From Falaise we went in a direct line to Croissanville: the road, which we intended to take by St. Pierre sur Dive to Lisieux, was utterly impracticable for carriages. From Croissanville to Rouen we almost retraced our former steps: we did not indeed again make a detour by Bernay; but the straight road from Lisieux to Brionne is altogether without interest.
There are two ways from Rouen to Paris: the upper, through Ecouis, Magny, and Pontoise; the lower, by the banks of the Seine. Having travelled by both of them before, we could appreciate their respective advantages; and we knew that the only recommendation of the former was, that it saved some few miles in distance; while the latter is one of the most beautiful rides in France, and the towns, through which it passes, are far from being among the least interesting in Normandy. In such an alternative, there was no difficulty in fixing our choice, and we proceeded straight for Pont-de-l’Arche. The chalk cliffs, which bounded the road on our left, for some distance from Rouen, break near the small village of Port St. Ouen, into wild forms, and in one spot project boldly, assuming the shape of distinct towers. These projections are known by the name of the rock of St. Adrien; thus called from the patron saint of a romantic chapel, a place of great sanctity, and of frequent resort with pilgrims, situated nearly mid-way up the cliff.—The chapel is indeed little more than an excavation, and is altogether so rude, that its workmanship affords no clue to discover the date of the building. Its south side and roof are merely formed of the bare rock. To the north it is screened by an erection, which, were it not for the windows and short square steeple, might easily be mistaken for a pent-house. The western end appears to display some traces of Norman architecture. The hill, which leads to this chapel, commands a view of Rouen, the most picturesque, I think, of all that we have seen of this city, so picturesque from various points. You can scarcely conceive the eagerness with which we endeavored to catch the last glimpse, as the prospect gradually vanished from our sight, or the pleasure with which we still dwell, and shall long continue so to do, upon the recollection. All round the chapel, the bare chalk is at this time tinged with a beautiful glow, from the blue flowers of the Viola Rothomagensis: the Isatis Tinctoria, the true Woad, is also common on the steep sides of the cliff. This plant, which is here indigenous, became, during the reign of Napoleon, an object of attention with the government, as a succedaneum for indigo, at the same time that beet-root was destined to supply the continent with sugar, and salsafy, or parched wheat, to hold the place of coffee. The restoration of peace has caused the Isatis to be again neglected; but the Reseda luteola, or, Dyer’s woad, is much cultivated in the neighborhood, as is the Teasel for the use of the cloth manufactory.