Such controversy so early in the day… read on and you will find out why….
Today starts what I would consider the first “full” day of our Paris and Normandy adventure. Last night at our port talk before dinner our cruise director Alexandra told us that if we were awake early in the morning and had a chance to see the fog raising from the Seine as we pulled into Les Andelys it would be a sight to see… and she was right!
Les Andelys I would have to give the award of “Super Quaint”. This stop on our cruise is one of main reasons I love river cruising over ocean liner cruises… as we pulled up they put out the gangway and you could immediately walk off the ship and up and down a path along the river. Beautiful old homes with lovely gardens, flowers hanging from light poles, peek down an alley and there is the little village and all just steps away from the ship.
This is the port where Ilyse fell in love with the food on board the ship I might also add. Coming down to breakfast to a full buffet of whatever she wanted is a far cry from at home when she asks “When are you ever going to go grocery shopping I am starving….” (I know I am skipping ahead but I asked her when we returned what were her three favorite things about the cruise and one of the three was “FOOD”).
I regress…. so after our lovely breakfast we waited for our local guides to take us on our tour of the city and a brisk walk up to the highlight of Les Andelys the Chateau Gaillard built by Richard the Lionheart. We were divided into four groups… the fourth being the “Gentle Walkers” this group had a shuttle ride midway up the hill to see the Chateau.. the other three groups walked.
The walk was a little strenuous but we stopped along the way as our guide Margarita told us about how Richard came to build the Chateau which I would have called a fortress because a Chateau to me seems a little more elegant… but then I grew up in Michigan so what do I really know about Chateaus?
The views from the Chateau were beautiful and we took some really breathtaking photos of the surrounding areas. After the visit we did a little shopping in the village where normally the shops are closed on Mondays but since our ship was in town they were open while we were there (very accommodating!)
We returned in time for a wonderful lunch and then set sail on the Seine to our next location of Rouen where we would be spending the next two days. The sail started around 3:00 and we docked around 7:30 while we were eating dinner.. so we were able to see some wonderful country side and the weather was gorgeous. They say in Normandy you can experience all four seasons in one day and we can attest to that! In the morning you find yourself wearing a sweater or light jacket.. by the afternoon you are in short sleeves… later you get a little rain shower and by the evening you are sitting up on the deck with a blanket around you. We didn’t get any snow but we were only there for a week 🙂
So a little explanation of my title for today’s blog. The people of the Normandy area are a very proud group of folks. And excuse me for jumping ahead a little bit here but Les Andelys was just the beginning of where we heard from many a tour guide about Richard the Lionheart and that he was the Duke of Normandy. I had always remembered him as the King of England… which they did agree that he was the King of England but that was not the most important title that he had, the Duke of Normandy is a much more important title than the King of England. And this was solidified when Richard the Lionheart, upon his death, had himself buried in France and NOT England. I guess that is the ultimate snub… a little side note, he is buried in three different locations:
“Richard was buried according to his instructions. Crowned and clothed in royal regalia, his body was entombed at Fontevraud, at the feet of his father; his heart was buried at Rouen, with his brother Henry; and his brain and entrails went to an abbey at Chattoux, on the border of Poitous and Limousin. ”
Ick… how would you have liked to have had that burial job????
I leave you with more pictures and tomorrow we will be visiting the beaches of Normandy (or so I hear).