This week, a visitor to Rouen asked me to give her some ideas for her month stay in Rouen.
The river trips haven’t started yet, a fun thing to do in Spring from the begining of the Easter holidays, but nevertheless a trip further down the Seine is a visual treat and its lanscape never fails to impress me. Often visitors come without a car, and this visit to Jumièges is possible by a local bus, and gives a great taste of the Normandy lanscape along the Seine in the footsteps of the Impressionist painters.
Jumièges is a village dating back to medieval times build on a loop of the Seine, and home to one of the Romanesqe, and early Gothic Monasteries, now in ruins. Norman dukes made this the settlement for the first monastery and abbey from the 7th century. The second abbey was built in 1062 and later modernised in the Gothic style in 1278 before being ruined during the Wars of Religeon. The river carves its way through the lanscape with the huge chalk cliffs banking the rive gauche facing over the fertile Jumiége plain with its orchards and Abbey.
Take the number 30 bus from Rouen. Get advice from the TCAR office at the Gare Routière near the Theatre des Arts for the times. In off-season, there are, I believe more buses on a sunday than other days of the week
In Jumiéges there are several small restaurants in the shadow of the abbey, but one of my favorite walks, to prolong the day, and especially in beautiful weather is to turn out of the gate of the abbey to the right, and hugging the bounary of the abbey site as well as possible, to pass behind the monument, passing the wonderful manor which also stands in its grounds, and continue to circuit the site until back at a crossroads with the main street of Jumièges once more. From there cross the main road and take the small lane opposite heading across the plain and orchard fields towards the river. Passing the huddle of houses overlooking the river aim for the Bac ferry which crosses the Seine every 10 minutes (but check the last crossing time before you leave). This small ferry is free to car and foot passengers and lands, very conveniently, in front of a lovely café overlooking the water’s edge.
Spend some moments watching the occasional river traffic before heading either further along the rive gauche, or returning to the rive droit and Jumièges. A 10 minute walk down the lane running perpendicular to the river will take you back to the centre of Jumièges, its cafés, restaurants and bus stop.
Allow yourself a couple of hours for the walk, in addition to the visit to the abbey site, in order to not miss the return bus back home.
And cross your fingers for a sunny day!
Sounds wonderful. I learned all about Jumièges when I read history at university but, of course, it meant little to me then. It would mean a whole lot more now. I must get back up there one day…
I really love going there for the peace and beauty of the place, my kids are not so enamoured, wanting excitement and noise. Did you do French or English history?
Well, I did a variety of countries and eras of history. I have always been drawn to medieval history and you can’t separate England and France when it comes to that period. If only I could go back to university now – I would get so much more out of it.
It seems as if it’s changed somewhat, I visited Jumièges when I was pregnant with daughter no 3 – she’s 24 now, and it was a completely magical place, quiet, deserted, nothing around it at all, you could just walk in.
There again we also went to Robert le Diable’s castle on the same trip, it was down a deserted country road (right on the edge of the motorway now) and in complete defiance of any health and safety considerations me and child due in 4 weeks, were taken on a tour around the top of the castle walls, no handrails, nothing!
Yes sadly you now have to pay. Last summer they did a ‘concert in the park one sunday lunchtime, with a string quartet and small tables laid out under the trees and a local guy giving away cups of cider. It wasn’t crowded and was a fabulous lazy afternoon. It’s still magical though and I love walking down to the river and catching the bac.
The chateau de Robert le Diable is undergoing restauration. It isn’t possible to go round anything but the exterior, but I imagine it will be fully open soonish. We went on Boxingday last year in the mist and gloom of dusk. It was fabulous, and then dropped down to La Bouille and its little cafe for crepes. Both great favourites. So nice that you know them too!
This sounds wonderful! 🙂 I will definitely be adding this to my list – probably for this Saturday. It’d be great to get a taste of the Normandy landscape.