Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 249 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.
Darnetal, a place that has risen considerably in importance, since the revolution, from the activity of its numerous manufacturers.  Its population is composed entirely of individuals of this description, to whose pursuits its situation upon the banks of the Robec and Aubette is peculiarly favorable:  the greater part of the goods manufactured here are coarse cloths and flannels.  Before the revolution, the town belonged to the family of Montmorenci.—­The rest of the ride offered no object of interest.  The road, like all the main post-roads, is certainly wide and straight; but the French seem to think that, if these two points are but obtained, all the rest may be regarded as matter of supererogation.  Hence, very little attention is paid to the surface of the highways:  even on those that are most frequented, it is thought enough to keep the centre, which is paved, in decent repair:  the ruts by the side are frequently so deep as to be dangerous; and in most cases the cross roads are absolutely impassable to carriages of every description, except the common carts of the country.—­There is nothing in which England has a more decided superiority over France than in the facility of communication between its different towns; and there is also nothing which more decidedly marks a superiority of civilization.  English travellers, who usually roll on the beaten track to and from the capital, return home full of praises of the French roads; but were they to attempt excursions among the country-towns and villages, their opinion would be wofully altered.—­The forest of Feuillee extends about four leagues on each side of the road, between Rouen and Gournay.  It adds little to the pleasantness of the ride:  the trees are planted with regularity, and the side-branches are trimmed away almost to the very tops.  Those therefore who expect overhanging branches, or the green-wood shade, in a French forest, will be sadly disappointed.  On the contrary, when the wind blows across the road, and the sun shines down it, such a forest only adds to the heat and closeness of the way.

The country around Gournay is characterized by fertility and abundance; yet, in early times, the rich valley in which it is situated, was a dreary morass, which separated the Caletes from the Bellovacences.  A causeway crossed the marshes, and formed the only road of communication between these tribes; and Gournay arose as an intermediate station.  Therefore, even prior to the Norman aera, the town was, from its situation, a strong hold of note; and under the Norman dukes, Gournay necessarily became of still greater consequence, as the principal fortress on the French frontier; but the annexation of the duchy to the crown of France, destroyed this unlucky pre-eminence; and, at present, it is only known as a great staple mart for cheese and butter.  Nor is it advantageously situated for trade; as there is no navigable river or means of water-carriage in its vicinity.  The inhabitants therefore look forward with some anxiety to the completion of the projected canal from Dieppe.

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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