Wanderable enjoys bike adventures in the the small towns of Rouen and Les Andelys.
Fall colors of Rouen offset the gothic spectacle that is the city’s main Cathedral
Ah, Normandy. We’re completely obsessed with your whimsical small towns, cobblestone streets, and strong apple liquor. And there is no better way to see these towns than by bike. We traveled to Rouen and Les Andelys, and we were able to see more of each town than we would have by foot. We’ve decided there might not be anything more luxurious than Europe in the Fall: the colors, the crisp air…getting lost down side streets…and hidden-treasure alleyways with the one you love.
On Monday we were in Rouen: a lovely town that has the second largest population in France, next to Paris. Even though there are tons of people, be warned: most of the town is closed on Monday until the afternoon (after 3pm). This was both a good and bad thing. The Good: we got the town to ourselves, so we didn’t have to watch out for pedestrians as we cruised down cobblestone streets and took literally 1,000 photos. The Bad: we were hard-pressed to find an open fromagerie (we were successful, however, in finding a patisserie, so at least we were set with many croissants). There is a ton of history in this town (like the Cathedral and a memorial to Joan of Arc) so we did do our fair share of Instagram- worthy sight-seeing.
But our favorite part of the day in Rouen? Sitting at a little cafe, playing cards and drinking cappuccinos. We watched as the towns people went to work as this sleepy little town started to wake up.
The view from our seats at the cafe
…and our seats at the cafe
Les Andelys was our next stop. This town was adorable (straight out of Beauty & The Beast). This town also houses a huge Cathedral Notre-Dame, the focal point of this city.
As we rode around this tiny town, we stopped at intricate little shops selling art and came across a Salon de Thé (tea house). Along with their homemade, organic teas made from real leaves (we’re talking real mint leaves infused for hours) they had some amazing food. We ordered two different kinds of goat-cheese stuffed peppers in local olive oil, as well as octopus and baby squid. It. was. Incredible. #TravelTip: Always try the food. We came across this place by accident, and it was the highlight of our day!
Spicy peppers Octopus and baby squid
And even though it’s late November– this town was ALL ABOUT the Christmas decorations.
Unfortunately, we ran into the same issue we had when we were in Rouen; a lot of this town was closed in the morning. But that was fine– enough of the shops were open and the scenery was beautiful (can’t you tell?)
Moral of the story? When you have the option, always go by bike. ALWAYS. You’ll see more of the town, and when its cold (like November), you’ll warm up quickly. And always try to be adventurous with the local cuisine– especially in smaller, quaint villages. They’re not touristy like some places in Paris can be, so you know you’re getting authentic food that the locals eat. There also isn’t a lot (or any) of mark up at these places, so the food you’re getting is worth the price.