Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 4 continued - Vernon

Vernon Church by Claude Monet
"By the river at Vernon" by Claude Monet 1883

It looks a little different these days.

We had some free time to visit the town of Vernon. It is quite incredible to realize that our modern 21st century river boat is docked two blocks from an 11th century cathedral!

The Liberation of Vernon on August 25th, 1944 was preceded by intense bombings. The goal of the Allies was to cut the retreat of the occupying forces by destroying the bridges over the Seine river, as well as the railroads.

Right outside where the boat was docked were two memorials to Allied soldiers who helped liberate the town.


Despite the bombings of  1940-44 which seriously damaged the center of the town, Vernon has maintained a few streets which feel like the Middle Ages. Half timbered houses with ancient doors and carved beams, shop signs in wrought iron, cobbled paths are a frequent sight throughout tis charming town. 
The following streets merit your attention : rue Bourbon-Penthievre, rue Malauliere, rue Saint-Sauveur, rue du Chapitre, rue Carnot (where stands the house of the historian A.G. Poulain, richly carved by himself), rue du Pont, rue de la Boucherie, rue Potard and the hotel des Fleurs decorated with carved heads (see photo), rue du Grevarin...
The collegiate church Notre Dame dates back to the roman period (end of XIth Century) but its construction continued from the Gothic period to end in the XVIIth Century. The church was dedicated in 1072 "to the Holy Mother of God."
In 1658 the pavement was raised about two feet to keep it out of reach of the swelling of the river Seine. Two engravings on the wall of the church commemorate these floods.
The west façade of the church boasts a rose window in high gothic style. Enormous pipe organs and ambulatory with ribbed vaults. Statue of Saint Adjutor, patron saint of Vernon.

HOUSE OF OLD TIMES (Maison du temps jadis)
It is one of the oldest houses in Vernon. This corbelled construction dates back to XVth century. It has beautiful half-timbered façades and a carved corner post on the theme of the Annunciation.

We decided to eat lunch in town. Many places were closed either for vacation or for lunch reopening at 2:30.
We had a delightful lunch of steak frites and rose wine.

The tower is a remain of the ancient Vernon castle. The tower was its donjon. It dates back to Philippe Auguste (12th century). Much later, it was used to keep the city archives.

A symbol of Vernon, the old mill lies straddling two piers of the ancient bridge over the Seine. It can be easily seen from the Clemenceau bridge or from the Park of the Tourelles Castle.
As painted by Monet.

We had to be on board by 4:45 as we sail for Rouen.

Happy hour was at 6PM and we sat and watched as we sailed through another lock.

Dinner was served at 7:15 followed by the Crew Show.
Marinated mixed vegetables Provencal

Cream of garlic with chives

Broiled rock lobster tail on champagne risotto with snow peas and saffron sauce

Crispy roasted duck leg with orange sauce and duchess potatoes and red cabbage

Broiled filet of salmon on asparagus ragout with sauce Hollandaise and dill potatoes

Rosemary creme brullee

Cheese plate

Ice cream coupe with walnut ice cream and carmelized apple wedges served with whipped cream and calvados

This was the shortest and least participated crew show we have seen. Normally the whole crew has some part in it.

We had seen this same skit on the Gate 1 Danube cruise aboard the MS Sound of Music.

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