Upper Normandy Attractions Haute-Normandie
Upper Normandy which is traversed by the lower Seine, is the western part of an area of chalk tableland in the Paris basin rising to 250 m/820 ft and slashed by valleys, usually running parallel to one another. The most characteristic part of the area is the Pays de Caux (the "land of chalk"), which falls down to the Channel in steep cliffs (falaises) some 100m/330ft high.
The popular little seaside resort of Étretat (pop. 1,615) lies at the foot of 90m/295ft high chalk cliffs, from the top of which there are wide views. To the north of the town is the Falaise d'Amont, with a monument to Nungesser and Coli, who died in an attempt to fly the Atlantic in 1927. To the west is the Falaise d'Aval, with impressive natural rock bridges and an isolated stack 70m/230ft high, the Aiguille d'Étretat. Above the town to the east is the church of Notre- Dame (11th-13th C.).
The Seine Valley is the great scenic attraction of inland Normandy. The river flows through Normandy from Vernon by way of Rouen to Le Havre, with numerous windings which in spite of its gentle gradient (with a fall of only 16m/50ft from Vernon to its mouth, a distance of over 100km/60mi as the crow flies) almost double its length. Particularly attractive is the "Route des Abbayes" from Rouen to Le Havre, on the right bank of the river.
Abbaye de Saint-Georges de Boscherville
Abbaye de Saint-Georges de Boscherville is a 12th century abbey noted for its Norman Romanesque style with fine views over the Seine valley. Restoration has been ongoing since 1987.The gardens of the abbey have been restored using documents from the 17th century.
In the little town Jumièges (pop. 1,714) are the imposing ruins of an abbey founded in 654 and destroyed in 1790, with the remains of two churches and the conventual buildings and a small museum. The church of St-Pierre dates in part from the Carolingian period and has clear traces of early Norman work (10th C).
Evreux (pop. 54,076), chief town of the département of Eure, is an important commercial and market center.The Cathedral of Notre-Dame (11th-18th C.) has fine 16th C. stained glass and delicately wrought Renaissance grilles in the chapels round the choir. The Bishop's Palace (1481) now houses the Municipal Museum. The Tour de l'Horloge (Clock- Tower) dates from 1490. The former abbey church of St-Taurin (11th-15th C.) contains the 13th C. reliquary of St Taurin (Taurinus), a masterpiece of French goldsmith's work.
Fécamp (pop. 21,479) is an old-established seaside resort with a fishing and a commercial harbor. The writer Guy de Maupassant lived in Fécamp for some time, and some of his stories are set in the town. On a 114 m/374ft high chalk cliff to the north of the town is the pilgrimage chapel of Notre-Dame- du-Salut (13th-14th C.).
The main feature of interest in the town, apart from the harbors, is the former abbey church of Ste-Trinité, which was built in the 12th-13th C. and later partly rebuilt. The interior is remarkably spacious; notable features are the fine choir screen (1868), the choir-stalls (1748), a handsome Renaissance altar behind the high altar and a sculpture of the "Death of the Virgin" (1519) in the south transept.
11km/7mi east of Fécamp is the village of Valmont, with a medieval castle and the ruins of an abbey founded in the 12th C.
Tancarville (pop. 1,140), at the mouth of the Seine, has a ruined 11th C. castle and a road suspension bridge which was opened for traffic in 1959, and which spans the Seine at a height of 51m/167ft above the water.
Varengeville sur Mer, France
This attractively situated seaside resort - Varengeville sur Mer - lies on the cliff-fringed coast just to the west of Dieppe. Its main attractions, apart from the beach, are the Parc des Moustiers with its beautiful flowers and the Manoir d'Ango, a manor-house of 1533-1545. The church (11th, 13th and 15th C.) has fine stained glass; the painter Georges Braque (1882- 1963) is buried in the churchyard. From the church there are fine views.Outside the town is the Chapelle St- Dominique, which has stained glass by Braque and a picture by the painter Maurice Denis (1870-1943). Also outside the town is a modern lighthouse from which there is a magnificent view of the surrounding country and the rocky coast.
Le Vasterival was garden created by Princess Sturdza in 1957. Leading through the richly planted woods of this garden are a series of informal yet elegant paths. Beauty is combined with an excellent variety of plants that is a must for any lover of gardens.
