La Bouille


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The village of La Bouille is delightfully situated at the foot of a wooded hillside on the south bank of the River Seine. It is about 12 miles from Rouen and 40 miles from Le Havre. La Bouille is a quiet residential village and picturesque riverside resort.


The population of La Bouille is about 1000.  Like Whitchurch, there is an old part, with buildings dating from the 18th century, and a new residential estate built in the last 30 years.  La Bouille, however, has managed to keep a wide range of shops including a baker, grocer, newsagent, hairdresser plus antique and craft shops.  There are also a couple of hotels and several restaurants and cafes. Day trippers from the city of Rouen help to support these establishments.


La Mairie (town hall)

References to La Bouille in the literature date back to the early 13th century when, in 1203, King John of England, also Duke of Normandy, defeated his nephew Arthur at Rouen.  Arthur’s body was recovered from the Seine at La Bouille and buried at the site of the present church.

One of the features of the village is Le Bac, or ferry, connecting La Bouille to Sahurs on the other side of the river.  Up to 1925, Le Bac took the form of a 30 foot long shallow-draft boat propelled by two men using 18 foot oars in the standing position.  There were also two rowing boats for foot passengers, each operated by a single oarsman.  A single ferry, capable of carrying lorries and towed by a motor vessel, replaced these boats.  The current Bac has its own engines and dates from 1988.


La Bouille has many artistic connections.  In literature, the list is headed by Hector Malot (1830-1907), writer of children’s stories.  His novel, Sans Famille, enjoyed enormous success in France and abroad.  There is a memorial bust of him in the village.

Over the years, La Bouille’s picturesque setting has been has been the focus of many famous painters, including Gaugin and Turner.  The latter published sketches of the village in his Great Rivers of Europe project.

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