The Norman Venice
At one and a half hours from Paris, in the center of the triangle created by the regional capitals of Rouen, Caen, and Le Havre, Pont-Audemer is truly in the heart of life. Surrounded by wooded hills, rich prairies, and channeled pools, the town offers a variety of relaxing pleasures. Its development was organized around the point where seawater cedes before freshwater, on the rock outcroppings at the bottom of a valley and between which the Risle River branches out into numerous canals. Layered and overlapping, memories of a time when they clung together in the interior of a fort, the houses have only undergone small modifications, helping them to carefully come into our century while preserving their authenticity.
  The framework of the buildings is harmonious, it can show a certain ease without being ostentatious, much like the dwellings of the tanning merchants who, since the Middle Ages, knew a real prosperity. Sometimes, as a result to these beautiful architectural elements, to the beautiful alignments, the dwelling is more modest, like these small houses paneled in wood, glued along the edge of the canals and accompanied by open-air dryers for skins. They used to shelter workers and artisans. Around its remarkable church, with its stunning stained-glass windows, well-known organ, and old preserved paving stones, Pont-Audemer has everything to become a veritable must-see town. But, in order to be the strongbox of local values, it preferred to rehabilitate the house of Alfred Canal, with its rich collections, making it a little amateur’s office augmented with rooms for temporary expositions; it is, however, truly in his image. The town itself has never stopped. It grows with aesthetics and enthusiasm, endowing itself with well-maintained and well-planned industrial zones.   
    Life here is also an important theatrical and musical activity, as well as one of gourmet pleasures. Chocolate-makers, delis, and cheese artisans have made strong marks on memories. Cafés and quaint restaurants fill their terraces from May to November. The open-air markets on Monday and Friday take up a large part of the downtown area. The stands of the local gardeners, the smoking cauldrons of the butcher, the living poultry all have such an authenticity that certain people talk of it taking on an unreal atmosphere.