Panther Enthusiasts Club UK

Annual French Trip

Return to Lyons La Foret

8th & 13th September 2010

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Friday  10th

Our first excursion out was to the Chateau de Bizy near Vernon on the banks of the Seine A round trip of 65 miles was planned for today, consisting of the cross country drive to Les Andelys, Vernon and Chateau de Bizy, followed by a return to Petite Les Andelys for lunch and then a drive along the banks of the Seine to the Hotel.

In spite of the complication of driving through Vernon, which is quite a big town, we arrived at the Chateau together and booked in for the escorted tour. The tour guide was not very good at English and took the opportunity to tag us on to a private tour that was already being shown around. However, we did not realise it was a private tour and just followed on taking advantage of the commentary being given. It became apparent that this did not go down well with those who had booked on the tour and arrived by coach. I was left in no doubt that we were extremely lucky to benefit from the services of their guide and to "butt out".  I tried to explain that the reason we were "butting in" on their tour was because our guide didn't fancy trying to give us a commentary in English! My explanation fell on deaf ears.

The Chateau itself was attractive enough and at one time when all its water features were working and the place was alive with all the pomp and horse and carriages of the period it must have been magnificent, but I wouldn't recommend a visit in its current state. At 7euros 80 per person it was poor value. Perhaps once it is restored it will be worth another visit.

However, there was one amusing story about its use in the 2nd world war. It was used by the Germans as a communications centre for the Atlantic U Boats. The Germans asked the owner "where is the owner" to which he replied  "I don't know, I'm only the gardener".  He then spent the rest of the war years working in the gardens, not daring to tell them who he really was..

We returned to Les Andelys for lunch, however, we were not as successful at keeping the convoy together and lost a few cars on the way. All but one of us met up again on the road. Tony and George Ansell never did catch up with us but to their credit, they completed the route, albeit a bit behind the rest of us.

In Petite Les Andelys, some of us picnicked on the banks of the Seine and others found cafes to eat in. We met up again at 2pm and then drove along the quiet road that follows the northern bank of the Seine beneath the dramatic limestone cliffs. Just prior to turning inland to Lyons we zig zagged to the top of these limestone cliffs to take in the magnificent views over the Seine valley.

Then it was then a case of driving back the few miles to the hotel, having a relaxing drink or an invigorating swim (or both). Perhaps even having a kip before drinks at 7pm and dinner.

Self explanatory photographs of the day follow.











At least the clock still works even if the water features don't!




















"Butcher" John Gibson seemed to be the one most qualified to remove the stitches from Leigh's minor op. From the number of empty glasses on the table we can't actually say that Leigh bore it without anaesthetic.













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