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Eure (department number 27) is located in the region of Haute-Normandie and has an estimated population of 541,054 (approximate in 1999).The department is a largely wooded plateau cut by the valleys of the Seine River and its tributaries.
Ancient ramparts and gothic architecture combine with lush green countryside, orchards and flowing water to make this department something quite special. Visit this delightful area and see for yourself what inspired the impressionists. Plenty of things to see and do for either a long holiday or short break.
The department enjoys a similar climate to the UK but its location means it is slightly milder year round. As with England, summers are warm with temperatures in the mid 20C and in the height of the season, temperatures can reach into the 30’s.
What to see in Eure
The main tourist attraction is Giverny (4 km from Vernon) where Claude Monet's beautiful house and garden can be seen, in addition to other places of interest. Richard the Lionheart’s ruined Château Gaillard perches above Les Andelys with superb views across the Seine. Evreux’s cathedral is a gothic masterpiece with brilliant stained glass. Charming Pont Audemer is on the edge of the huge Brotonne Forest.
Evreux is the capital town of the department and is an important commercial and market center. It is one of the oldest towns in France, with many splendid sites. Evreux has a bishop and boasts a cathedral which is one of the largest and finest in France.
On the Iton river just west of the Eure, it is surrounded by postwar architecture, but offers three fabulous attractions: an excellent museum with exceptional Gallo-roman finds; a Cathedral of Notre-Dame (11th-18th C.), which managed to miss the war bombs and today still displays its flamboyant Gothic features and stained glass; and the Abbey of St Taurin (11th-15th C.) that contains the thirteenth century shrine of Saint Taurin, a masterpiece of French goldsmith's work.
Evreux has had its fair share of historical bad luck. The town was flattened by the Vandals in the 5th century; it was pillaged by Normans in 892; taken and burned by Henry I of England in 1119 and in 1194 it was captured by Philip Augustus of France. During the 15th century, control of the town alternated between the English and French.
Evreux was badly damaged during the air raids of 1940 (when the town burned for an entire week) and also in 1944.
Another interesting fact, Jimi Hendrix kicked off his first tour with the Experience in the town of Evreux, 13 October 1966 - an event commemorated by a plaque in the town!
Bernay, once a religious centre is today a busy market town. It is located south of Pont Audemer. The town is a major farming centre with surrounding fields full of cows. There is a small museum in the centre with a collection of paintings, furniture and ceramics.
Le Bec-Hellouin is a typical Norman style village with half timbered houses set among the orchards. Probably its most major attraction is its abbey, which was founded in 1034. The abbey was once one of the most important religious sites in northern Europe.
A lovely market town, nicknamed “Norman Venice”, Pont Audemer is situated to the west of Evreux. It has a town centre worth exploring on foot with a popular market held on Mondays.
Verneuil sur Avre
This delightful ancient town is located in the south west corner of the Eure department. Once heavily fortified, the ramparts now make an enjoyable walk and there are some picturesque medieval houses around the towns centre.
The town of Vernon lies on the banks of the Seine and is an ideal base from which to explore both Les Andelys and Giverny. A popular destination, you will often find hotels fully booked and restaurants very busy.
Nonancourt’s origins go back to the Roman invasion, but the town really came into its own when Henry I of England established a fortress here in the 12th century as a defence against the French to the south. The town was rebuilt in the 16th century after it was badly destroyed during the Hundred Years’ War. Although the fortress no longer exists, the little town still offers plenty of architecture from the late middle ages as well as very pretty walks along by the river Avre.
Normandy was the birthplace of Impressionism and in Monet’s garden at Giverny it is easy to see why he wanted to capture the beauty on canvas. The garden is open from the spring to the mid-autumn and queues can get very long, but many agree it is worth the wait.
The picturesque town of Conches-en-ouche is located near the River Rouloir. There are plenty of sites to see including many beautiful medieval houses, the church of Ste-Foy whose windows are made of superb Renaissance stained glass and a ruined twelfth-century castle. In addition to everything ancient, Conches also boasts many modern sculptures that are placed around the town. The surrounding countryside is made up of lush pastures, orchards, rivers and forests, which are perfect for afternoon strolls and picnics.
The hill-top Château Gaillard at Les Andelys conjures up images of days of old, where Richard the Lion heart held court (his heart is entombed in Rouen cathedral). The Château dominates any approach by land or along the Seine and is said to have been captured by brave souls coming through the sewers. It is advisable to double check opening hours with the local tourist office before making the climb.
How to get there
Holiday accommodation in Eure is easily accessible.
Skysouth are the only direct airline and they fly six times a week direct from Shoreham (ESH) to Caen (CFR). Prices start at around £70 for a single trip.
Alternatively, the nearest international airport is in Paris
Getting to Normandy by car is easy as it is just a quick hop across the channel to either Le Hâvre or Dieppe, both conveniently located close to Eure.
A couple of auto routes go to the nearby city of Rouen and from there take the N154 to Evreux.
Travel by Eurostar from the UK to Calais and then take the TGV to Le Havre or Rouen.
The train station Évreux-Embranchement is on the railway line from Gare Saint-Lazare to Cherbourg. It is served by regular Intercity and regional rail services to both Paris and Basse-Normandie.