Panther Enthusiasts Club UK

French Trip 5th to 10th September 2007

North Normandy

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Eleven cars (21 people) once again met at the familiar Hotel L'Escale on the 5th September, prior to heading south at 9:30 on the 6th, to the auberge in Normandy which was to be our home until Monday the 10th. This year our destination was the Domaine Saint Paul, (www.domaine-saint-paul.fr) a delightful 17 room auberge on the outskirts of the picturesque Lyons la Foret. We travelled south on the A16 and A28 before leaving the motorways behind and travelling the remaining 50 miles or so to the auberge through the gorgeous Normandy countryside. 

The following pictures show our enjoyable night at L'Escale with John Gibson taking advantage of the great seafood that is always on offer. On the trip were: Dennis & Pauline Power, John & Sue Gibson, Tony & Sue Hulland, Les & Pearl Pratt, Nigel & Mary Plunket, Terry & Larraine Hockley-Moore, John & Linda Deed, Peter & Leigh Heales, Alan & Michele Grimbly, Dave Turner and Roy & Jennifer Biddle

Three pictures show some of the cars in the L'Escale car park prior to leaving on Thursday the 6th. I can't recall how many times our cars have graced this car park over the years, but the hotel owners seem to know most of us by sight now.

Our destination the Domaine Saint Paul - Lyons la Foret

Three hours after leaving Calais or cars are lined up in the driveway

We were too early to book in so took the short walk into the village

and had a few relaxing beers and a light meal

Lyons la Foret is a lovely old village

How to pile on the pounds!

A cat literally on the tiles

We did finally find the energy to walk back to the auberge

Madame Lorrain welcomes us with Kia aperitifs

assisted by one of the waitresses

the group relaxes prior to dinner

a procedure that was to be repeated each evening

Pearl is cuddling Duncan - a much travelled bear

Some of us had to stand

Friday morning and the cars set off for Monet's garden

and here we are parked at Giverny

A very famous view

beautiful surroundings initially spoilt by too many people being there

a rest in one of the less popular spots

the "gardner" cleaning the pond and opening some of the lillies

familiar faces on yet another bridge

Monet's attractive house

the view from one of his bedroom windows

Tony and Sue admiring the garden from another

From Giverny we went to Le Roche Guyon to view the castle originally hewn out of the limestone rock and apart from the keep at the top it looked just like a limestone cliff from the distance.

The more modern Chateau facade was added in later more peaceful times. A hundred metre high tunnel was hewn out of the rock to link the bottom of the castle to the keep at the top. You can scale it if you have the energy.

 

Saturday and we are preparing to go to Les Andelys to see the town nestling on the banks of the Seine beneath Chateau Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart's once  magnificent castle

 

On the way we zig-zagged up the steep cliffs bordering the Seine to the Cote des 2 Amants viewpoint and what marvellous views they are. The tiny parking space just held the 11 cars. I was glad John & Linda came in the Kallista and not the Deville!

Les Andelys promenade which should have been empty - apart from us! Apparently I had chosen the one day in the year when the biggest street market in France occurs in Les Andelys. The whole centre of the town was closed to traffic and MY planned parking place was full. Fortunately the cars worked their magic and one of the officials opened up a fenced off area for us and we enjoyed a privileged position  

 Below is the view of Petite Andelys from the car park up by the castle which we finally managed to get to after ignoring barriers put up on the approach road to the castle

 

The obligatory group photograph. There are two so that I could prove that I was there as well. But where is Pauline? How did she escape?

The closure of the town meant that we could not use our planned route home. A hasty look at the map gave us an alternative, but the congestion caused us to soon get separated and we ended up in two groups each travelling a different way back. Nigel's SATNAV leading the second group safely back to the auberge, but missing the visit to the Abbey Mortemer.

Cafe adjacent to the Abbey Mortemer

Just a few of us

and a bride at her wedding reception

the others were having a hard time back at the auberge

We made sure they didn't miss out and took them to the Abbey on Sunday morning - after discovering that Chateau Vascoeuil our planned visit was closed.

Sunday afternoon and we took a short scenic drive (they all are) to Musee de la Ferme de Rome and parked up initially under the trees. We soon moved them when someone realised that they were conker trees. Kallista bonnets dent easily!

What a wonderful setting to have crepes and cider

Some of us couldn't resist seconds of both

Our last night and last evening meal together

All thought it a great trip and have already booked their place on next years French Trip

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