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    CLAIREINPARIS   60,475
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints

A castle for Christmas

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Hello dear Sparkfriends!

One month without a hike! :( Honestly, the weather hasn’t been wonderful lately, and I have missed my hikes! Finally today, the weather forecast was good. So I decided to go to Normandy, a little town by the Seine called Les Andelys.

I parked outside St Jacques’ Hospital.

There are archives showing that there was an hospital there already in 1225. The hospital as we see it today was built around 1785-1790.

I followed the Grand-Rang river...

Some houses were built across the river and so each one had their own little bridge! How cool is that? :)

I followed little streets like the very cute ‘rue de l’horloge’ and its unusual belfry at the top which makes like an archway...

I saw the church from above (Notre-Dame Church, built in 1225)...

Then I walked up and up through the countryside for a while...

Before walking down again and following the Gambon river... The sound was so peaceful!

But then it was time to walk up again!

I could see where I was on the hill opposite one hour ago...

and of course I had to stop to look at wild clematis, you know how much I love them!

After the climb came the reward: Château-Gaillard...

... a medieval castle built in 1197-1198 by Richard the Lionheart, king of England, at a time when Normandy was English. My picture really doesn’t do it justice! There was a sign that showed how the castle used to look like:

If you want more information (in English) on the castle, you can find it here:

What was for me the highlight of my hike was actually the view from the castle: on the Seine and the town below. You can even see the hospital where I had parked!

And what a fantastic coincidence that there happened to be goats and sheep just as I was there!... How Christmassy!

"There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks at night." (But I have to admit I didn't see any shepherd!)

Each time I see goats nowadays, I think about BAKER1009, who used to have a little goat as a child! Hi Beth! :)

A few minutes later, they were further below and I couldn’t have had them in the picture:

After walking down the steeeep path, I was back in Les Andelys. Some of the streets’ signs were old-fashioned. This one said: ‘Grace of God Lane.’ Nice for a Christmas hike! :)

On the Seine...

... the seagulls were all stuck together like seagulls kebabs!

A family of swans was enjoying a little swimm!

There was a view on the castle...

... on the 18th century hospital...

... and on the white cliffs.

And that’s it for my hike today! I hope you enjoyed it. :)
Joyeux Noël! Merry Christmas, dear Sparkfriends!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MARKATSPARK 7/25/2015 7:32AM


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JERZGURL_NAN 1/18/2013 7:17PM

    one of my favorites - so beautiful!

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JODYF123 1/11/2013 7:03AM

    That is just a gorgeous way to hike. If I had that here I might hike more often. Thank you. emoticon emoticon

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LISA_FRAME 1/10/2013 8:59PM


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EFFRAYECHILDE 1/7/2013 12:33PM

    What a lovely walk :)

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GOANNA2 1/6/2013 1:44AM

    Thanks Claire for taking me on a lovely walk. Beauty is
all around us and you make us see it. Love the photos too!
So glad this was a featured blog. emoticon emoticon

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MSGRANNYMAE 1/5/2013 3:50PM


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DOODIE59 1/5/2013 11:28AM

    Hi Claire
I got distracted when I started to comment on this blog the other day. My husband came by and said "Oh! That must be ClaireofFrance -- her photos are so distinctive!" You don't know how much of an honour it is that he remembers even part of your name -- Not his forte:)

All this to say that this is yet another lovely and informative travelogue. We will get back there some day:)

Enjoy your hike today -- it sounds like you need a break from work. Breathe deep!
Deirdre emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHEEKY1000 1/4/2013 9:59PM

    Hello my friend! Such delightful pictures! Thank you so much for the tidbit of Richard the Lionheart. Love the Plantagenet kings. Okay, love the Tudors later as well. Just love love love history.

I hope you are having a great beginning to the new year.

Thank you for the present of your pictures.


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    I just love looking at your pictures! So beautiful!


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TJCADDO 1/4/2013 5:29PM

    Your photo-journals are amazing. We miss out when you miss out on your hikes.

Glad to see you share another beautiful peace-filled place with us.

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FARFROMASAINT 1/3/2013 11:00PM


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HAKAPES 1/3/2013 2:39AM

    Wow, you are a featured on the site!
And I just love the pictures!

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SERASARA 1/2/2013 8:24PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANSASROSE67 1/2/2013 2:45PM

    Just saw this blog and wanted to say that's it's one of your best beautiful!!! I'm glad it was a featured blog.

Merry Christmas to you!

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MARCYNA 1/2/2013 11:28AM

    How lovely!!!

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NOSUGARADDED87 1/2/2013 2:01AM

    What a lovely hike! The weather hasn't been that great here, either, but I'm hoping for a walk at some point today.

I wish you a very happy new year, Claire!

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PEGGIE57 1/2/2013 12:26AM

    I enjoyed your pics. Thanks.

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MRSSARGE140 1/1/2013 2:47PM

    Beautiful pictures as always! Thank you for brightening up this dreary day here in Alabama! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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JUSTDOINGIT101 1/1/2013 2:03PM

    Thank you for a lovely hike today with you. emoticon

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CM_GARDNER78 1/1/2013 2:33AM

    Oh my GOSH!!! How fantastic!! Thank you as always for sharing what you saw on your hike!! How absolutely beautiful! I love being able to travel through your pictures! Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and have a Happy, Healthy 2013!! :-)


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SGMB23 12/31/2012 10:58AM

  This is my first comment ever on SparkPeople. Thanks for sharing this blog. I enjoy being able to "travel" with a simple click of the mouse. Your post makes me want to travel!

