Currently forming the natural border between the Île-de-France and Normandy, the Epte is also a historic border in its own right! In the Middle Ages, it was the boundary between the Kingdom of France and the Duchy of Normandy. A strategic place, it had a large number of fortifications and left a particular place in history with the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911.
A wild valley
Putting history aside for a moment, we suggest you go for a stroll in the small, picturesque villages of the Epte valley, (from Berthenonville to Vexin-sur-Epte, and then on to Giverny).
Undoubtedly the wildest of the three Nouvelle Normandie valleys, the Epte Valley has many different sides which can be discovered by car or, if you’re looking for a more authentic experience, on foot or by canoe-kayak!
By bike, on foot or by canoe-kayak
On foot, you will take the Epte greenway, which runs from Gasny to Gisors, and even a small portion of the London-Paris green avenue.
If you want to experience the more natural and rustic side of this Seine tributary, then a trip with a canoe-kayak is highly recommended. Rando-Epte and Cano-Epte can help you organise your outing!
Along the water’s edge, you’ll discover its preserved nature and remarkable fauna and flora which is protected at a European level (Natura 2000).
A few stops…
On your way, you will come across several villages, towns and hamlets and will be able to see or visit the treasures of their heritage:
- Berthenonville (Vexin-sur-Epte): its church, watermill and castle
- the covered alley of Dampsmesnil (Vexin-sur-Epte), a rare Neolithic vestige in the region
- Bus-Saint-Rémy (Vexin-sur-Epte): the churches of its 3 hamlets, its Cistercian abbey, its manor and the remains of an old castle
- the famous Fourges mill (Vexin-sur-Epte)
- Gasny: its church, the Benedictine priory of Saint-Niçaise
- Sainte-Geneviève-lès-Gasny: its church and manor
- Giverny: the house and gardens of Claude Monet, the Giverny Museum of Impressionism
The highlight of the show
Considered the birthplace of the Impressionist movement, Giverny is the village where Claude Monet took up residence for more than forty years.
It was by diverting a small arm of the Epte River, the Ru, that the painter created his famous water garden, whose water lilies now adorn the walls of the greatest museums in the world.
The house and gardens of Claude Monet
If there’s “one” thing you need to see during your stay, it’s this!
The whole place is just fascinating. Here, Monet imposed his colourful style and love of Japanese culture. The garden consists of two parts: the very flowery “clos normand” and the “water garden”, which includes the famous Japanese bridge.
A visit here is a bit like stepping into one of Monet’s paintings, so much so that you’ll never want to leave…
During his long years in Giverny, Claude Monet nourished himself with the surrounding landscapes and of course, the Epte River. In the “Poplar trees on the banks of the Epte” series, which includes around twenty works, he highlights the valley and this very tree that you certainly won’t fail to see during your walk.
After its peaceful meandering through the villages of Nouvelle Normandie, the Epte River finally joins the Seine and its twists and turns…
Along the hiking trails
If you want to explore the villages in the valley, we advise you to don your hiking boots!
Take the GR2 hiking route or our essential trails and enjoy the surprising landscapes nestled between small and large valleys
Which trail will win the prize for the most peaceful, natural, and poetic atmosphere?