Normandy Nature Parks
The Normandie Maine Nature Park in Lower Normandy, extending into the Loire valley, has an area of 234,000 hectares/578,000 acres. Of this area 45,000 hectares/111,000 acres are under forest, but there are also many rivers and lakes which offer plenty of opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and sailing.Brotonne Nature Park, with an area of 50,000 hectares/124,000 acres, lies in the départements of Seine-Maritime and Eure, centered on the Brotonne Forest. There are many footpaths and trails in both parks.
The old town of Vernon (pop. 25,003) is beautifully situated on the left bank of the Seine, between the Forêt de Vernon and the Forêt de Bizy. The church of Notre-Dame dates from the 12th C., its west front, with a beautiful rose window, from the 15th. The interior is also very fine. Round the church are handsome old houses. Also of interest are the Musée A.-G. Poulain and the 12th C. Tour des Archives, a relic of a medieval castle.
Château de Bizy
Château de Bizy allows visitors to enjoy the magnificent cascades, canals and waterworks of the château garden. The castle was built in 1740 by Constant d'Ivry for Fouquet, Duke of Belle-Isle.
Le Treport, France
The little port Le Tréport (pop. 6,300), which is also a popular holiday resort, lies on the Channel coast at the mouth of the river Bresle, at the foot of the highest cliffs in France. Above the harbor is the church of St-Jacques, with a fine Renaissance doorway. There is a cableway up to the Calvaire des Terrasses, from which there are fine views.
Villequier (pop. 769) is prettily situated on the banks of the Seine under an old castle. Here in 1843 Victor Hugo's daughter and son-in-law were drowned - an event which inspired some of Hugo's finest poems. There is a small museum devoted to the poet and his family.
Chateau de la Ducs de Broglie, France
The brothers Maurice and Louis Broglie were born in this château. Louis is best known for his development of the theory of the duality of matter, a creation that won him the Nobel prize in 1929.
Broglie - Commemorative Plaque to Fresnel
A plaque across from the marketplace commemorates the birthplace of Auguste Fresnel, who is famed for his additions to the theory of light waves over the particulate light theory.
Giverny, west of Paris, was the home of the painter Claude Monet from 1883 until his death in 1926. Monet's house and his garden, which appears in so many of his pictures, are open to the public.
Musée Marmottan-Claude Monet
The museum, a former hunting lodge, includes 100 masterpieces by Claude Monet and other impressionist painters. Other displays include Napoleonic paintings, furnishings and bronzes collected by Jules and Paul Marmottan.
Address: 2 rue Louis Boilly, F-75016 Paris, France
Opening hours: 10am-6pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €8.00, Concession or reduced rate €4.50, Child 8 & under FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop
Le Bec-Hellouin, France
North of Brionne, on the river Risle, is Le Bec-Hellouin, with an abbey of the 15th-18th centuries. There is a Musée Automobile, with 50 cars ranging in date from 1920 to the present day.
Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin
The original Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin was built in 1034 by Knight Herluin. The current abbey was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries. This abbey is currently home to Benedictine monks who conduct tours of the abbey.
Opening hours: Jun 1 to Sep 30: 10am-12pm, 3pm-6pm; Sun: 12pm-12pm, 3pm-6pm; Sat: 12pm-12pm, 3pm-6pm
Oct 1 to May 31: Sun: 12pm-am, 3:15pm-am; Closed: Tue
Oct 1 to May 31: Sun: 12pm-am, 3:15pm-am; Closed: Tue
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €5.00, Group of 20 or more €4.20, Youth 25 & under €3.50, Child 17 & under FREE
Statue of Laplace, Beaumont-en-Auge, France
In the center of the Place de Verdun stands a statue erected in honor of the scientist Pierre Simon Laplace.
Le Bois des Moutiers
White valerian roses and other ghostly plants maintain the primary theme in the Norman garden at Le Bois des Moutiers.
Address: Route de l'église, F-76119 Varengeville-sur-Mer, France
Opening hours: Mar 15 to Nov 15: 10am-12pm, 2pm-6pm; Sun: 10am-12pm, 2pm-6pm; Mon: 10am-12pm, 2pm-6pm; Sat: 10am-12pm, 2pm-6pm
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Admission price includes a visit inside the mansion.
Famed for its stables and large park, this Louis XIII style house stands on a rectangular island in a rectangular moat.