Today has been a bit of a frustrating day. We left Jumièges at 9.15 and followed Les Boucles de la Seine on the D65 and D982 to Rouen, where we found easy access and free parking right on the quay of the river Seine, within walking distance of the cathedral that we so much wanted to visit and the main reason of our journey here, to admire Richard the Lionheart’s eponymous heart and the tomb of the Viking king Rollo.
The approach to the old city centre was very pleasant, lined with old half-timbered houses among the modern buildings. I took lots of pictures all the way, including the big barges on the river, the old streets and the first glimpses of the cathedral, its exterior and façade. But when we tried to enter the said building, there was a notice on the door saying that there would be an ‘exceptional’ closure of the cathedral on Tuesday14th and Wednesday 15th February. I couldn’t believe my rotten luck. Of all the days in the year when it could have closed, after all the times we just travelled past this city saying ‘next time we’ll stop and visit it’, it had to be TODAY! Today of all days, when we are actually here!
After this major disappointment, we decided to visit the Old Market Place, where poor Joan of Arc was burned alive and where an amazingly shaped church has been built in her honour. We followed the Rue du Gros-Horloge (Big Clock), admired the arch gate and gold-plated clock and arrived at this most charming square, surrounded by stunning half-timbered houses. We paid our respects on the spot whre Joan of Arc was martyred, marked with a plaque and a 20 meter-high cross, but couldn’t visit the inside of the church as there was a funeral in progress: more rotten luck.
We had a lovely coffee served in dainty dishes in a café facing the church and market, bought a baguette and Tarte Normande and walked back to motorhome along the Seine.
It was an easy and quick exit out of Rouen and we took the A28 northeast past Neufchatel by junction 9 and onto the D1314 to Bailleul-Neuville, where we wanted to make use of our France Passion membership and stop at the wild boar and deer farm of Ferme du Grémonval, but the access there was too muddy and difficult due to the melting snow and again our intentions were thwarted for the third time in one morning. We quickly had to decide where to stop for lunch and the rest of the day and decided to head west toward Dieppe, past Londinières and on to the D920 to Envermeu and finally D56 southwest here.
This aire is situated by a car park near the industrial estate, but at least it has free water and wifi connection, so we’ve topped up the water tank and checked our e-mails. The internet is a bit slow, but it was good to keep up with what’s going on with friends and family.
Adonis’s been trying to seal a leak on the bathroom sink, as water keeps dripping into cupboard below. We might need to replace the entire unit, as cracks keep getting bigger.
Tomorrow we’ll head for Boulogne-sur-Mer to do our big shop at Auchan before returning home and then we’ll drive to Wissant’s aire to spend the night and have easy access to the Channel Tunnel terminal.
We’ll be back at Easter!