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Published: August 24th 2011
After last night’s thunderstorm the day is looking clear and the temperature is rising. But before we leave for Angers and the Loire Valley we have one final visit to make – the centre of Rouen. From our reading prior to coming on the trip we discovered that Rouen has a beautiful cathedral that is in the long process of being cleaned and restored.
With the car once again packed we drove down the hill to the city centre and found a very handy car park within easy walking distance of the sights we wanted to see. On our way to the cathedral we discovered a part of the city with very old restored buildings similar to the ones we saw yesterday in Gaillon. Again it was difficult to find a right angle anywhere. We wondered whether or not we were only seeing the facade and the interior was very late 20th century. Our visit to the cathedral was thwarted when we discovered it was closed on Fridays. So the “must see” list grows. One building we did discover was the beautiful Palais de Justice which has undergone a massive restoration since WWII when it was severely damaged by bombing. Unfortunately
security was tight and even the NZ passport wouldn’t let us get past the guards.
Our drive south towards Le Mans took us through very attractively presented towns and villages. The countryside was in the latter stages of the summer harvest with only the maize remaining to be picked. We managed to miss most of the farm machinery on the road, or got past it quite quickly, until we came upon a small convoy of combine harvesters that took up more than their fair share of the road. Their drive though the small towns or around round abouts was quite a feat in manoeuvrability and passers-by needed to watch out for their toes. The road was straight but had many small rolling hills, similar to a roller-coaster, so passing wasn’t the easiest.
Driving through Le Mans we realised this city has more than motor racing to its list of notable attractions and had we known we might have planned to stay longer. The more we drive through this beautiful country the more we want to stay and see. Our first real view of the famous chateaux in the area was in Durtal. A roadside viewing was all we managed.
the time we reached Angers, our overnight stop, the temperature was already in the low thirties. It has been a long time since we felt that hot. Perhaps the last time was in Croatia during our Plitvice Lakes visit. Angers appears to have a lot to attract the tourist but time and more important attractions await us. What we have seen on our travels since arriving back in France we have loved and already the germ of a new adventure is developing.
Tomorrow we head along the Loire Valley and south to Poitiers where we will enjoy a French home-stay with a mutual friend.
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