Between Paris and Rouen is an endearing little town on the Seine. There are streets of half-timbered houses, countryside châteaux, and numerous sights that you may just recognise from somewhere else.
That’s because they were painted by one of history’s greatest artists. Claude Monet lived just across the river and along with his friend Pierre Bonnard, is an inescapable presence in Vernon. He immortalised many of the town’s landmarks, and the museum one of Vernon’s “hôtels particuliers” contains two of his works.
At Vernon you could use impressionism as a uniting theme for all your activities: Visiting galleries, taking river tours and attending workshops, all retracing Monet’s steps.
Lets explore the best things to do in Vernon:
1. Vernon’s Streets
Vernon is just a small town and isn’t loaded with blockbuster monuments, but what it does have is a web of old streets with timber-framed houses from the 1100s up to the 1600s.
The oldest bits are around the collegiate church, and it’s worth going slow so you don’t miss anything.
The newer, residential parts of Vernon are still historic, and are a little grander, with long, arrow-straight avenues like Victor Hugo and l’Ardèche flanked by lime trees.
If you want to contemplate the Seine, Quai Garnuchot is a quiet lane with a grassy bank by the water.