Rânes is a small village in Basse-Normandie region. From what I can figure out, Lower and Upper Normandy means more or less western and eastern Normandy because Basse-Normandie isn’t really low from anywhere, minus England maybe. Once occupied by the Romans and the Franks (who gave the country its name), Lower Normandy got its name from the Normans (William of Orange, the conqueror of England in 1066, was Norman and is buried in Caen north of here.)
The region traded hands quite a few times over the centuries including being ruled by the fabulously named Plantagenets. And the beaches of Calvados, about 1.5 hours due north from Rânes were the landing beaches of the Allied invasion of WWII. I always assumed they were on the west coast of the country but they are north off the English Channel. Yes, it is very American of me to assume the invasion had to come from the west because that’s, you know, where America is. Yes, I studied American History. Yes, I am blushing.
Heavily agricultural, the area of Basse-Normandie we are in is cow heavy and known for its cidre, ciders made from apple or pear. (More on that. So much more on that.) Our gîte, La Balayrie, is lovely and next door to another house called La Balayrie. They have a dirt bike track and a St. Bernard. I don’t know why they are both called La Balayrie. I don’t think my French is good enough to figure it out either. I do know that I like that Google Maps lists it by name.
The village or town or hamlet or whatever is lovely. It’s a one roundabout kinda town (yup, more on that later too).
There is a mini golf course but we think it’s closed. A big phew that the boulangerie is thriving.
The population of the village of Rânes was 1035. Until we got here.
Now it’s 1041.
Once occupied by the Romans and the Franks now it’s occupied by the Schumachers.