Updated: Jun 12
Green fields, nature, history, rural traditions, legends, typical architecture...
Welcome to Normandy, a region in the North of France!
During the lockdown I took the time to gather information about activities and possible visits around Paris. In fact, during the second phase we were only able to move up to 100km from where we live, so Normandy was an option!
We stayed at Paco's place in Damville: a big garden full of colourful flowers, fresh air, an outside barbecue, a lot of laughts and a relaxing athmophere. This is exacly what I needed after our Parisian quarantine.
After a morning run across the wood, we were full of energies for an afternoon visit. We took the car destination Les Andelys, an area of the Eure departement just 90km from Paris.
I love exploring with people who are familiar with the destination, I totally let them guide me and I realise that my eyes are often curious and amazed for things that are considered normal by locals.
I guess it's simple, we tend to think about our childhood places as nothing special, we underestimate them a little bit, unless we are distant from them for a while. In fact, this was a real surprise for Paco as well! He was aware about this special site, but he never had the chance to visit it.
We followed the sign for Chateau Gaillard, a Medieval castle right on the top of the hill. We parked our car and started walking around the area. The view is stunning: the ruins of the castle are imponent and they overlook the Seine valley as well as the pictoresque village of Les Andelys. Here the river takes a sharp curve making it a strategic position for the castle. In front of the peninsula there's a complexe of white limestone of about 100m high.
Chateau Gaillard was built in 1196 in just one year by the Duke of Normandy and Kind of England "Richard Cœur de Lion" with the aim of protecting the city of Rouen. This stronghold still calls to mind strength, power and invincibility of that time. After years of battles, in 1204 the castle was taken and Normandy became part of the Kingdom of France. We couldn't visit the inside of the castle because of the restrictictions, but normally you can explore the core of the structure which is still very well preserved.
We were immersed in nature and surrounded by an incredible landscapes, it just felt so good!There are several trails around the castle which go up to the hill or down to the village, giving visitors the possibility of admiring the site on different perspetives by unifying history, adventure and nature.
We couldn't miss the visit of the enchanting village of Les Andelys before going back home. Its particular location under the cliffs and in front of the castle just makes it unique. The village is quite small and can be visited in less than one hour by walk. I suggest you to get lost in its small quaint streets with local artisan shops and the typical Norman architecture characterised by the wooden structures and pastel colors. Strolling along the Seine river, you'll admire local houses and many people fishing in the river.
A great relaxing weekend and an interesting visit far from the hustle and bustle of Paris!
And I have to admit that every time I visit a new corner of Normandy, I totally fall in love with this impressive region in the North of France!
Open from March 15th to November 15th
Every day except on Tuesdays and May 1st
Hours : from 10a.m. to 1p.m. and 2p.m. to 6p.m.
Admission: 3euro; free for children under 10; 1euro extra per person for the guided tour
Free visit of the grounds year round
The visit of the site is free if you don't want to enter the castle.
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