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The long rise and the sharp fall of the Houëls of La Pommeraye

The entrance pavilion of Manoir de La Pommeraye is picturesque even on a cold winter’s day. A central archway edged with pale stones is flanked by sturdy stone tower and topped with a balcony and roofs that would look quite at home in a fairy-tale. But for Normandy, this building is not outstanding. Its main decoration…

3rd Sunday regular antique brocante in La Ferrière-sur-Risle

La Ferrière-sur-Risle is perfect example of a small Eure Normandy country town, with ancient beamed homes, elegant brick maison and wide tree-lined streets. A regular antique brocante takes place on the third Sunday of the month (except August).  Worth a visit for the location as well as for bargains, it takes place in the stunning 14th…

The rampant ambition of Blanchard the balloonist, from Petit Andelys

Jean Pierre François Blanchard was born in Petit Andelys, the second son of an odd-job man, on July 4, 1753.  Perhaps the vast remains of Chateau Gaillard that tower above the town inspired him to the possibilities of human endeavour.  Whatever the cause, Jean Pierre was destined to go down, sometimes literally, in history. The…

An interview with Claude Monet 1924; The water lilies of Giverny

An old book by Marc Elder gives a remarkable insight into the creation of Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, as he wrote it after visiting Giverny and interviewing the great man himself.  Their meeting was in 1924, just two years before Monet died age 86, on 5 December 1926. In our extract today we hear about…

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