There were late bloomers, trees and shrubs in autumn colours and occasional fungi. At the end of the walk I met a Frenchman who was walking his beautiful grey and white cat. The cat lives with its owner in a flat but from kittenhood has been brought to the chateau for walks. The owner showed me a yellow rose, beautifully perfumed, which he said is the rose he would choose above all others.
Sadly there was no plant name tag to give a clue as to the variety, although the opened bud which the Frenchman picked and gave to me strongly resembles the strongly fragranced Lawrence Johnson.