Set at the lowest crossing point of the River Risle, Pont Audemer makes an ideal holiday base. Its charm lies in its waterways, small bridges, courtyards, and medieval houses which lean over the town’s roads, rivers and canals at bizarre angles.
Fish, canoe and kayak here on the River Risle. Audemer’s Friday market is considered to be one of the best in the region and is a great place to buy fish and organic vegetables, bread and cakes.
Evreux, the capital of Eure, has a busy town centre with unusual shops, cafes, good restaurants and a lively Wednesday market. Evreux has a long history and some ruins date back to Celtic times.
The remains of a Roman theatre, palace, baths and aqueduct have been discovered south east of the town. Most striking is the town’s tenth century Gothic cathedral with beautiful fourteenth and fifteenth century stained glass windows which thankfully managed to survive the heavy bombing of WWII.
A fifteenth century belfry was once a fortified tower at the town gates as well as St Taurin’s shrine. Visit the Episcopal Palace, now a museum, and stroll along the ancient ramparts beside the River Iton - a tributary of the Eure.
The town makes an ideal touring centre being easily accessible from the Brittany Ferries ports of Cherbourg and Caen. Evreux is also on the main Cherbourg to Paris line with a regular train service to Paris, ideal for a day trip sightseeing in the capital. Monet’s garden at Giverny is not far away, also the chateaux of Champs de Bataille and Harcourt.
The Animal Farm at Parc de Navarre, Evreux, includes flower gardens and maze as well as animal menagerie and makes a great day out for all the family.
Built originally around its eleventh century Romanesque abbey, the ‘floral’ market town of Bernay, set amidst Eure’s lush pastures, was once an important religious centre.
History is evident everywhere, in the seventeenth century hotel de la Gabelle, Saint Croix and Notre-Dame de la Couture churches, and the wonderful old streets of medieval houses such as those in Gaston Foloppe street where you can browse the antique shops.
Visit Bernay’s Beaux Arts Museum housed in sixteenth century abbey buildings to see paintings, furniture and Rouen ceramics. Guided tours of the town available. Fishing, horse riding and tennis nearby.
Close to the forest of Conches, Conches-en-Ouche stands on a high point above the River Rouloir. The church of Ste-Foy set in a row of medieval houses has magnificent Renaissance stained glass windows and there are great views from the gardens of the Hotel de Ville. Climb to the ruined twelfth century castle and stroll around the town to admire its many modern sculptures.
Medieval Louviers is criss-crossed by many branches (both natural and man-made) of the River Eure from which the department takes its name.
Local flax production and the abundance of flowing water made it ideal as the centre of a textile industry and the wildlife and planting around the waterways makes the town a delight to explore.
The highlight of any visit to Louviers is its beautiful thirteenth century church of Notre Dame decorated in fifteenth century flamboyant style, its profuse decoration typical of the last era of French Gothic. The altarpiece is particularly fine. There is a farmers market on Saturday mornings.
A village popular with tourists on the banks of the River Seine, Pont de l’Arche’s original ninth century wooden bridge was fortified for protection against the ‘Northmen’.
Later, Pont de l’Arche was the scene of conflict between Richard the Lionheart and Philippe Auguste, king of France, and during the Hundred Years War, it was occupied by Henry V of England because of its strategic importance where the Eure joins the River Seine commanding the river trade to Rouen.
Visitors can enjoy the streets of timber-framed houses dating back to the Middle Ages, sixteenth century Gothic church and thirteenth century town walls.
A quiet town on the left bank of the River Seine close to the busy tourist village of Giverny - famous home of the painter Monet - which is only a 4km bus ride away.
Wander Vernon’s streets with timber-framed houses, attractive church, ramparts and old mill. Visit the Alphonse Poulin museum to see impressionist works of art although it is primarily a pre-history museum. Relax on a 2 hour cruise along the river - details from www.rives-seine-croisieres.fr
The grand palace of Chateau de Bizy (built in 1740) housing memorabilia of the Bonaparte family and situated on the edge of town is worth a visit. Once home to King Louis Philippe, Chateau de Bizy is famous for its huge stables said to have been inspired by those at Versailles.
The grounds are dotted with a variety or ornamental water features such as cascading steps and sea horses and the interior is renowned for its Regency wood panelling and Goblin tapestries. Vernon tourist office (00 33) 2 32 51 39 60.