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     In the morning, after having a last breakfast, having loaded Mercy and warmly said goodbye to Wendy and Phil, we left the hospitable Montague farm and went to Rouen. On the way we stopped at a large shopping center located in an industrial area in the Caen area.

  And already in the middle of the day we unloaded at our last B&B, which was located in the southern part of Rouen, relatively close to the center, on Canadian Avenue (Avenue des Canadiens).

  We made an attempt to go to the city center. We found a convenient underground parking, but the walk did not work out. It was cloudy and we still hadn't gotten over the point of satiety, so Rouen didn't impress that day. 

    We spent the whole day in Rouen. And, it should be noted, the city made a completely different, unlike yesterday, impression. Maybe the sunny weather added its positive role, and we kind of got a second wind. In any case, Rouen is the most beautiful and interesting city in Normandy.

  Rouen is also called the city of a hundred towers, a hundred bells and a hundred museums. But the main thing here is the narrow streets of half-timbered houses, sharp roofs, shutters, flowerpots with geraniums, in a word, medieval classics.

  The car was left in the same place as yesterday - in the underground parking lot next to the Saint-Maclou church (Eglise Saint-Maclou). From here we started our walk.

  Saint-Maclou Church is a prime example of flamboyant gothic construction. Particularly impressive is the famous portal, which consists of five vaulted covered entrances with magnificent wooden carved Renaissance doors.

    We walked along Rue St-Romain to Place de la Cathedrale, where the spiers of Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame) rush up. By the way, this is the highest spire in Europe - the total height is 152 m. This cathedral is absolutely different from the two-towered Notre Dame de Paris. This is a purely British creation, reminiscent of whose land Normandy was in the early Middle Ages. It is also worth remembering that the cathedral was often painted by Claude Monet, who grew up in Rouen. They did not fail to inspect the interior of the cathedral. The first Norman Duke Rollo, the English King Henry II are buried here, and the "lion's heart" of the English King Richard is also kept.

    Directly from Place de la Cathedrale, the famous pedestrian Rue du Gros Horloge begins. The slanted striped half-timbered houses on this street are a hallmark of Rouen. The medieval arch of the same name with a clock divides the street into two parts. The giant dial is unusual. They say that the hands show not only the time, but also the date, the phase of the moon and other information.

    Rue du Gros Horloge rests on the Place du Vieux Marche. Here, on a patch of land in the middle of a small flower garden, there is a tall (20 m), but modest in shape, cross - this is the place of execution of the Virgin of Orleans - Joan of Arc. Very close - the Church of Jeanne d'Arc (Eglise Jeanne d'Arc). This is a modernist building of a very unusual shape - some kind of curved iron structures. It is said that the church was built in the shape of an overturned boat and that there used to be another temple in its place, which was destroyed by bombing. The windows of the church, by the way, are shaped like fish. The area is also lined with old houses. Among them is the oldest restaurant in France, La Couronne, opened in 1345.

    Then we just wandered through the old streets for a long time. In addition, I was successful in a photo and video session under the motto "Spiers of Rouen." 

    So the last day of our trip has come.

  The final chord was a success.

  Leaving the capital of Upper Normandy, Rouen, in the morning, after driving about 70 km in drizzling rain, we stopped at Claude Monet's estate in Giverny.

  Impressionist painter Claude Monet was still a keen gardener. It was he who gave the small village on the banks of the Seine worldwide fame. Monet lived here for 43 years, from 1883 until his death in 1926. His two-story villa, now turned into a museum (5.50 euros), is surrounded by an extraordinary garden that Monet created for 40 years.

  At first, Monet's garden consisted only of the area adjacent to the house (about 1 ha). Here, first of all, the artist cut down a gloomy alley of firs and cypresses. But high stumps were left, on which climbing roses then climbed. But soon the creepers grew so large that they closed and formed a vaulted flowering tunnel leading from the gate to the house. Of course, over time, the stumps collapsed, and now the roses are supported by metal supports. The area in front of the house, which was visible from the windows, the artist turned into a flower palette, mixing and matching paints. In Monet's garden, a motley fragrant carpet of flowers is divided into straight paths, like paints in a box. Monet, as a truly talented person, was both an outstanding artist and an outstanding landscape designer. He took a great interest in gardening very seriously, bought special books and magazines, corresponded with nurseries, exchanged seeds with other flower growers.

  Then Monet bought a plot of marshy land next to his, but located on the other side of the railway. There was a small stream here. At this place, the artist, with the support of local authorities, created a pond, at first small and subsequently enlarged. Nymphaeums of different varieties were planted in the pond, weeping willows, bamboo, irises, rhododendrons and roses were planted along the banks.

  There are several bridges across the pond, which has a very winding coastline. The most famous and largest of them is the Japanese bridge, entwined with wisteria.

  Monet's water garden is very different from the surrounding area, it is hidden behind the trees. You can get here only through a tunnel laid under the road. Everyone who comes here involuntarily freezes, holding his breath, seeing the masterpiece created by the great artist.

  We did not want to leave this amazing garden, where the nature of nature and human genius merged amazingly.

    But we still have a long way to go home.

  In the final part of our journey, we successfully completed several mandatory technical steps. For example, 30 kilometers from the airport, our Mercy was filled up to a full tank. Here, as it turned out, we were playing it safe, because at the entrance to the airport there is a gas station with a large banner reminding us of the need to refuel the rented car before returning.

  The way back home, including two flights, flew by, as they say, in the normal mode, and soon we returned from vacation to working days. 


  In conclusion, a few final comments and our rating of attractions.

  The route fully justified itself. The only thing that could be changed was to shorten the stay on the farm in Montague by two or three days and go west into Brittany, there are many interesting places.

  B&B chain hotels, and a multi-day base on a farm in Montague, also gave no reason to doubt the correctness of the choice.

  We were just lucky to rent a car because driving a Mercedes is a dream of any driver. And in combination with the beautiful French roads, this led to the fact that we simply enjoyed the trips. Let me give you a fact. In our road trips, I mainly concentrate on navigational work and almost never get behind the wheel, although I have sufficient driving experience - more than 20 years. But here I could not deny myself the pleasure of driving a Mercedes.


-***** Mont-Saint-Michel 
Saint Malo 
Castle of Villandry 

-**** Deauville-Trouville 
Chenonceau Castle 
Ranville - Pegasus Bridge 

-*** Bath 
Forest of Broceliande 
Norman Switzerland 
Omaha Beach Memorial 
Bridge Normandy 

-** Dole de Brittany 

-* Serran Castle 
Saint Lo

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