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La Route du Grison in Southern Normandy

Logo RDG Route du Grison HD

Beginning at the end of the 8th century, great sea-faring warriors called “Vikings” arrived from Scandinavia and destroyed the English, Scottish, Irish and French coasts. Rollo, their leader, chose to go back up the Seine and capture the Eure Valley. The royal French power, not strong enough to overcome the raid, chose to abandon the Basse Seine territories, by the Saint-Clair-sur-Epte verbal treaty, in 911. Rollo then received possession of a duchy called “Normandy,” from Nortmanni which means “men of the North.”

In 1035, William I became Duke of Normandy. A little later, he was involved in the conquest of England. In 1066, he became known as “William the Conqueror,” King of England. The conquest enriched Normandy, which became a threatening area for the king of France.

Henry I Beauclerc, one of William the Conqueror’s sons, continued his father’s work :

he built new castles on the borders, thus keeping Normandy safe from any invasion for a century.

In 1189, Richard “the Lion Hearted” became duke. For his entire life, he struggled with the king of France, Philippe Augustus, who always wanted to invade Normandy. In 1204, the latter ended up taking it (by capturing the château Gaillard and the surrender of Rouen). That was the end of the Duchy of Normandy which would be permanently abandoned by England in 1259 as a result of the Treaty of Paris.

There were almost three centuries during which the Avre Valley had the dangerous honour of being the border between France and Normandy. Many fortresses were built to act as defences in this valley. The most important ones were Verneuil, Tillières and Chennebrun, located on the first line of defence along the river Avre. Also important were the Avrilly, Breteuil, Gouville and Damville fortresses, a little farther north.


verneuil sur avre-grisonFollow la Route du Grison in Southern Normandy and discover villages, fortresses and religious buildings which are remnant of Normandy’s glorious history. 

Brochure available at Verneuil Tourist Office.



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