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A week in France

On our arrival we were informed that on Sunday there was a market on in the local town La Ferriere-sur-Risle, we asked the gite owner if we could walk there, he looked a little surprised as we thought it was only a 5 minute walk down the road…

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La Ferriere-sur-Risle

2km later we arrived at the market. After visiting France several times we know how amazing these markets can be, armed with my list I was ready to purchase some delicious food, I must say I was a little disappointed it had a fruit & veg stall, a fish and butchers stall and a van selling beds and mattresses (very random), I did manage to purchase a lettuce, some fish from the market and a baguette from the local boulangerie.

Monday

The following day we headed in Bernay to have a look around the shops, but as it was Easter Monday everything was closed. We found a lovely cafe (Cafe de la Gare, for facebook page click here) with free wifi so that I could blog, I wanted to share my experiences plus we needed to plan our trip to Paris and have some lunch.. It turned into a lovely afternoon of drinking coffee, wine and eating a delicious lunch…

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Lunch at Cafe de la Gare (Bernay)

I do love a lazy bank holiday Monday. we made all the necessary plans even though they were a little cloudy after some verres de vin rouge…

Tuesday

On Tuesday we decided to try a different market in the lovely town of L’Aigle, oh and what a difference it makes having it in a larger town, it seemed to sell everything!!

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L’Aigle market

It was quite an interesting set up as it is split over 2 separate areas.. We wondered around the first part of the market and brought everything we needed for that day, then realised it continued in another area in the main square.

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L’Aigle market

It was so nice meandering around looking at the stalls with their good selection of products, it’s surprising what they sell (we even saw the man with a van selling his beds and mattresses again!!).

Once we finished our shopping we spotted a beautiful cafe and stopped for a coffee, I do love the way the French stop everything for a coffee and a quick chat.

We had a walk around the rest of the town and took a few pictures, before driving onto the next town Conches-en-Ouche.

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L’Aigle

The drive into Conches was stunning with the cherry blossom lining the streets a beautiful sight at this time of year.

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Conches-en-Ouche

We had no problems finding any parking, it was plentiful and free, something that we have noticed in most French towns!! We slowly strolled along the streets passing some old ruins and a cathedral, the architecture of the building completely fascinates me with the gorgeous intricate details..

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Conches-en-Ouche
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Conches-en-Ouche

By this time we were beginning to feel hungry and were on the search for a lovely place to eat, my motto whilst away is always try and squeeze into the busy bar, restaurant or cafe, if the French are eating there then it must be good. We stumbled across a great restaurant and luckily had the last available table for 2, it was mainly selling pizzas but also sold pasta and salads, the menu had a good selection, there were only a few things that I couldn’t understand from reading this extensive French menu. We both had a pizza, it was delicious..

Once our stomachs were full we headed back up the other side of Conches, it was really quiet and very picturesque with lovely trees lining the road again and a water fountain near a park. This was a magnificent day an exploration and sampling new foods from both the market and after having an egg on my pizza in the restaurant..

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Conches-en-Ouche
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Conches-en-Ouche

Wednesday

Today we headed to Paris on the train from Evreux, the journey only took an hour and took us right into the city at Gare Saint Lazare, we had a slight itinerary of what we wanted to do, but best laid plans always change.. We wanted to seek out the Moulin Rouge, I have watched this movie countless times and it is one of my favourites!!

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Moulin Rouge

After spotting the Moulin Rouge with its big windmill it transported me back to the movie, I expect it looks even more stunning at night time, when it’s illuminated. We walked along the red light district, a real eye opener but very interesting, it felt quite safe during the day, not sure how I would feel at night time…. Then we headed down to the Bateaux Mouches where we hopped on a river cruise….

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Bateaux Mouches

It was amazing seeing everything from the water, escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. This is the perfect way to see the iconic buildings that entrance us and bring us to Paris. We got a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Grand Palais to name but a few plus many other beautiful buildings steeped in history.

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Le Louvre
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Le Louvre
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Notre Dame Cathedral
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Notre Dame Cathedral
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Conciergerie
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Conciergerie
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Eiffel Tower

This tour took just over an hour, it was lovely and relaxing cruising the down the river spotting the famous sights, some dating back as far as 1611, great for taking pictures and getting an over all bearing of were they are situated. By this time we had worked up quite an appetite and headed off in search of somewhere to eat, we found a great little cafe near……. I couldn’t leave France without trying their traditional French onion soup, to say it was delicious is an understatement, amazing food as always.

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Cafe Rivoli Park

Whilst in this restaurant we were intrigued by 2 black top of the range Mercedes Benz car parked outside with private chauffeurs (or what looked like body guards). We spoke to the waiter about this and he said that we were in a VIP area of Paris, surrounded by famous people. I could have sat there all day just watching the busy life of the streets outside, I do find this fascinating.

An hour later, refuelled, refreshed and ready to go, we navigated our way around the Metro, it’s quite confusing if you don’t have a map of the underground to hand. We just about manage to find our way to Cite, where we headed off to explore the Conciergerie and the Notre Dame Cathedral, unfortunately the heavens opened and we were getting soaking wet, so chose not to visit Notre Dame as the queue was incredibly long. Feeling cultured and exhausted we find another cafe had a large glass of vin rouge before navigating our way back though the Metro to catch our train back home. A great memorable day with lots of culture and interesting facts of this big city, next time I will come more prepared with a map of Paris and the Metro to hand, it’s been slightly tricky at times trying to rely on our phones.…

Thursday

On Thursday we thought we would explore Bernay again, it’s quite a large town with 2 supermarkets, children’s clothes and toy shops, a butchers, a bolanger, a few tabaco stores and lots of bars and restaurants, pizza again being particularly popular. It’s a lovely area to have a spot of lunch and once again we found ourselves eating in a popular restaurant, listening to the French conversation and their friendly greeting to one another. We have always had very warm welcome in every place that we have visited. At lunchtime we enjoyed a great salad with meat, cheese and more bread (the French certainly love their bread). After lunch we found a little cafe with free wifi which gave my the opportunity to blog. Unfortunately the gite doesn’t have wifi, which I found a little frustrating at times but after chatting to Mr P about this, he explained that we wouldn’t go out quite so much and experience the bars and cafés if we had it at the gite. I do love be out and about, soaking up the atmosphere, trying to improve my French and understand the conversation throughout the bar.

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Bernay

Friday

Our last day, we thought it would be better to stay around the gite and explore the countryside and woodlands in its surrounding area. We walked for about 2 hours in search of the wild boar that has been written about in the visitors book (no appearance made today).

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On our return we fed the goats our left over food scraps before finishing our holiday with a glass of wine on the terrace, a lovely end to a relaxing week.

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I feel like we have sampled a huge about of the French life, which we really love so it’s au revoir until next time…

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