Our campervan, the Blue Lady, found the river to be no barrier.
The ferries changed the Seine from an obstacle to an inspiration.
When we reached France we set the sat-nav to avoid big towns and drove to that part of Normandy where the River Seine snakes towards he coast. It was there that we got our first surprise. Free river ferries!
The busy little vessels certainly added a bit of colour to our meanderings and we used seven of them. We became ferry junkies and worked out a permutation of crossings that gave us the best out of the roads and villages that lay to the south. Most were in regional parkland and an area of forestry and farming.The ferries present surprisingly little delay to the traffic. Half a dozen vehicles drive on to one end of the vessel and moments later drive off the other end onto the opposite bank
We visited the little village of La Bouille which was ancient and brightly painted with flowers every where. It was rather like a scene from a child’s fairy book and a very pleasant place to sit in the sun by the water munching a croissant.
We returned following another riverside road and boarded yet another ferry which took us across to Duclair where we could drive down the other bank.
The next day, smitten by the ferries, once more we crossed the water and explored further, we were forever stopping to take pictures. The fields were full of apple trees and a farmer drove a small tractor that was just big enough to fit between the trees. A trailer was being towed, and his wife, who was sitting on top of boxes of freshly picked apples, gave us a friendly wave.
We were able to sample a couple of windfalls.
They were delicious and went well with the bread and cheese we eat at one of the riverside picnic tables. We watched a couple of barges go by; big powerful things pushing up huge bow waves and I made a mental note to try and return in the spring when the apple trees would be in blossom.
As it was, the villages were full of flowers and an ancient bike placed by a road sign was smothered in geraniums
. Generally the cottages that we passed looked fairly ancient. A few even had thatched roofs, but it was different at La Mailleraye sur Seine, where we caught the tail end of the morning market, the buildings looked sparkling and new. It was a place that was heavily shelled and suffered damage in World War Two.
Now attractively restored it is popular and motor caravans parked at an ‘aire’ by river bank. Many of the people were retired and a sign on the rear of one vehicle added as touch of humour,
it read “Adventure before dementia.”