Published 30/05/2022 Reading time: 6 min
Les Andelys benefits from magnificent views across the Seine Valley. This historic medieval town is a must to visit in the Eure because of its mighty fortress, Château Gaillard. You can spend a lovely weekend beside the Seine here. Looking to find out about all you can see and do in Les Andelys? Consult our must-see sites when visiting Les Andelys and follow our tips for spending a delightful time in this part of the Eure in Normandy.
What is there to see in Les Andelys?
Les Andelys is a must-see town in Normandy. Located in the Seine Valley, the commune (or parish) grew out of the fusion of Le Petit-Andely and Le Grand-Andely, combining to form Les Andelys. The town’s architectural heritage is particularly rich in medieval buildings. The Hospice Saint-Jacques, also known as the Hôpital Saint-Jacques, dominates the meander in the Seine here, its dome adding to the splendour of the site. A foundation dating back to medieval times, it long welcomed pilgrims on one of the routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The form you see today only goes back to Ancien Régime times, but this is a listed historic building. The historic centre of Les Andelys boasts many monuments you can admire along the streets and lanes, observing the varied array of façades.
The splendour of the Collégiale Notre-Dame des Andelys marks Le Petit-Andely, recalling the place’s medieval importance. This Gothic church was built in good part in the 13th century, then added to in the 17th. The Tour de l’Horloge, or Clock Tower, is another remarkable monument in Les Andelys. With its slate roof shingles, a relatively rare feature for such an edifice, the Tour de l’Horloge dates back to the 19th century and houses the clock mechanism from a former church in town destroyed during the French Revolution. It stands next to a typical Eure timberframe house. As to Saint-Sauveur Church, it takes us back to the 13th century and the first act imposing the Duchy of Normandy’s attachment to the French kingdom. French king Philippe Auguste decided, in the 1220s, on the construction of a second church in Le Petit-Andely, Saint-Sauveur Church thus coming into being.
Moving to the Seine, the Pont des Andelys links the commune (or parish) of Rosny to Evreux, along the road for Lyons-la-Forêt, a member of the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. The old Pont des Andelys was destroyed during World War II. The present suspension bridge went up in 1947 and remains a quite unique example of post-war reconstruction in Normandy.
Walking beside the great Seine River at Les Andelys, you’ll see how this is a perfect destination for appreciating the Seine Valley’s distinctive features, with its limestone cliffs. Take the time to picnic beside the water or then to savour tasty local produce at the Villa Aliénor. The views and perspectives on the Seine’s meander here are remarkable. So too is the view from up at Château Gaillard, boasting one of the most beautiful viewing points on the Seine Valley.
What is there to visit in Les Andelys?
Visiting Les Andelys, enjoy a unique experience making the most of virtual reality. The company Legendr has put together a reconstitution of Les Andelys in medieval times. Wander along the cobbled lanes of Le Petit-Andely as they were far back in time, seeking out centuries-old monuments, churches and spires. Also explore the interiors of certain buildings that are otherwise closed to the public. You can immerse yourself in such a tour thanks to your smartphone, downloading the app from Google Play or Apple Store. Two circuits, one 45 minutes long, the other lasting two hours, allow you to visit Les Andelys this way, depending on the time at your disposal.
Château Gaillard is one of the top sites to see along the Seine Valley after Giverny. Its mighty keep still dominates the meander in the Seine here, as it has done since Richard the Lionheart’s time. The fortified castle he ordered to be built on the spot in the late 12th century demonstrated the power of Richard Cœur de Lion, squaring up to French king Philippe Auguste. The military edifice went up in 1198, to control the Seine Valley at this point. Today, its medieval vestiges perched on the cliffs above the river offer splendid views along the Seine. The Office de Tourisme Nouvelle Normandie welcomes visitors within the walls of this unique fortress and proposes guided tours of the medieval site.
The Museum Nicolas Poussin is a unique museum of its kind. It presents collections ranging from prehistory to the Industrial Revolution. Some works on display, though, are as recent as the 20th-century. The museum also pays homage to Nicolas Poussin, one of France’s greatest classical artists, who hailed from Les Andelys.
What activities can you enjoy in Les Andelys?
Hiking is one outdoor activity that’s a must in Les Andelys when spending a weekend along this stretch of the Seine Valley. Les Andelys offers visitors two hiking circuits, the Circuit du Mont-Pivin and the circuit La Boucle de Richard Cœur de Lion. These two walking trails lead you from the banks of the great river up the Seine’s slopes, crossing through the old village once known as Le Petit-Andely. The many different features of this historic settlement set between river and cliff are revealed to you on these two walks. The signposted paths take hikers on a discovery of medieval Eure, along the Gambon, a tributary stream of the Seine, and beside centuries-old ramparts up to the castle nicknamed Château Gaillard.
Cycling enthusiasts can really enjoy their hobby at Les Andelys. The Seine à Vélo, a cycle route linking Paris to the sea, offers an original idea for a holiday in Normandy, avoiding the car. The stage featuring Les Andelys is located downstream of Vernon and upstream from Rouen. The whole route, largely on greenways, enables riders to explore 500km, partly on tracks without motorised traffic, partly on roads shared with motorised traffic, going from the French capital to either Le Havre or Honfleur at the Seine Estuary.
Where to stay in Les Andelys?
There are many options in terms of accommodation in Les Andelys, depending on budget and preferences. The Camping Flower Île des Trois Rois is surely one of the most beautiful campsites along the banks of the Seine. Its heated pool is perfect for allowing you to enjoy a camping holiday in Normandy to the full. Come and spend a unique night in a tepee, a latest-generation Coco Sweet, or then in a mobile home. The campsite is ideally located a stone’s throw from the historic centre of Les Andelys.
For a romantic weekend as a couple, the Hôtel La Chaine d’Or is the place to head for in Les Andelys. This hotel-restaurant provides a privileged, cosy setting on the banks of the Seine. Its gastronomic restaurant serves up tasty dishes based around local products. Savour regional Normandy produce and your tastebuds will tingle with delight during an unforgettable meal here. The home-made cuisine is often served on the terrace for you to appreciate unique views of the Seine as you eat.
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If you prefer gîtes rental holiday homes or charming chambres d’hôtes (B&Bs), Les Andelys and its surroundings can propose some lovely addresses in country settings in the Eure in Normandy.
How to get to Les Andelys ?
If you’re aiming to take an environmentally-friendly, zero-carbon trip from Paris, train + bike offers the best solution to reach Les Andelys. Leaving from Paris’s Gare-Saint-Lazare, stop either at the train station of Gaillon-Aubevoye or Vernon-Giverny. From Gaillon, you can reach the Seine à Vélo cycle route at the level of Courcelles-sur-Seine. From Vernon, the cycle route is shared with motorised traffic.
To reach Les Andelys using public transport, you can make use of bus line 200 Evreux-Les Andelys-Gisors. This 200 line links Evreux to Les Andelys in 1hr 15mins and Gisors to Les Andelys in 1 hr.
Coming by car from Paris or Rouen, the A13 motorway is the most obvious way to reach Château Gaillard in Normandy. The car-sharing facilities at Douains, Saint-Aubin-sur-Gaillon and Gaillon are great if you want to simplify your journeys and save money at the same time.