Discovery trip
  

2017 Discovery Trip :

According to the decision taken at our last General Meeting, our trip lasted two days, on the week-end of October 7th and 8th. The French group comprised more than 40 people, whereas our English Friends were only around 30, less numerous than usual.

Having left Dourdan at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, the French party arrived in Le Tréport shortly after noon. The weather was rainy, compelling us to find an unexpected shelter inside the funicular station for the picnic.

The two tunnels of the funicular were dig into the chalk at the end of the 19th century and the line opened in 1908. It was destroyed during World War Two and one has to wait up to 2006 for its reopening, equipped with modern automatic cars. This scenic means of transport is, undoubtedly, the major touristic attraction of this Norman shore town.  

After the picnic, we had some spare time before our British Friends join us. The coach then took us to the neighbouring town of Mers Les Bains, on the other side of the Bresle river estuary, for a quick glance at the noticeable seafront of this Picard bathing station (there we are no longer in Normandy).

This former village of fishermen recorded an important growth at the end of the 19th century due to the arrival of the railway and the boost of sea bathes fashion. Rich people from Paris have had, therefore, nice houses built at the seafront and in nearby streets, in all kind of styles: Belle-époque, Art-deco, Anglo-Norman or Eclectic.  

Nicely decorated and coloured frontages, featuring bow-windows, highlight the wealth of their owners and are today a unique heritage, classified in 1986. According to the Tourist Office there are in Mers Les Bains several hundreds of buildings of architectural interest.

Later we returned to the top of the cliff so as to wait for our British Friends who joined us by 4:30 p.m. As always meetings have been cheerful. Together English and French went into the funicular to get down to Le Tréport town centre for a tour walk.  

Firstly, we crossed the old Cordiers quarter and its charming narrow and high houses. The name "Cordiers" (rope maker) originates from poor fishermen who could not afford a boat and use to fish with long ropes fitted with hooks. Arrived at the harbour we moved to the colourful town fish market, set-up into a building erected in 1934. The bulk and freshness of fishes and crustaceans, most of them brought by local fishermen, is impressive and the attractive prices made us sorry not being able to bring some with us!

Our party then moved to the church, overlooking the harbour and dedicated to Saint James. Built in the second half of the 16th century, it has a finely crafted tympanum and notable genuine tridacna fonts.

Returning to the funicular, we passed the old presbytery, beautiful middle-age corbelled timber house, looked at large wall frescos depicting Le Tréport history, painted in 2001 when a parking lot was built and finally passed under the old town hall, today town museum. Unfortunately, the pouring rain did not allow us to walk longer in old streets and many of us sheltered inside the numerous cafés along the harbour.

Back into the coaches, it was time for us to get to our lodging, going through Mers les Bains, so as our British Friends can see the seafront. Because of limited hotels capacity in Le Tréport area, it has been necessary to split into two hotels, fortunately close to each other, in Criel sur Mer. Allocation of rooms caused a little bit of problems, hopefully quickly forgotten after an excellent common dinner, of course including seafood. 


Sunday morning was devoted to the visit of the castle of Eu. Its building started in 1578 by Henri de Guise and Catherine de Clèves, then was carried on by The Great Mademoiselle, cousin of King Louis the 14th. During the 19th century it becomes the summer residence of King Louis-Philippe who received two times there Queen Victoria. The two sovereigns founded in Eu the basis of the Entente Cordiale Treaty between England and France. Today the castle belongs to the town of Eu who set-up its townhall into it and, despite limited means, endeavours to continue restoring it and bringing into the Louis-Philippe museum more pieces of art and collections.


Conducted by English and French speaking guides, our group has been able to admire the rooms opened to the public, of which the gorgeous De Guise Gallery, fully restored and furnished, just opened to the visitors.

After the visit of the castle, a lunch, served in la Vieille Ferme hotel was much appreciated. After it, it was time for our British Friends to get to their coach for the return trip to Great Dunmow. The French had some more time on spot, used to look at the gardens of the castle and their beautiful roses garden supposed planted by Louis-Philippe himself and the huge Notre-Dame church of Eu, before boarding onto our coach which dropped us in Dourdan around 9 p.m.

See you soon British Friends, in May in Dourdan!




Le Tréport

Nice houses at Mers les Bains

Le Tréport fish market

Dinner in Old Farm restaurant

The Royal castle of Eu

De Guise Gallery

See more photograph on our photos gallery

Some more are on line on  https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipOwJI7TEqd2cBYR9Ox6VSdtP5lkpFNi9rpyf_I