The Old Bridge of Limay … Mantes la Jolie, Conflans, Andrésy … all beautiful … and all for a day visit …

    You have had enough of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Place du Tertre and tourists despite being one yourself, then I have the perfect day’s outing for you. The mere names of the places which I am now to suggest you visit – Limay … Mantes la Jolie …Conflans … Andrésy … already […]

 

The Old Bridge of Limay (CC Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

The Old Bridge of Limay (CC Mariln Z. Tomlins)

 

You have had enough of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Place du Tertre and tourists despite being one yourself, then I have the perfect day’s outing for you.

The mere names of the places which I am now to suggest you visit – Limay … Mantes la Jolie …Conflans … Andrésy … already sound enticing, do they not?

As they are neighboring towns you can actually think of them as one town.

Mantes la Jolie Church (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Mantes la Jolie Church (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The trip starts in the town of Mantes la Jolie, 53 kms (32 miles) from Paris.

It will take you about 33 minutes to get there by train. The train ride which starts at Paris’s Gare St. Lazare railroad station is already a delight.  The train will leave from the main ground floor departure/arrival section of the station. Look on the ‘Départs’ boards (only in French) for a train that will call in at Mantes la Jolie.  It can be the Rouen train, Mantes la Jolie being the first stop.

You can travel all day on a 5-zone Mobilis day transport ticket. It will cost you €16.60 and you buy it at your starting point in Paris. In other words, say your hotel is at the Saint Michel Métro station, you buy your ticket there and the first part of your day travel will be to get to Gare St. Lazare railroad station.

Mantes la Jolie: inside the church (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Mantes la Jolie: inside the church (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

 

When you leave Mantes la Jolie station you will see a church ahead. This is the majestic Collegiate Church of Our Lady of Mantes constructed between 1155 and 1350.  The church (it is not a cathedral), its highest steeple at 67.7m (222 ft), resembles Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral.  You walk that way.

Mantes la jolie: the tower (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Mantes la jolie: the tower (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

First you will come to a tower (see photo above). It is the Tower of Saint-Maclou – la tour Saint-Maclou.  On this spot had stood a church, the Church of Saint-Maclou, which in 1087 was burnt down by William the Conqueror. Poorly rebuilt at the beginning of the 12th century, the church had partly collapsed in the 17th century, the French then having demolished all what was left of it but the tower during the French Revolution.

Once you’ve seen the tower and visited the church which is virtually beside it, you will see a river ahead. This is the Oise.

Reaching the river to your right you will see the old bridge of Limay – le vieux pont de Limay – on your right.

The old bridge of Limay (copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The old bridge of Limay (copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Le Vieux pont was constructed in the 11th century which makes it one of the oldest in France, then in the 20th – to be exact during WW2 in June 1940 – French soldiers blew out the two central arches of its eleven arches. They did so to stop the Germans moving down south from Belgium and Holland to reach Paris. The Germans anyway reached Paris … but that is another story.

(French artist Jean-Baptise Corot painted the bridge in 1868, the painting today in Paris’s Louvre Museum.)

In the 18th century a windmill had stood on the bridge, but alas no longer, but the two-story lodge where the man who had all those centuries ago controlled access to the bridge still stands at the Limay end of the bridge. The lodge built in 1750 is today the weekend home of a Paris architect: you will see that he keeps chickens in his small garden. You will also see evidence in the lodge’s walls that some fierce fighting had gone on around the bridge during the last war.

The lodge on the old bridge (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

The lodge on the old bridge (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Another photo of the lodge on the old bridge (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Another photo of the lodge on the old bridge (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Mantes La Jolie April 2015 bridge portier house shot up

Facing the bridge, the town of Limay is on your left. At that point Mantes la Jolie is at a distance of 1.1 miles (1.9 kms) to the right.

 

Limay (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Limay (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Limay is small, but a walk through the town and popping into its old church is a must.

 

Inside the church in Limay (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Inside the church in Limay (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

It is here at Limay that you turn back to Mantes la Jolie for the next part of your day trip. You need to get to the railroad station, and you can walk there or you can get onto any of the buses which will pass you and which will be marked Gare Mantes la Jolie. Your 5-zone Mobilis day ticket will be good for the bus.

Next on your agenda will be the town of Conflans.

Conflan (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Conflans (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Back at Mantes la Jolie railroad station you need to take a train going in the direction of Paris. However, you need to look at the departure board at the entrance of the small station and make sure that you take the Transilien train Line J and that the train stops at Conflans-Fin- d’Oise station.  (There is another Conflans station – Conflans St Honorine – but this is not the one you would have to descend at.)

There will be 12 stops before you will get to Conflans-Fin-d’Oise. It may sound long, but relax because it will be a pleasant ride.

 

 

Conflans remembering it WW1 and WW2 dead (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Conflans remembering it WW1 and WW2 dead (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Exciting Conflans-Fin-d’Oise station you walk right: you will see a river ahead of you. This will be the Seine and if you walk right along its bank you will quite quickly reach the confluence of the rivers Seine and Oise: thus the name of the place ‘Conflans-Fin-d’Oise’ – end of the Oise.

Conflans where the Seine and the Oise rivers meet (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

Conflans where the Seine and the Oise rivers meet (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

You can walk either left along the Seine or right along the Oise, and maybe you could stop at any of the cafés for a drink or a bite to eat.

You will see on your left (you are standing facing the Seine River now) in the distance what looks like a marina. It is the town of Andrésy and you *have* to walk that way. First you cross on the nearest bridge to the other bank of the Seine, then you walk towards that ‘marina’. You will be walking all along the Seine, the pretty houses of Andrésy on your right and ahead of you a church. The walk will take you about 20 minutes because I am sure you are going to stop to take photos.

Andresy (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Andresy (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

 

Andrésy is altogether beautiful.

The town, small, is laid out alongside both banks of the Seine, the church and the town hall on one side of the river and houses which can be reached only by boat on the other bank.

Andresy houses on other side of seine

If you are going to make this day trip in summer, do know that night will not fall until close to 10 p.m. so you can sit down on one of the terraces of the small cafés bordering the Seine for a drink.

 

One of Andresy's beautiful houses (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

One of Andresy’s beautiful houses (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

The Andresy church on the bank of the Seine (cc copyright Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

The Andresy church on the bank of the Seine (cc copyright Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

After Andrésy you have to get back to Conflans-Fin-d’Oise for the train back to Paris. Now you can take any of the buses that will come towards you and which will be marked Gare  Conflans-Fin-d’Oise.  Remember, your Mobilis day ticket will be valid for the bus. What is good about this bus ride is that the bus will turn away from the river and you will be able to see what it looks like inland.

 

Conflans April 2015 8

 

The bus will take you to Conflans-Fin-d’Oise station and there you will take the Transilien Line J train back to Gare St Lazare in Paris after a wonderful day.

Enjoy your trip.

River cruises - this one is heading for Basle, Switzerland -  on the Seine at Conflans (cc Marilyn ZTomlins)

River cruises – this one is heading for Basle, Switzerland – on the Seine at Conflans (cc Marilyn ZTomlins)

 

 

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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