Thursday, December 10, 2009

Photo Scrapbook: Les Andelys, France

The past few years Doug and I have taken a 2-3 week trip in the fall; for our 2009 vacation we decided on an 18-day river cruise throughout France - the first segment was Paris north to Normandy/the second meandered from Paris down through Burgundy and Provence.  

It was a wonderful trip, and we'd like to share some highlights.

The first morning on board the 128-passenger River Baroness we were docked in quiet, lovely Les Andelys.

We got an early start seeing the town - there was barely any traffic on the cobble-stone streets, the shops and cafes were still closed and the church was quietly solemn. In the summer months - even early in the day, no doubt - it would have been quite different because Les Andelys is only 60 miles from Paris and 25 miles from Rouen. In addition, many river cruise itineraries include a stop in Les Andelys so passengers can tour Chateau-Gaillard, built high above the Seine River's white cliffs.

After the steep climb up to the remains of Chateau-Gaillard, we appreciated the picturesque view of the Seine and our ship, the River Baroness, docked at Les Andelys.

Chateau-Gaillard was built to protect Rouen and Richard the Lionheart's duchy of Normandy from the armies of the French kings. The project, ordered in 1197, lasted a little more than 12 months and involved nearly 6,000 workers. Unfortunately, Richard died before the fortress was complete; construction was then taken over by his brother John. After a long siege, however, Chateau-Gaillard was captured by the French in 1203.

The castle's interior.

With its 128 passengers on board, the River Baroness left historic Les Andelys bound for Rouen.

Cruising the Seine River past the late-12th century Chateau-Gaillard commissioned by Richard the Lionheart.

After sightseeing in Les Andelys Sept. 21, we gathered with friends on the River Baroness for the Captain's Welcome dinner : (from left) Gary and Libby from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Bonnie and George from Orange Beach, Alabama; Jim and Carla from Lenexa, Kansas; Heidi and Doug.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

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