Destinations,  Europe,  France,  Travel Diary

A weekend in Yvetot, France

I’ve had this in drafts for over a year! Time to finally get it published.

Journal date: September 23-26, 2022

See also: Where I stayed: France for hotel recommendations.

Day 1 – From Rouen to Yvetot (Friday)

I had a few hours between checking out of my Rouen AirBNB and getting on my train, so I spent it people-watching in the train station. This time I also had to use the bathroom, which (like many public restrooms in Europe) was not free. In fact, this toilet was €1!

That’s pretty pricey, but I have to admit it was a really nice bathroom. And apparently the ticket lets you get a discount on purchases in the bathroom “store” which has miscellaneous travel products and snacks.

The train to Yvetot was straightforward; a mere 30 minutes on a local train with no assigned seating. This one luckily had electronic signage with the upcoming station’s name as well– there are announcements, of course, but sometimes I have trouble parsing French pronunciations so having a visual confirmation is good as well.

The Yvetot station is pretty small but has a good-sized waiting room inside, a few outside waiting areas, vending machines, a quick-stop food/magazine store, and staffed ticket counters. Everything you need, really!

Yvetot is fairly rural, so it’s interesting to see the different architectural styles compared to Rouen or Paris.

My B&B (not AirBNB, but a proper bed and breakfast) was supposedly ~20 minutes walking distance from the train station, but I always add at least 10 minutes to Google Maps’ estimate because a) I almost always get lost and have to backtrack or reroute and b) dragging luggage behind me on European sidewalks slows down my walking speed. I ended up walking through the main part of Yvetot which normally I try to avoid due to crowds…but there were no crowds!

My first night I went out to a Cochinelle Express to pick up some food, where the clerk offered to help me find specific things via Google Translate. That was the first time I actually USED Google Translate with another person, but I’d ended up doing it a lot here in Yvetot as most people didn’t speak English fluently.

Accommodation: Une Chambre D’Hote Yvetot

Run by a French couple for nearly 20 years, this B&B has only two African-themed rooms at the top of the house. It was a very cozy experience staying there! I had a double bed ensuite room, with a kettle/microwave/mini fridge just outside.

Breakfast was included– though it’s a French breakfast, so coffee, bread, jam, juice, and yogurt or apple sauce. Both hosts were very friendly, and stayed to talk with me during breakfast. Apparently I was their first American guest!

Check out their website for rates and more information.

Day 2 – Saturday in Yvetot

I awoke in darkness– sunrise isn’t until almost 8am and the blinds in my room are VERY darkening. It’s a rainy day and a little cold; the start of a week’s worth of rain clouds hovering over this region of France.

My hosts told me about a free audio tour that the local tourism office provides for visitors, with an English language track available. They also told me about a street market happening today, and thus my day was set.

It’s straight shot from the B&B to the main part of town, and though I get turned around a bit in the winding streets I eventually locate the tourism office (it was behind a bread stall that was set up for the market). The audio guide is indeed free, though you do have to leave a photo ID with the desk. The guide covers short history of Yvetot, the church, and the Ivory Museum. It’s a good guide, easy to listen to an absorb information.

The original Saint-Pierre church was destroyed during World War II, and the current building was built in the late 1950s. It’s famous for its large circular stained glass window, supposedly the longest in Europe.

The Ivory Museum is attached to the back of the tourism office. It’s €2,45 to enter. It’s a tiny museum but there’s a lot of cool things in there, and with the audio guide to explain things I found it worth the small entry fee.

Day 3 – Sunday in Yvetot

A very relaxing day! It started with meeting two bew B&B guests from the Netherlands. They spoke Dutch, English, French and German, so between us and our translation apps we managed to have a small conversation.

After breakfast I went out for an adventure. First I stopped at the grocery store and grabbed some bread and cheese, and then I made my way to the Manoir du Fay.

The Manoir is a historical building and grounds that are open to the public, though when I went only the outside was actually open. They have orchards to sit in and roaming animals to watch, and I had a lovely lunch sitting and watching the sky.

Back to town – unfortunately this is rural France, and at 2pm on a Sunday everything is closed. Eventually I found something that was open: Gallerie Duchamp, an art gallery for abstract art and artists. They have one artist on display at a time, and this month was Claude Rutault. Nothing was in English, but the staff member on duty spoke good English and managed to translate enough for me to understand a bit of the art on display.

I found Yvetot a wonderful little stop in my exploration of France, and I enjoyed my weekend visit. It’s worth a visit if you like stained glass, WW2 history or quaint French towns. You can do an overnight trip from Paris– it’s close enough on the train line that you could go in the morning, spend the day sightseeing, spend the night and then head back to Paris the next morning.

See also: Where I've Been (2022)

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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