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    CLAIREINPARIS   60,482
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:
CAPECODLIGHT 12/26/2012 8:05AM

    A belated Joyeux Noel to you, Clare. Thank you for your blog. Ironically, I have just been online reserving "Clash of Kings" from the library, which tells of Richard the Lionhearted and Philip II and focuses on this castle. So, it was so nice to see your photos of it. What a spectacular hike! My New Years resolution is to do more hikes. Thanks for the inspiration!

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FARIS71 12/26/2012 7:53AM

    Positively awesome! What a gift to readers.

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NILLAPEPSI 12/26/2012 7:29AM

    Gorgeous!!!! emoticon

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AMANDACOETZER 12/26/2012 6:58AM


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BLUEJEAN99 12/26/2012 1:59AM


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ROCKYCPA 12/26/2012 12:15AM

    Beautiful pics - great walk!

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PCASEY7 12/26/2012 12:00AM

    Great blog!

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JAMER123 12/25/2012 10:57PM

    emoticon I totally enjoyed your history lesson. I have read about places as this but haven't seen them. I thank you!! Merry Christmas to you as well.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JACKIE542 12/25/2012 10:50PM

    It is great that you were able to go on you hike on Christmas Eve what a beautiful gift, Always share such beautiful pictures, and stories along the way.
I really love the look of that wild clematis, I might try and get some for my garden. Congratulations on being featured blog, you always deserve this. Really hope you had a great Christmas emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/25/2012 10:51:30 PM

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JIBBIE49 12/25/2012 9:33PM

    Great to see your blog featuted in the Spark Mail. Merry Christmas. emoticon

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RUBYEAGLE134 12/25/2012 8:50PM

    Traveling to Europe some day is on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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JOANNHUNT 12/25/2012 8:49PM

    emoticon Pictures. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

MERRY CHRISTMAS emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PATRICIAANN46 12/25/2012 8:20PM

  emoticon That was so wonderful!!! emoticon

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NEWTINK 12/25/2012 8:18PM

    Just wonderful ... thank you for sharing your Christmas eve hike with us emoticon

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DIANNEMT 12/25/2012 8:05PM

    Very nice!

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 12/25/2012 8:04PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful hike with us - what beautiful pictures! I loved all of them - hope you've had a very Merry Christmas today!

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ALIDOSHA 12/25/2012 5:24PM

    emoticon emoticon Merry Christmas!

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CLAYARTIST 12/25/2012 5:21PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SANDYLH1 12/25/2012 5:12PM


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SUSIEMT 12/25/2012 5:10PM

    Thank you so much! I would normally say I don't need to go there now but you have piqued my curiosity. Merry Christmas!

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WILDASTER 12/25/2012 4:02PM

    Thank you for the Christmas hike, it was wonderful.
You know we have read a lot of history and it is always so great when I see something in your blog and realize that yes indeed that place is still there and here is proof! We have studied world history and Church history and it's fun to see the progression and do a timeline. The pictures you took are like a window on that time, the beauty of the countryside and the sheep still roaming free.

Merry Christmas!

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NORASPAT 12/25/2012 2:49PM

    Thanks Claire for that wonderful Blog of your Christmas Eve hike. It was so nice to see the countryside still verdant. We are in our grey and white mode noy too much green is showing in Maine right now.
I hope you are having a lovely Christmas Day/ Many thanks!
(((HUGS))) Pat in Maine emoticon emoticon emoticon .

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BONIFIANT 12/25/2012 1:39PM

    What a lovely Christmas gift to be included in your hike and seeing some of the sights with you. I love visiting history. merci beaucoup.

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WALLINMW 12/25/2012 12:57PM

  Merry Christmas!

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NEWMOM20121 12/25/2012 12:18PM

    Thank you for sharing.

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TRUCKERWIFE2 12/25/2012 11:51AM

    Joyeux Noel to you as well. What a wonderful Christmas walk. Thank you for sharing your walk on the Seine. So much better than the pictures you see on the travel shows. I feel like I'm on the walk with you and learn more about the history of France that way. Had no idea they had hospitals in the 1200's!
Hope your day has been wonderful. My older kids were able to be here afterall. The one who had to work only had to work graveyards. Both the older ones are asleep (it's 10 am now) and we'll open presents this afternoon when everyone has had some rest. Merry Christmas from Dubois, Idaho, USA.

Comment edited on: 12/25/2012 11:52:32 AM

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GRAMPIAN 12/25/2012 11:43AM


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INGMARIE 12/25/2012 11:14AM

    That was a beautiful walk ,castles ,rivers ,sheep and birds.
what a little christmas treat for us. emoticon
Thank you and

Merry Christmas to you too. emoticon

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ILIKETOZUMBA 12/25/2012 10:59AM

    Beautiful! Love the sheep. :)

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SIDETRACKSHARON 12/25/2012 10:54AM

    That was a wonderfull hike and blog!!!! First time I have seen this blog . I will be back for sure. I love to travel but it has all been in the USA. Thank You

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LYNNWILK2 12/25/2012 10:37AM

    what an incredible walk for Christmas, full of history and lovely sights, thank you so much for sharing with us, and Merry Christmas.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/25/2012 10:21AM


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CICELY360 12/25/2012 9:44AM

  Nice picture

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KARRENLYNN 12/25/2012 9:42AM

    I always love going hiking with you! I'm going to have to look harder around my area, but the landscape is not nearly as interesting as it is by you!

Have a wonderful holiday and a blessed 2013!


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SHOAPIE 12/25/2012 9:24AM


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DJSHIP46 12/25/2012 8:58AM

    What lovely pictures, thanks so much for sharing your hike!

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SCOUTMOM715 12/25/2012 8:56AM

    WoW, What a fantastic hike!! The pictures are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing.

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BOILHAM 12/25/2012 8:44AM

    How beautiful. Thanks for taking me along on your hike. These pictures are just spectacular.

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HEARTS116 12/25/2012 8:38AM

    Lovely Photos!

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MIMIDOT 12/25/2012 8:28AM

    Enjoyed your great blog. The pictures were beautiful! Thank you for taking me on your journey. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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BECKYANNE1 12/25/2012 7:54AM

    So beautiful! It's so nice to see the pics. of diff. places. Thank you!

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SONDRAJ20 12/25/2012 7:05AM

    Thanks so much for another beautiful trip and best wishes for a lovely Christmas.

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OFGREENGABLES 12/25/2012 6:11AM

    wow that was gorgeous!

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OPALMOON 12/25/2012 5:56AM

    Absolutely gorgeous photos. Thanks so much for sharing them - and a very Merry Christmas to you.

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NCSUE0514 12/25/2012 5:19AM

    How stunningly beautiful - thanks for taking us with you.
Merry Christmas!

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LIZALOT 12/25/2012 5:06AM

    Lovely hike. Thanks for sharing. Happy Christmas Claire!

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STRIVER57 12/25/2012 4:55AM

    lovely hike!

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GOANNA2 12/25/2012 3:28AM

    Dear Claire, thank you for a wonderful tour once again.
Your pictures and information are amazing. I hope you have
a wonderful Christmas. emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LIBBYL1 12/25/2012 2:23AM

  so beautiful to see your hike! I loved the pictures of the sheep particularly...happy xmas

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HELEN_BRU 12/25/2012 1:00AM

    Wow! That was quite a hike - just beautiful. Thanks and Merry Christmas.

Helen emoticon

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