Less than an hour from Paris, the Vexin Normand is full of pretty villages, beautiful hikes, magnificent castles and even good restaurants. An ideal destination for a weekend getaway. A breath of fresh air and guaranteed disconnection!
1. Follow in the footsteps of the impressionists
Claude Monet settled there in 1893 and stayed there for more than forty years. Since then, Giverny has become a must for a visit to Vexin Normand. A timeless place, symbol of Impressionism, where you can hurry to understand what so inspired the famous painter. Stroll through the magnificent gardens, which are adorned with colorful flowers every season, stop to contemplate the famous water lily pond, visit the painter’s house, and the Impressionists’ museum.
In the village, the route “In the footsteps of Monet” allows you to travel through time in the footsteps of the impressionists.
For a gourmet and gastronomic stopover, stop for lunch at the Feather garden. For two years, David Gallienne, winner of Top Chef, has been offering his culinary creations in the elegant art-deco hotel-restaurant (One Michelin star).
2. Take a breath of fresh air and reconnect with nature
Le Vexin Normand is a green lung, home to magnificent forests and hiking trails. Ideal for reconnecting with nature, or even trying out sylvotherapy. The village of Lyons La Forêt is home to the largest beech forest in Europe.
The Eure also has many cycle routes which will delight cyclists. You can even come from Paris in the Vexin by bike via Avenue Verte, the famous cycle route that links the capital to London!
Hikers will find their happiness on many trails. One of them, very bucolic, the Reine Blanche, allows you to make a 22-kilometer course through the countryside, crossing pretty villages and following the course of the La Lévrière river. Legend has it that the Queen Blanche d’Evreux, wife of Philippe de Valois, liked to walk on this path which bears his name.
To sleep, stop in the elegant guest rooms La Lévrière, in the charming village of Saint Denis le Ferment. The garden opens directly onto the Chemin de la Reine Blanche. The rooms, located in typical Norman outbuildings, are spacious and cozy, in the heart of a magnificent forest garden of one and a half hectares, with horses, chickens, wild ducks… Ideal for resting in lush greenery , by the river (in which the bravest can swim in summer!). Gourmet, local and organic breakfasts. The hosts, passionate about nature and permaculture, also offer a meal plan from the garden based on organic vegetables from the kitchen garden. More informations : normandyrooms.com 02 32 27 04 78
3. Travel back in time by visiting the Norman castles
The Vexin Normand is also the land of many castles. For lovers of the medieval period, do not miss the Gisors castle where you will hear the legend of the Templar treasure!
A stop is also essential at the castle of Vascoeuil and its sumptuous gardens. The Château is a unique place of art and history. For more than 50 years, internationally renowned artists have been exhibited on three floors of the castle and in its remarkable 17th century dovecote.
For a breathtaking view of the Seine, you will have to go to the top of the steps of Château Gaillard, the fortress built by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century, nestled on the hill of Andelys. This is one of the most beautiful panoramas over the Seine, which flows quietly, majestically. At sunset, the place is magical.
4. Stroll through the charming Norman villages
Many villages of character, authentic, with indisputable charm, populate the Vexin Normand.
Among them, Lyons la Forêt, ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, delightful with its half-timbered houses and its large hall welcoming the market. The composer Maurice Ravel and the writers Louis Aragon or even André Breton had made it their place of vacation.
Take a seat on the square on the terrace, or in a tea room, to quietly appreciate the village atmosphere. For food lovers, book a table at The royal unicorn, in the heart of the city center, one star in the Michelin guide.
5. Discover the Eure in the water or in the air
The Eure is full of magnificent, breathtaking landscapes. An original way to discover them? In the water or in the air!
The Epte valley lends itself to very pleasant canoeing and kayaking trips. Paddle for two or as a family and discover the countryside along the water and the diversity of the flora and fauna of Vexin Normand. Fun and ideal on hot days! More informations : AmbiancEvasion.com / 06 16 67 60 59
Another way to discover the Eure differently: gain height, take to the skies and fly over the Vexin in a hot air balloon! More informations : airshow.fr