3 Things To Do In The Port Of…Vernon
A Seine River cruise from Le Havre to Paris or a round-trip from France’s capital, gives you the chance to see some of the charming towns in the rural areas of Normandy and Ile de France. One example is peaceful Vernon, a pretty place filled with timber-framed houses and the remains of historic chateaux.
For many people, this is just a departure point from which to travel to Giverny to see Monet’s famous gardens. And, whilst the Impressionist’s house is an interesting excursion to look out for, there is plenty more to see and do in Vernon itself.
When you arrive in Vernon, the ship will dock right in the centre of town, meaning you don’t have far to go if you want to explore on foot. The best place to go first is the quaint Maison du Temps Jadis, the oldest house on these streets, dating back to the 14th century. Its timber-framed façade and four storeys are hard to miss, but it stands on Rue Carnot next to the Collégiale Notre-Dame church. Originally a popular inn, it’snow used as the tourist office where you can pick up a map of Vernon’s best sights.
Although there are some other quirky timber-framed buildings to hunt down in and around the main square, the town’s most photographed landmark can be found on the opposite bank of the Seine. The Old Mill (Le Vieux-Moulin)straddles a crumbling, medieval bridge and has been painted by many artists over the years – including Monet. Sadly, because of its state of disrepair, you can’t go inside, but it’s still a beautiful thing to admire from afar.
Once you’ve captured the perfect image of the Old Mill, it’s only a short walk to another of Vernon’s most striking buildings. The Châteaudes Tourelles stands proud, showcasing its four 20-metre-high towers topped with conical roofs. It was built as a keep to protect the bridge on which the Old Mill stands and has remained largely unchanged for more than 800 years.
Back in the main part of the town, another tower stretches up towards the sky. The Tour des Archives was built by Henry Beauclerc in 1123 as part of a much larger castle. Now used to store the town’s archives, it resembles the famous Joan of Arc Tower in nearby Rouen and is still connected to a remaining part of the defensive wall that once enclosed Vernon.
If you’re interested in Impressionist art, Monet’s House and Gardens may be your first choice of activity in the area. However, if you would rather see a broader selection of work from this artistic movement, the Vernon Museum (also known as the Alphonse-Georges-Poulain Museum) is also a great choice.
The main exhibition focuses on painters who studied under the tutelage of Monet or who were drawn to the area by his presence, whilst also including a few fascinating works by the man himself. In addition, there’s a big focus on animal art, which is what the museum originally displayed when it first opened.
If you would like to book a Seine River cruise that stops in Vernon, or you would like more information on the options available, call the GoRiverCruise team on 0800 954 0064. You can also contact us via the website for a quote or to join our mailing list.