Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tour de France 2007, Stage 8: Chartres to Jumieges – 14 July 2007

Monet's lily padsOur reason for heading to the south of Paris on our westward trip was to visit Monet's Garden, so that was our first stop for the day. It would be a really great spot if you could get rid of the tourists cluttering up your photos.

Old Mill on the SeineSeveral dozen lily-pad shots later, we set off for Les Andelys. Petite Les Andelys is right on the Seine and is very attractive. The main town is not worth a stop. The area is overlooked by the Chateau Gaillard, built by Richard the Lionheart in 1197 to defend Rouen from the French.

Lyons-la-ForetOn the route to Rouen we stopped at Lyons-la-Foret, an extremely attractive half-timbered town favoured by the Dukes of Normandy as a hunting base. It was easy to while away time there ambling around the streets snapping photos.

Lyons-la-ForetOur intended destination for the night was Rouen, so that was our next waypoint. The Cathedral is a grand gothic masterpiece with the tallest spire in France and is the burial place of Richard the Lionheart. The west face of the cathedral was the subject of a series of painting by Monet. The town had an extensive pedestrianised centre so we wandered around admiring more old half-timbered buildings. Joan d'Arc churchIn stark contrast was the new Church dedicated to Joan d'Arc who was burnt at the stake a few metres outside. It replaces the church destroyed in 1944 and is a fabulously beautiful modern structure incorporating the stained glass windows of the original church. The architect has achieved a truly inspirational building that one was loathe to leave.

Since there were still a few hours in the day we decided, after looking at it, not to spend a night in the Rouen Municipal Campground and pressed on towards Dieppe. The next campground was not much more exciting, seemingly right next door to a busy motorway, so we dropped back down to a loop in the Seine to find, eventually, the campground at Jumieges.

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