A Morning Bike Ride to Jumiéges Abbey
Our first day in the RV was a blockbuster driving day. We hauled out of the Netherlands and headed toward France’s Northwestern coastline. We had a farm picked out for our first farm stay with France Passion.
The trip nearly came to an early end as our GPS instructed Jeff to make a hard left hand turn. He attempted. The RV was wedged in the turn. A sign sat in front of the RV and a sign sat directly behind it. We were also on a hill. We needed to reverse back into the main road. The RV would lurch forward with each attempt pushing us closer to the sign in front. One of Jeff’s magical powers is convincing people to help us. He found a farmer across the street he convinced to get into the driver’s seat of our RV and back us out of this turn. The farmer did so without any trouble. We forced him to take a bottle of red wine (from Italy, humorously) as a thank you. He also pointed us on an easier path to our farm.
We pulled onto our first farm and knew that France Passion was going to be a great time. The house adjacent to the farm looked like it fell out of the pages of Harry Potter. We were going to spend the night on the Burrow.
The France Passion book said the farmer spoke English and she knew a few words. We peeked into her shop and loaded up on goodies. We poked around the farm checking out the variety of animals on the farm.
Our parking place was across from the Seine river. We were able to watch ships pass from our RV. We spread out our outdoor carpet and let the kids play in the grass while we made dinner. We enjoyed some of the goodies (ciders, jams & juice) we purchased from the farm. Perfection!
The next morning we unloaded our bikes and biked down to the ferry terminal, took the free ferry across the river and explored the town which happened to include France’s most stunning ruined abbey, Jumiéges. This was our Little Little’s first time on the front bicycle seat and he did great!
We were the first ones at the gate to Jumiéges Abbey. The group that followed us in was part of an organized tour. The boys loved running around the ruins before other tourists arrived.
The boys had a run of the place. They pretended they were knights, hopping up on toppled stones and ducking into overgrowths.
They imitated statues we had seen in other churches.
They even found treasure in the trees.
It is amazing what my littles see that I would otherwise walk by. It is one of the reasons I love traveling with them.
The abbey itself is stunning. The lighting was just right as we walked in and saw the remaining walls towering above us.
The visit also includes the vast abbey grounds. (More room for the kids to run!) The gardens and park stretched out and were ripe for exploring.
Every time we turned a corner there was something new the boys wanted to explore. The large yard provided the best view of what is left of the cloister.
These stairs lead up to what used to be planted gardens but are now walled lawns.
The old abbot’s home houses art exhibitions. We briefly popped it but ended up staying after watching the short movie on the second floor about how the art is made. The kids wanted to find all the photos that were in the movie.
We walked back through the ruins, this time pretending we were geckos, and said goodbye to our first stop on our RV adventure. The boys were begging to come back, a sure sign they had a good time.
We grabbed a quick (albeit early) lunch in town. The place was empty but the staff went out of their way to make our children comfortable. Our food was delicious. The French election was on tv in the background.
Happy and full we hopped on the bikes and caught the ferry just before it headed back. We enjoyed the quick ride across the river and were tucked back into the RV before we knew it.
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