A back-to-nature day in the heart of the Marais Vernier - Miles&Love
The Eure was a real surprise to us
We didn't know exactly where we were heading that weekend but after a first day packed with new experiences like sailing along the river Seine and picnicking close to Château-Gaillard in the hills above the valley, we had no doubt anymore that this second day was going to be great… and yet, we were far from imagining how great.
The night before we finally stopped at Isabelle's who has a marvellous house. Typical of the area, the house was built on the foundations of an old press house which gives it plenty of charm. So this is where we spent the night, in this haven of peace in the heart of the Marais Vernier, in a small wooden and cosy cabin. In short, awesome!
What surprised us most here in the heart of the wetland was the extraordinary atmosphere that prevailed. You have to imagine a vast plain (the wetland), partly inhabited (and partly a protected nature reserve) surrounded by some sort of small mountain shaped like a U around the wetland. It is breath-taking, and makes you feel like you are cut off from the rest of the world, far from everything. Add to this the natural coolness of the marsh, the humidity and the mist, we were filled with wonder as early as the morning in front of this spectacular scenery.
The beautiful Thatched Cottage Trail by bike
After a peaceful night (only punctuated with the bleating of sheep) and a quick breakfast, we got on our bikes (thank you again Isabelle!!!) to visit the surrounding area.
The Thatched Cottage Trail goes all around the Marais Vernier and is lined with pretty houses with thatched roofs at the bottom of the surrounding hills. And, let's face it, here each house is more beautiful than the last, each overlooking a field with horses, cows or little goats grazing and gambolling about.
The bigger ones even have their own private lake in front of their window. Well, we started dreaming that maybe one day we would also have our little house here, in this little part of Normandy where time seems to stand still.
And the route is very pleasant, simple and flat (great!) with no cars. Let's just say that our morning was just peaceful, perfect.
Exploring the Mannevilles National Nature Reserve
A few hours later, we went to the heart of the Marais Vernier Nature Site at the Mannevilles Nature Reserve. Marine, who works in the Nature Reserve was waiting for us to guide us through this unspoilt site.
Because here it is not possible to be on your own (or only under certain conditions). You need a guide. And she directly sets the mood:
-“I’m going to take you to a place where you will feel cut off from the rest of the world, alone with nature”
That was enough to persuade us we were going to love it. And indeed, it was very difficult that afternoon to imagine we were not that far from Paris. We were able to see free-roaming horses, shy Camargue horses (but very curious at the same time), little frogs (green ones and brown ones), coypus and other animals we are not used to seeing.
And even... Scottish Highland cattle! Yes, yes, Scottish, in the heart of the Marais Vernier! Originally, Scottish Highland cattle inhabited the area, so they were just reintroduced into this environment.
And the afternoon was also the occasion to get to know Marine, who is very nice (and professional). We talked about many different subjects and interests we share like the environment and ecology, our relationship to meat, her organic farm, etc., in short we shared our points of view on this world and nature.
The 2 or 3 hours we spent together went by very quickly and we would have loved to stay there longer.
But we had to go back to civilisation and so it is with our heads and hearts full of memories that we concluded this weekend in the Eure Department, so close to home and yet so different.
Article sponsored and written by Miles&Love