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STRINGS58 12/31/2012 8:24AM

    Lovely, lovely blog! I have briefly been to a part of Normandy and fell in love quickly. This is such an intimate view. Thanks for taking us on the hike with you! Happy New Year!

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LJCANNON 12/30/2012 3:58PM

    emoticon Thank You for helping me be an "Armchair Tourist". Your Hike was Absolutely Beautiful!!!

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 12/30/2012 3:49PM

    This may be as close to France as I ever get. Thanks for sharing your pictures of this beautiful country!

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DESERTFLOWERG 12/30/2012 1:51PM

    I am familiar with Château-Gaillard and Les Andelys as they are so far from my in-laws. The last time I tried taking landscape photos there, they were grey & grey because of the thickness of the fog! You do a much better job.

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PENOWOK 12/30/2012 8:59AM

    Joyeaux Noel!! What a beautiful and historic walk!! Thank you for sharing!

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CRYSALLIS1 12/29/2012 8:40PM

    Wonderful!!!! In the part of the US I'm in it seems they just tear everything down. Thank you for sharing your hikes with us. Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

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KANOE10 12/29/2012 10:42AM

    Lovely pictures. emoticon

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CHRISTINECAN 12/29/2012 8:25AM

    Beautiful and thank you for this.

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BESSHAILE 12/29/2012 8:21AM

    OMG thank you for this utterly fabulous tour! emoticon

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MILLIE5522 12/28/2012 4:16PM

    That was a lovely Xmas present Claire! Thank you so much!

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GRACEISENUF 12/28/2012 2:26AM

    Breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL!

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MCELLO58 12/27/2012 7:02PM

    Loved your pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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LINDAK25 12/27/2012 6:25PM

    What a beautiful place. The hospital, church, castle and cliffs are spectacular. I can see ice on the side of the path in one of your pictures. Do you think the seagulls are trying to stay warm? I'm surprised the goats didn't come and ask for pets. They always seem to want more attention. I love the swans. We often drive by a place that has black swans, although I haven't seen the black swans recently.

I love your pictures. That one picture is such a beautiful study of grey. It looks like a cold grey day, but a fantastic walk with all that incredible scenery!

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IAMAGEMLOVER 12/27/2012 12:30PM

    What a great hike. I loved the pictures.

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GINIEMIE 12/26/2012 3:04PM

    I loved your hiking tour, and the beautiful picture looking down on Les Andelys. Like Beth, I loved seeing the goats on the hillside. Your hike was magnificent. Joyeux Noël.
emoticon emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 12/26/2012 2:17PM

    What a beautiful way to spend Christmas Eve! I so enjoyed going along with you on your hike. I managed to squeeze in a 2 hour hike on Christmas Eve. It was so nice and relaxing, but not near as beautiful as your area.

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JUSGETTENBY42 12/26/2012 2:03PM


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LISALGB 12/26/2012 2:02PM

    Oh, Claire, I giggled out loud when I read "seagulls kebabs." That is just so funny.
Yet, another fantastic place to visit. As much as I love our US history, I admit, that the true history is in Europe.
Oh, to have castles and places that gorgeous dating back to the 10th century, goodness gracious!!
I always love to read your fascinating blogs and see your wonderful pictures. Thank you, my friend, for taking me to another lovely place.
I hope your Christmas was joyful and this new year will bring you much happiness, peace and success. I am looking forward to sharing it all with you.
Many, many blessings!!

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ILOVEMALI 12/26/2012 1:40PM

    Thanks for the Christmas Present that you gave to us!

Happy Holidays!

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LIVELYGIRL2 12/26/2012 12:52PM

  Oh thank you very much. When I was in high school I had a humanities class. They showed us some great masterpieces and scenery. I do recall the name of these historical places. That's pretty good, since I went to high school awhile go. Anyhow, it was pleasing for you to be our tour guide.

We don't get to see too many castles here in the United States.One could consider the Hearst Castle.But that was built for different reasons... It is amazing, but doesn't have the same historical significance.

I thought " Grace Lane" was kinda Christmasy. I exspected to hear Christmas Carols burst through the hills : ))


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BAMAJAM 12/26/2012 12:35PM

  Truly felt like I was along on this journey!! Wonderful indeed!!

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TRYINGHARD54 12/26/2012 11:47AM

    thank you for sharing..great pictures

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FAVORITEAUNT84 12/26/2012 11:43AM

    I love love love your pictures!

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MARYJEANSL 12/26/2012 11:23AM

  Such beautiful pictures! You are blessed to live near such a lovely place. Thank you so much for posting them.

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SKEETOR 12/26/2012 10:00AM

    Thank you!! Beautiful pictures!

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JANEMARIE77 12/26/2012 8:53AM

    that was incredibly beautiful thank you

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GAMMY98 12/26/2012 8:25AM

    Thanks for your beautiful blog I love going on walks with you and your pictures are so beautiful. I am here with Baker 1009 and you made her day. We are going for a walk later today but as she says we will not see anything like you see.

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BAKER1009 12/26/2012 8:20AM

    Goats, YES! Thank you Claire! What a beautiful hike! I love all the pictures. The clematis, looks like a feather plant...beautiful!!
I'm telling you, you just couldn't take that kind of hike around here. I love "hiking" with you...THANK YOU!!!


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