Les Andelys, France
Two small villages, Le Petit Andely and Le Grand Andely, form this Norman town on the banks of the Seine, where the river bends through chalky white cliffs and the ruins of a medieval castle loom high above. Visiting the town is like taking a walk through France of the past — you’ll see plenty of half-timbered houses, centuries-old churches, and bucolic countryside. Located about 56 miles from Paris, it’s a common stop on many Seine River cruises.
What We Love
Nicolas Poussin Museum: Housed in an 18th century mansion, this museum showcases paintings from its namesake French Baroque style painter, as well as archaeological finds and local Verlys glasswork.
Local Food: You can’t go wrong with any of the pâtisseries here, which proudly showcase their macarons, tarts, and éclairs in the windows. Try the local cider or cheese, too — Normandy is known for them.
Best Known For
Château Gaillard: Even before your ship docks, you’ll see the ruins of this fortress perched high in the cliffs, dominating the skyline as it has for more than 800 years. It was built as a stronghold for Richard the Lionheart of England, but it switched hands between the English and French several times during the Hundred Years’ War.
Collégiale Notre-Dame des Andelys: First an abbey in 511, the cathedral began construction in the 13th century and was added on to for four centuries. As a result, you’ll see several styles of architecture, including Renaissance and Gothic — and beautiful stained glass inside, of course.
Saint Clotilde’s Miraculous Spring: A legend from the 6th century says that this fountain turned water to wine to quench the thirst of its builders. We can’t attest to that, but its architecture and surrounding courtyard are worth a visit in their own right.
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Who It's Best For
History Lovers: Once a stronghold during the Hundred Years’ War, and centuries later an inspiration for Impressionist painters, the small town brings several fascinating eras to life.
Photographers: Old houses and quaint shops beg to be photographed, as does the killer view of the Seine you’ll get in every direction from the top of the cliff at Château Gaillard.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It Rains — a Lot: You’ll often hear locals jokingly refer to the clouded sky as “le soleil Normand” or the “Norman sun.” Make sure to pack an umbrella, especially when visiting in the fall.
Kayla Becker is a New York City-based contributor to ShermansCruise and the assistant editor for the site.