From Andelys (Eure) to Villequier (Seine-Maritime), along the Seine ... A weekend in the shade of apple trees, impressionists, monks and Victor Hugo, along the great river. Eight free bins cross the Seine and you can bite into an apple at cost price along the fruit route. A romantic and easy-to-follow route, in four stages.
The Andelys loop
Chateau Gaillard was baptized thus by Richard the Lionheart, King of England, when this formidable fortress was completed, in 1198. On a strategic height of the Seine, and intended to defend the Anglo-Norman lands, it was not taken until 1204 when the French soldiers entered through the farmyard. And Normandy became French.
The panorama (photo), one of the most beautiful overlooking the Seine, extends over the tiled roofs and white cliffs framing the silvery meanders of the river ribbon. Fortress turned prison, it was dismantled by order of Henri IV. Classified, the ruins are listed as a Grand National Site.
At their feet, Les Andelys, Small and Large, deserve to be traveled by following the marked route "Along the water and the streets". This will take you to the organs of the Saint-Sauveur church, those of the Notre-Dame collegiate church, its stained-glass windows and the Entombment (XNUMXth century).
Le Nicolas Poussin museum evokes the great XNUMXth-century painter, a native of the country, with the painting by Corolian. Works from the Rouen School (late XNUMXth century) complete this tour of local history.
Neighbor, the Sainte-Clotilde fountain recalls the legend of the Queen of the Franks, wife of Clovis in the XNUMXth century, who transformed water into wine to invigorate the workers of the monastery. Since then, this water has undoubtedly improved!
The Duclair loop
Going up the right bank of the Seine by the Coast of the Two Lovers, sad memory for disaster lovers, we exceed Rouen, whose visit alone is well worth a day.
Facing the remains of the castle of Robert-le-Diable overlooking Little face on the left bank, we continue by Saint-Pierre-de-Manneville and the gardens of the manor of Villers, to see in season.
The step is done at Saint-Martin-de Boscherville, with the Benedictine Romanesque abbey of Saint-Georges and its magnificently restored monastic garden.
Pass under the austere Caumont limestone portal and enter inside to be flooded with light. Behind the bedside, the garden of the Maurist monks (XNUMXth century) stretches between squares of simple vegetables and conservatory orchards animated by pruned yews.
From the Pavillon des Vents, the view lets guess the undulations of the Val de Seine and the castle of Bardouville. It is said that a little monk, at the time of the Crusades, went there to console the lonely lord ...
The Jumièges loop
By the fruit route from Duclair, you arrive atJumièges Abbey. The opportunity to bite the Norman apples directly from the producer, in season.
The ruins of the Benedictine Abbey of Jumièges remain among the most expressive in France, despite the attacks of the Vikings and the Revolutionaries. The gaunt arms of its nave, 47 meters high, seem to enclose you under the croaking of jackdaws. Romantic at will, it has inspired many artists.
Take the trouble to climb up to the abbey house (XVIIth century) to apprehend the plenitude each time different of this monumental complex.
Further north, theAbbey of Saint-Wandrille de Fontenelle, also Benedictine, is still in activity. 35 monks sing masses and prayers there, reserved primarily for men.
Don't let this prevent you from visiting the Gothic ruins, the rather austere cloister and the grandiose wooden frame of the modernized church. The abbey remains a spiritual high place despite its many adventures.
The Villequier loop
After the Brotonne bridge, everyone gets off at Caudebec-en-Caux ! The bombings of the last war spared the flamboyant Gothic church of Saint-Étienne and its refined sculptures sheltered by deep blue glass roofs.
The wooded site facing the Brotonne forest will soon see the redevelopment of the Seine Marine Museum. Because everything here speaks of the tidal bore, now dammed: a sort of breaking wave which, during high tides, rose up the river like a "bar" against the current, causing a lot of damage.
La Barre-y-Va chapel, on the cornice, is dedicated to him. Its ceiling, in the shape of an overturned boat hull, houses a few models of boats and consecrated ex-votos. Neighboring, the primitive chapel is hollow behind a blue gate, moving in its simplicity.
Still under the capricious spirit of this calm river, we arrive at Villequier and at the Vacquerie house. Become Victor-Hugo museum, she kept a certain nostalgia for the drama that occurred to the poet's daughter, Léopoldine, drowned in the Seine with her husband Charles Vacquerie in 1843, the year of her marriage. A drama that left Victor Hugo distraught.
The Vacquerie house, furnished identically, is rich in many pen drawings and memories of Victor Hugo and his family. The tombs, at the foot of the small country church, line up in front of the town hall, under the heather and rose bushes.
To prepare for your stay, consult our Normandy sheet.
Loop of the Andelys
- Tourism Les Andelys (hiking sheets).
- Château-Gaillard: free entry all year round for the Lower Courtyard. Open from mid-March to mid-November, except Tuesday, for the keep and the Haute-cour. Guided tours.
- Nicolas Poussin Museum: afternoon except Tuesday
- Hotel de Paris-Restaurant du Castelet
- Manor of Villers
- Saint Georges de Boscherville Abbey
- Route des fruits, from Duclair to Notre-Dame-de-Bliquetuit and the Brotonne bridge, 62 km to bite an apple “at the barrier” of farms, at cost price, in season. List of fruit markets and farms.
- Jumièges Abbey
- Auberge du Bac, Jumièges, terrace on the Seine. Tel: 02 35 37 24 16 (closed Monday and Tuesday).
- Saint-Wandrille Abbey (remarkable shop with bookstore and monastic products, including the famous Saint-Wandrille wax).
- Bed and Breakfast and Table d'hôtes in Saint-Wandrille
- Caudebec-en-Caux Tourist Office
- Le Cheval Blanc hotel-restaurant in Caudebec
- Victor-Hugo Museum in Villequier
East to west bins
Dieppedalle in Grand-Quevilly, Petit-Couronne in Val-de-la-Haye, La Bouille in Sahurs, Duclair in Berville-sur-Seine, Mesnil-sous-Jumièges in Yville-sur-Seine, Jumièges in Heurteauville, Yainville in Heureteauville , Quillebeuf-sur-Seine in Port-Jérôme. Free, every quarter of an hour approx. Phone. 1 4 0820
To follow, from May 20 to September 9, 2012, the 16th operation “The churches of our villages are told”. 47 country churches of Seine-Maritime and their treasures exceptionally open every Sunday, around activities and hikes. Info: Seine-Maritime Tourism