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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!

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  • QTEALADY20031
    Claire, too amazing for words. I was interested in seeing the old, beautiful. Being a nurse, I am always drawn to the architect of hospitals built so many years ago. I like the bridge over the river to the home, that is cool. So many sheep and goats, amazing picture. Claire thank you again for sharing these wonderful pictures including Notre-Dame church. You had a marvelous and memorable hike today at this special time of the year!! emoticon emoticon
    1886 days ago
    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing :D Merry Christmas!
    1886 days ago
    You are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place and you are so wonderful to share all those beautiful places with us emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1886 days ago
    Too beautiful for words! I especially loved the sheep and the goats, I just love animals!

    Thank you for a wonderful hike!!!

    You are too neat for words!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1886 days ago
    Hi Claire, My son is visiting with us and I showed him your blog. He found it fascinating because he has always wanted to go back to France since we sent him there on a trip when he was a senior in high school. I found the picture of the castle built by Richard the Lionheart especially fascinating. But, I am especially fond of cathedrals and France definitely has the most beautiful ones in the world. Thank you for sharing another wonderful hike with us and I wish you a Joyeux Noel. emoticon
    1887 days ago
    What a wonderful Christmas Eve gift you've given us with this hike Claire! Beautiful pictures and wonderful history!

    Have a very Merry Christmas my dear friend! emoticon emoticon
    1887 days ago
    Quel village charmant...l'hopital, la rue de l'horloge, les cygnes, la Seine, le chateau, les agneaux...enfin tout! Merci bien pour la randonnee cette vieille de noel. As-tu deja mange des huitres? Aimes-tu la buche de Noel? As-tu des santons chez-toi? Peux-tu parler un peu des choses qu'on fait (ou pas) en France pour la fete de Noel?
    Merci mille fois.
    Joyeux Noel, Claire!

    1887 days ago
  • KAREN91
    Beautiful pictures as always. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas filled with all the best. You are such a beautiful person inside and out with such great talent. You give us all such a gift with your great pictures and your blog. Im spending christmas at home with my husband and children. I had to work last year. By the way is the hospital in your blog still open and treating patients. Your country is beautiful! If I ever get to Europe France is the #1 country Id want to see although England is a close second. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1887 days ago
    Thank you for the photos of your walk. I come back to enjoy them again and again. I don't believe I have ever mentioned that. So I get a LOT of enjoyment out of seeing your hikes. Have a very Merry Christmas!
    1887 days ago
    Oh, Claire, I know that in heaven we will tour a land so much more beautiful than we can imagine or ever possibly describe here on earth, but ...little sister, you make me long to walk on those hills now. Please keep posting. I appreciate you. Merry Christmas. Be blessed and fulfilled in all you do!
    1887 days ago
    What amazingly beautiful architecture and scenery! The swans are beautiful!

    Merry Christmas to you, dear spark friend! Blessings. HUGS!
    1887 days ago
    Oh Claire what a Christmas eve gift you gave to us. When I looked at the white cliffs I was seeing them through my Dad's eyes. My heart was so excited because I just cannot believe the castle of Richard the Lionheart is still standing, Oh my everything you give to us is such a treat. Thank you for the site also to explore & read more. The snow is falling softly right now it is 7:15 pm. we are to have a white Christmas, Claire we have the best Christmas ever, my beloved brother Bobby is in remission with the cancer he is 59 & lives in California I love him I have 5 brothers. Have a wonderful Christmas
    1887 days ago
  • DALID414
    That was a beautiful Christmas Eve hike.

    Merry Christmas.
    1887 days ago
    Beautiful pictures, Claire! Thank you for showing us the white cliffs... I'd often wondered if they were on the French side of the Channel as well as on the English side. The clematis are spectacular. I think they are almost prettier at this stage than when they are in bloom.

    The water in the Seine looks high - I know that Southern England is having a lot of flooding, and with all the rain you've been having I think you are also under the same storm system.

    We are expecting light snow overnight, and then a major storm (25-35 cm. of snow)on December 26. I hope that there is enough snow that I can sit by the fire, put out a new jigsaw puzzle, and read one of the books I'm hoping to receive. Love being snowed in!

    Merry Christmas,
    Gail emoticon
    1887 days ago
  • NAN041
    Dear Claire..
    A wonderful tableau for our
    Christmas Eve....
    Happy Christmas to all, Nan
    1887 days ago
    How beautiful this is thankyou so much for sharing it

    seasons greetings
    1887 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    What a wonderful way to spend Christmas eve! Thanks for taking us along on the walk. How beautiful it is in France this time of year. I love the peacefulness of the swans and the water, just gorgeous! Sending wishes for a wonderful Christmas and all the best in the New Year! Merry Christmas to you with a big hug!
    Holly emoticon
    1887 days ago
    Gorgeous!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your hike with us and Joyeux Noel!
    1887 days ago
    How beautiful and peaceful.
    1887 days ago
    Thanks for the walk along. emoticon
    1887 days ago
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