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Seine Maritime
France > Normandy > Seine Maritime

The département of Seine Maritime comprises three very distinct sections: Normandy's dramatic northern coastline, home not only to major ports like Dieppe and Le Havre but also to such delightful resorts as Étretat; the meandering course of the River Seine, where unchanged villages stand both up- and downstream of the provincial capital of Rouen; and the flat chalky Caux plateau, which makes for pleasant cycling country but there's little of note to detain visitors.

Dieppe in particular offers a much more appealing introduction to France than its counterparts further north in Picardy, and with the impressive white cliffs of the aptly named Côte d'Albâtre (Alabaster Coast) stretching away to either side it could easily serve as the base for a long stay. The most direct route to Rouen from here is simply to head due south, but it's well worth tracing the shore all the way west to Le Havre, and then following the Seine inland.

Driving along the D982 along the northern bank of the Seine, you'll often find your course paralleled by mighty tankers and container ships out on the water. Potential stops en route include the medieval abbeys of Jumièges and St-Wandrille, but Rouen itself is the prime destination, its association with the execution of Joan of Arc merely the most compelling episode in its fascinating and still conspicuous history. Further upstream, Monet's wonderful house and garden at Giverny and the redoubtable English frontier stronghold of Château Gaillard at Les Andelys also justify taking a slow route into Paris.


Pages in section ‘Seine Maritime’: Dieppe, Côte d'Albâtre, Le Havre, Along the Seine to Rouen, Rouen, Upstream from Rouen.

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