The name of Montivilliers, the second biggest town in the Le Havre district, comes from the name of its former women’s abbey, “Monasteri Villare”. The town’s prosperity and reputation are associated with this prestigious abbey, today the centre of tourist and cultural activity and an important monument amongst the Norman abbeys.
In the town centre, the perfectly restored abbey has a scenographic exhibition which is unrivalled in Normandy. An audio guide explains the daily life of these nuns, a programme of prayer and tasks, as you discover their place of residence: the cloister, chapter house, dormitories and the prestigious Gothic refectory, converted into a temporary exhibition area.
The Montivilliers abbey is an example of the essential role abbeys played in the region’s history and their beautiful architecture.
L’Aître de Brisgaret - With the aître de Saint Maclou in Rouen, this 15th century cemetery is a singular example of architecture in Normandy. Awarded the “Rubans du Patrimoine 2015”.
The promenade of the abbey, walking tour with audio guide (adult or children’s version) takes you through the old streets to discover the medieval city of Montivilliers, its history and anecdotes. €2/€1 children – audio guides are available at the abbey
La petite cité d’Harfleur, berceau historique de l’estuaire de la Seine, conserve un riche patrimoine normand du XIIIème au XVIIIème siècle : de nombreuses maisons à pans de bois, l'église gothique St-Martin, l'Hôtel de Ville (château du XVIIème siècle) et le musée du Prieuré. Un parcours du patrimoine vous emmène à la découverte des anciens remparts qui ont fait l'objet de fouilles successives.
Musée du Prieuré d'Harfleur
Installé dans une auberge datant du XVème siècle, le musée expose des collections archéologiques illustrant l'histoire de la ville d'Harfleur, de la période de la préhistoire à nos jours.
Between modernity and history, there are remembrance sites in each neighbourhood in the town of Gonfreville l’Orcher. Château d’Orcher, medieval and baroque, open in summer. Louis XV and XVI salon. Gardens open all year round.
A must: “Plantes en fêtes” garden show the 2nd weekend in October.
Praised by Alphonse Karr, then editor of the Figaro in the 19th century, then by Georges Dufayel, father of the “Nice Havrais” in the 1900s, Sainte-Adresse typifies the spirit of a seaside resort. The administrative capital of Belgium during the First World War, a source of inspiration for Impressionists, and well-known spot for board sports, Sainte-Adresse blends elegance and delight, history, culture and water sports as well as architecture with many villas and its listed lighthouse. Not to mention the “Dixie Days” festival, the annual meet for jazz enthusiasts during the Pentecost weekend.
Overlooking the estuary, the picturesque chapel “Notre-Dame des Flots” renovated in 2014, as well as the original “Sugarloaf”, dedicated to deserving sailors are definitely worth a visit.
On the Alabaster coast, Octeville has all the charm of a lively village with its local produce market on Sundays. There is also the Aquacaux association and an 18-hole golf course.
Epouville is located between Rolleville, Montivilliers (to the west), Manéglise (to the east) and Saint-Martin du Manoir (to the south). St-Denis church. Manoir de Gray: 18th century red brick manor.
Church with stone spire and nave dates from 16th century.
In a luxurious green setting, between Montgeon and Rouelles parks, the peaceful village lies around the square. In 2001, the church, presbytery, stairway and the terrace and enclosure walls were listed on the additional historical monument inventory for their construction in brick and stones which makes them unique in 20th century heritage. From the windmill path heading towards Rouelles, you can see the "German’s pool", partly hidden by vegetation. It was built in 1942, measured 24 x 7metres and had three diving boards at each end. After the occupation, the Americans heated the pool and added showers and a cover.
A must: the painter’s gathering “Fontaine des Arts”, on the square, the first Sunday of the month from May to October.
16th century manor Church with sculpted pulpit, dates from 17th century.
Cauville-sur-mer is 14km from Le Havre on the D940 road between Octeville-sur-mer and Etretat. Manor with dovecote with white stone check pattern. St-Nicolas church.
Manéglise village has preserved its rural activity, with seven working farms today. St-Germain church dates from the 11th century, a listed historical monument. Half-timbered Ferme du Calvaire.
The village has preserved the traces of its history. There is an 11th and 12th century Roman church, a listed historical monument where very well-preserved frescoes dating back to the 12th century have been found. The town’s cemetery has Belgian steles for soldiers who died at Château des Hellandes. A calvary erected in the middle of a field in memory of the vow of a farmer who found a crucifix here and went on a pilgrimage to Liesse, near Laon in 1660. There are also farms surrounded by “cauchois” embankments which sometimes housed dovecotes (the Herbouville farm dates from 1663).
“De sinople, à la barre ondée d'argent chargée de trois roues de moulins à eau de gueules, accompagnée en chef d'un pigeonnier d'argent et en pointe d'une gerbe de lin liée d'or”. The explanation of the emblazoned text: “sinople” means green, “la barre ondée” represents the water from the Lézarde, ponds, springs, the three existing watermills are represented by “trois roues”, “de gueules” means red, “en chef” at the top of the blazon, “le pigeonnier d'argent” is that of the manor, historical part of the village, and “en pointe” towards the bottom, “une gerbe de lin” or sheaf of flax is an important symbol of farming life in the Pays de Caux , “l’or” means yellow. Former manor of the Montivilliers abbesses, white stone and black flint, 16th century dovecote.
Cauchoise village dating back to the 10th century
The blazon with the ears and stars on the azure background evokes the town’s farming activity and outdoor life. Featured on the coat of arms of the local lords, the “Greniers”, the ears also refer to their name which means “granary”. The stars are a reminder of the family’s sailor ancestors. Church with church tower-doorway. “La grande ferme” manor made from bricks and white stone dates back to 1767.
Source of the “la lézarde” river. 16th century church.