As part of my series of posts on the Paix de Caux in Normandy and the Côte d'Albâtre (Alabaster Coast), I thought I would present our pictures of the small town of Veules les Roses. From the creation of the county of Rouen and of the Duchy of Normandy in 911, the Vikings settled a great number of people in the Paix de Caux and left an enduring legacy in the Cauchois Norman dialect but also in the ethnic makeup of the Cauchois Normans. Cauchois is a notable dialect of the Norman language and the Pays de Caux is one of the remaining strongholds of the Norman language outside the Cotentin. Nestling since the 4th century in the hollow of a valley opening on to the sea, Veules Les Roses will seduce you with the charms of its seashore, its rich heritage and its wooded setting crossed by the smallest river in France, the Veules, only three quarters of a mile long. Before 1897 the town was called Veules en Caux, the mayor of the time changed the name to a more evocative Veules Les Roses.
The town is small with quaint narrow streets. The church shown above is Saint Martin, dating from the 13th century, inside the columns are carved with shells. Martin of Tours (316-397) was a Bishop of Tours, whose shrine in France became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Around his name much legendary material accrued, and he has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints. As he was born in what is now Szombathely, Hungary, spent much of his childhood in Pavia, Italy, and lived most of his adult life in France, he is considered a spiritual bridge across Europe. He is a patron saint of soldiers.
The river Veules comes out here, into a little pond and then out to the sea. At one time there was a water-powered mill here called the bottom mill or sea mill dating from 1235. It was a corn mill until 1850 when it was converted into an oil mill. It was torn down in 1928. The old postcard is from around the turn of the century and I think it shows the old mill. The wheel was turned sometimes by the river but also by the ebb and flow of the tides by an ingenious mechanism designed by a carpenter from Dunkirk. The Veules waters the small town of Veules-les-Roses and takes its name from Wellas (1025. Plural Old English wella / wiella source, fountain, stream like Wells England).
The river Veules starts out outside of town, where it is used to grow high quality watercress for the Paris market. There are three carefully restored waterwheels along it's path. It then flows through the center of town, creating a “Venice-like” experience with some thatched cottages along the way.
In 1826, fleeing an unhappy love affair, an actor of French comedy, Anaïs Aubert, spent time in Veules. Upon his return to Paris, he spoke warmly of the charm of Veule with his friends. Men of letters and artists flock to the town; Chintreuil, Cock, Harpignies Mélingue Michelet, Meurice, Victor Hugo, the Goncourt brothers, Coppe, Richepin come to the village and Parisian society discovers a peaceful place close to the capital. They built beautiful resort-style villas for their accommodation. They have a memorial to Victor Hugo on the beach.
The boardwalk has a pool and playground for the children. It was not very crowded since it was early in the morning and the fog was still burning off.
There are a number of good restaurants in town, including Les Galets, La Marine and Le Petit Veulais. We did not eat here but the setting is superb. If you are looking for an intimate town on the Côte d'Albâtre, with lots to see and a cooler climate than Paris, consider the charming beachside town of Veules Les Roses.
Veules les Roses: http://www.veules-les-roses.fr/
TripAdvisor Veules Les Roses: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g1498940-Veules_les_Roses_Seine_Maritime_Haute_Normandie_Normandy.html