A gaggle of chateaux, a trip down the Loire


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Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Rouen
June 14th 2005
Published: January 2nd 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

We left our friends Sam and Roy after spending a few relaxing days with them. What a life waking up late, listening to the cocks crowing in the farm down the road. Cock a reeko apparently is the sound they make not cock a doodle doo. We enjoyed walking the dogs in the fields near the house and sitting in the evenings under the bamboo shade watching the sun setting. How jealous I felt with their life style - for us just two weeks before going back to Glenn and his kitchen fitting and me the jobcentre.

We set off for the Chateau de Josselin which stands in south Brittany on the river Oust. It is still the home of the original family. It has three majestic towers which overlook the river. I though the view from the river a better one with the chateau looking more Gothic in style. I didnt enjoy the guided tour but then I never do. The gardens were full of roses and were interested for those of us who watch Gardeners World.

Our second chateau was to the much more interesting Azay le Rideau set on its own island on the river Indre.
Rouen Rouen Rouen

Gros Horloge
An example of early renaissance architecture the chateau was picture perfect. Built between 1515 and 1527 it was lovely. There were no gardens as such -much of the landscape resembled and English parkland scene. The type you see at Chatsworth or any stately home in England or Wales. However under the trees we found lovely pink cyclamen growing in huge numbers.

After this visit we headed to the historic capital of Upper Normandy - Rouen which sits on the river Seine. We arrived early and found the town empty. Perhaps this is the best time to arrive as parking is relatively easy in one of the clean and tidy underground parking areas. We did though worry our TT was so low it would struggle getting over the parapet just outside the car park.

The main sights are the cathedral dedicated to Notre Dame. The metal steeple is unusual. It seems that the church was bombed in 1944 and much damage was caused to the structure. The church is of a late Gothic style which is very attractive and my favourite building style.

The second major site is the Gros Horloge or the astronomical clock. Constructed in the 16th century the movement is apparently from 1384. A pretty feature overlooking the street. The town is full of half timbered buildings and as such well worth the visit.

We did struggle getting out of the car park. The bottom of the car dragged along the floor and the noise was deafening. Lesson to be learned - check the car park exit as well as the car park entrance .

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