This abbey is often referred to as St. Wandrille and is, in fact, located in St. Wandrille on the north bank of the Seine. It is a living, working community of monks so the entire area is not open to visitors. However, the ancient ruined abbey church (spectacular) is open. The monks purchased a Tithe Barn and moved it to the abbey grounds for their church and except during services, it is open to the public. There is also a small, charming chapel by the monks' cemetery that is open to the public.
Just down the street is a very nice gift shop. There are products from several different monastic communities available. There is also a charming rural scene with a barn, a stream and sheep across from the gift shop if you enjoy rural photography.
They are renovating the church until Christmas of 2010 so services have been moved. There is a notice on their web site listed below.
In the village of Saint Wandrille you can see a couple of Half timbered houses that now are restaurants.
In proximity of the entrances of the abbey there is a Romanesque church with some beautiful glass door and statues.
After our visit to the Abbey, we popped into Creperie de la Caillouville for lunch. There was only a couple of food options in this small village, and the Creperie looked like the better choice.
It is much lovelier than it looks like from the front….it has a delightful courtyard garden at the back, which was filled with lunching locals when we arrived, plus a larger indoor area. We pulled up a seat in a shady area outside.
The atmosphere was good, though service was a bit slow as there was only one waitress working, though she was working as quickly as she could!
Favorite Dish: For lunch I had a Galette (buckwheat pancake) with Ham, Egg, Tomato & Cheese. Chris had some sort of meat pizza and Alex had a delicious pizza with plenty of Asparagus, Ham & Egg. A small beer helped the food go down just right ; )
In June/July 2006 we had a 9 day driving holiday in France. We caught a car ferry from Dover to Calais, drove down through Normandy, popped into Brittany and then caught the ferry back to Dover from Boulogne-sur-Mer.
We chose to take our own car over, as the cost of the ferry and petrol was significantly cheaper than flying from London and hiring a car in France. I also feel a lot more comfortable travelling in our own car as opposed to a hire car.
The only negative thing about driving our car in France is that it is a right hand drive car, and French cars are left hand drive, which means that tolls/tickets machines etc are on the wrong side of the car for the driver to operate…luckily I was able to assist in these duties from the passenger seat, but I do feel sorry for the solo traveller in these situations.
Driving in France is great. The roads are good and the sign posting is excellent. You can hoon along on the wide tollways/freeways, or travel along pretty coastal roads, soaking up the atmosphere of the French countryside. Just remember which side of the road you have to drive on if you come over from the UK.