Today, I’m taking you on a little tour of Upper Normandy. There will be no visit of landing beaches, bunkers etc. because we visited all that on another weekend a few years ago. JB would have liked to go back there but it’s still a 2 hour drive from our town.
Part 1: Travel Diary
Rouen is only an hour’s drive from us. This is the 2nd time I visit Rouen. The 1st time was to enjoy the Armada, in 2013 (time flies!) so we didn’t have much time to visit its city center. It’s only a postponed part.
The first stop is a cat restaurant: Cosy Lunch. Cafés/restaurants with cats abound in Rouen. Despite Rosalie’s temporary presence next to us lately, there are never too many cats for me 🙂 The particularity of this restaurant is that the cats who are there, belong to an association. They are all for adoption, and they were chosen by the restaurant for their sociability – while waiting for adopters. What surprises us is that the cats aren’t interested in what’s on our plates; and it doesn’t smell anything. We also have no incentive to buy yoghurt/paté to feed them (contrary to what happens in Asia), it’s like a normal restaurant, with cats sleeping here and there.
I overheard a conversation between the owner and a client. She said that people think it’s a pet store. Some people come with a basket, thinking they can bring this or that cat home. While, as you may have known, you have to contact the association and once you match your profile with the cat’s profile (e.g. a cat that doesn’t like other cats can’t be placed in a family with cats), you can adopt it, by making an appointment to come and pick it up 😀
The cathedral of Rouen
Rouen is also known for its beautiful cathedral, more beautiful outside than inside, it must be said.
Currently, there is some work being done but it does not detract from the beauty of the cathedral.
The inside is smaller than the outside suggests. It is quite possible to go up to the top and visit the bells but we preferred not to. This cathedral was badly damaged during World War II, and it took them more than 30 years to restore and reopen it.
The Big Clock
Here is an astronomical clock reminiscent of the one in Prague. You can also pay 7€ to go up to the top and see the mechanism behind this clock.
The stores in the neighborhood are really beautiful. Fortunately they are closed today otherwise it would have been too tempting for me.
We stroll through the small streets of the historic center and come face to face with this beautiful church: Saint-Maclou. The houses in the surroundings are also very beautiful.
We also went to the only place that sells bubble tea in Rouen: Bublicious. It was a crazy world! The decoration is very nice but unfortunately the bubble teas were undrinkable.
Etretat is located 1 hour from us and 2 hours from Rouen. This is only the 2nd time I come here. The 1st time was in 2012. We spent only 5 minutes there, because of the rain and the wind. So to get revenge, this time we will stay 1h30!
The parking lots on the beach are always crowded, even during the week, but there is a large paying parking lot near the restaurant l’Huitrière.
The beach is beautiful, but there are only pebbles (it must hurt your back if you lie there for hours no?). The water is particularly calm today. The blue of the ocean, the blue of the sky mix – we feel really, really good.
There is a small (closed) church at the top of the cliffs, it takes us 10 minutes to climb to the top. This mini walk allows us to test our clothes bought especially for Iceland. In spite of the physical effort, our clothes evacuate heat well. Top!
Unfortunately we can’t see the turquoise color of the water on the picture, but in reality, it’s breathtaking!
We see in the distance, the small town of Etretat, its too pretty Norman houses, and the cliff <3 a postcard landscape !
Today, the city is very very quiet because we are in the week and the season is just starting. And so much the better because the main street seems to be very commercial, with many restaurants for tourists and souvenir stores.
The city isn’thing exceptional, but it is the “big” city closest to our Airbnb, it is where we find our dentist, where we can shop at Decathlon for our trip to Iceland etc.
Our first days in Haute-Normandie were marked by a storm sweeping all over France, with violent winds up to 45km/h in our town, resulting in a shutdown of the Internet for several days.
We had to go in express mode to the nearest coworking area: Dieppe. This coworking space – EcoSpace – which is half finished, helped us out anyway by welcoming us during these few days. As it is for the moment barely open to the public, we even had a private office instead of the Open Space. Great luxury! The proof that we can be digital nomad while enjoying the beautiful life in France.
Veules les Roses
Veules-les-Roses is a very nice seaside resort, 10 minutes drive from us. That’s a little bit the reason why we are in the area, because we visited this city 7 years ago and kept a great memory.
Not necessarily from the city, but from its restaurant Les Galets, with a Michelin logo in front. We opted for a menu discovered at 80€, and enjoyed it all ! We came back a few days later, they have a menu at 30€ for lunch during the week.
The town is also very beautiful, and Veules-les-Roses is known for its oysters, small but tasty, which can be tasted in restaurants in the area. There is also the smallest river in France, which then flows into the beach.
We could have travelled even more, discovered more in the area but JB has two weekend trips, out of the 4, and we also have our cat Rosalie who entertains us and purr in our ears, so we visited very little in the end.
Rosalie’s presence reminds me of the simple joys of having a pet. Every day, she waits for me to wake up, quietly, on the bed. At the slightest sign of waking up, she guides me to the kitchen – where I give her some pâtée – and to the door – which I open to let her out into the garden. Every morning I wake up in a good mood and start the day with something positive. I would have to continue this good habit, even without Rosalie – because she has togo back to Paris to my sister‘s place
This is the end of our stay in Haute-Normandie. We will come back to France next year for new vacations with Rosalie. Stay tuned!
Part 2: Practical Tips
For our stay in Haute-Normandie, we have :