In Seine-Maritime, at the heart of the Normandy countryside, the meanders of the River Seine pass a number of abbeys, real architectural treasures that bear witness to the region's history. Founded by St. Philibert in the 7th century, Jumièges Abbey, considered to be one of France's most beautiful ruins, impresses visitors with its two Romanesque towers reaching a height of fifty or so metres above ground, and its impressive open-air nave! 17 kilometres from there, the Abbey of St. George in Boscherville, founded in 1113, is another fine example of the Romanesque style and you will notice that the harmonious-looking abbey church is still intact. Note that the gardens have been restored following the same layout as in the 17th century. You can also admire a superb view of the whole site and the Seine Valley.
In Pays de Caux, the Abbey of St. Wandregisel in Fontenelle enjoys a lovely location in a scenic vale. It has kept is authentic character and is still inhabited by a community of Benedictine monks.
Overlooking Le Havre and the Seine estuary, Graville Abbey has undergone various periods of building work since the 10th century. Come and admire its remarkable Romanesque abbey church with a Gothic choir, as well as the extensive collection at the museum of sacred art. Round off your visit with a walk in the charming terraced gardens offering beautiful views over the surrounding area.
In Rouen, the Abbey Church of St. Ouen is a perfect example of the Rayonnant Gothic style and is greatly admired, especially for its dimensions similar to those of a cathedral.
Other religious buildings in the Seine Valley are also worth a visit, like the old Cistercian abbey of Le Valasse, the Caudebec-en-Caux Church with magnificent Flamboyant Gothic portals, or Montivilliers Abbey, one of the oldest in Normandy.
If you like, you can follow the Historic Normandy Abbeys Route, an itinerary to discover nine abbeys located in the Seine Valley between Rouen and Fécamp.