Monday 20 May
I’d spotted an aire, what the French call a motorhome stop, outside Le Havre that sounded a bit too good to be true. Prepared for disappointment, I headed for it anyway, but it fulfilled its promise.
Le Havre is an hour cycle away, and has two aires, but this sounded far nicer.
At the entry to the site there was a board listing eight local points of interest. I put Le Havre on the back burner, even though it looks far more interesting than I first imagined, got on my bike and stayed local, doing a circuit of the lanes and villages to the east of the site.
One point of interest was a Château Gromesnil, but as I typed it into google maps it offered Gommerville château about 20 minutes away and my goldfish brain thought that was it. Off I tootled.
The countryside is beautiful and the villages well kept and historic, so a lovely ride brought me to the château in Gommerville.
It’s called Château du Filières. It didn’t quite have the gardens I expected but was still lovely.
Off to the next place – the church is St Jean d’Abbetot. The blurb on the board described the “Romanesque church of la Cerlangue”. I put La Cerlangue in maps and I found the church;
of Saint Leonard – blessed father!
Turns out the church is not in the town but a few kilometres away in another village.
It was closed so I missed the feted murals but, like good sex, it’s about the journey not the destination! I saw another Chateau,
private property, and another church,
this with war graves.
The lesson is, you can’t be casual with your chateaux and churches in France; they’ve got a few. And the Château Gromesnil? 500m away. I walked there on my return.
It had some fun artworks in the gardens,
including this clever bike rack,
but is dominated by a 200 year old sequoia.
Does that qualify as touring heaven? All very nice, but no, and anyone not inclined to take a motorhome to France can stop reading now.
As well all the usual services, the aire has free electricity! Great at anytime, but wonderful for charging the bike. The 13 pitches are hard standing, mine is dead level, separated by little hedges.
Nearby, there is a large supermarket with cheap diesel and, as if that wasn’t enough, washing machines and a tumble dryer IN THE CAR PARK!
I don’t know how common this is, but I’m loving touring in France.