Mantes-la-Jolie, the other royal town out west

When it comes to royal towns, those visited or lived by a king of France, Mantes-la-Jolie is it. In fact, it was Mantes, and then Henri IV passing by said that it was beautiful ,and from them on it was Mantes la Jolie (beautiful). It is in department 78 Yvelines, west of Paris. Very west on your way to Normandy.

It is very easy to get from Paris gare Saint Lazare as usually its end terminus for trains destination Mantes. It has two stations Mantes STation and Mantes la Jolie, the closest to city center. Both on the same line Paris Saint Lazare. It can also, go by south to Montparnasse station in Paris. By car, my way, you get there on the A13 direction Rouen, and exit 11. The best places to park is at Parking Hotel de Ville ,place Saint-Jacques and Normandie ,place Henri-Dunant both in city center.

The sights to see are the main one, Collegiale Notre Dame, then Hôtel-Dieu, tour Saint Maclou, and the Vieux Pont. In addition to a lively city center pack with businesseses of all sorts in a quaint old way. The highlights are as follows;

Collegiale Notre Dame ,Place Jean XXIII, gothic church from the 12-13C. Finally done in 1350 AD ,similar to Notre Dame de Paris in architecture layout.  67,7 meters long ( 223.4 ft) ,and 31.25 meter high (103 ft) . To the right face you see the Portail des Echevins, similar to that of the Cathedral of Rouen.

Tour Saint Maclou, built in early 12C, to honor the saint. Burned by William the conqueror in 1087 AD, closed down during the French Revolution from 1791.Destroyed most of it by bombings during WWII, today it only remains are  the tower from the 16C and a Roman wall of about two arches and pylons columns. The facade fixed several times still present  elements of the original church and as well the Crypt. 

Vieux Pont de Limay, its one of the oldest bridges in France ! It had 11 arches but was partially destroyed by French resistance trying to slow down the nazi advance in the area 1940. The original bridge had 37 arches!  Famous by painter Jean-Baptiste Corot, painting of the Pont de Mantes (1868) work that is exhibit at the Louvre . Limited restoration work has been done to try to revive the old bridge, now a newer bridge crosses the river Seine at this junction.

Hôtel-Dieu, now a museum. 1 rue Thiers, open every day except Tuesday from 12h to 18H admission is 5€. This old hospital for the needy, now a museum houses the collection of sculptures and stones link to the Collegiale Notre Dame and painter post impressionist Maximilien Luce.

The area has a huge amount of artisans of many offices, and wonderful stores that I enjoy a lot on weekends, especially on Saturdays with the family. These are the chocolats d’Isa, 8 place St Maclou, delicious local chocolates from masters of the arts and lot less pricey than in Paris, webpage http://www.chocolats-isa.com/ .Also, Atelier de l’Imaginaire, an ali baba oasis of souvenirs and gifts , frames, art supplies , fine arts, etc, 2 place Armand Cassan, webpage http://www.imaginaire78.com/  ,and Le Diable en Sucre, sweets par excellence with a local flair, sugary good, at 20 Rue de la Reillére, webpage http://www.lediablensucre.com/  The marché or market in town is on Fridays,and Saturdays at  rue d’Alsace, rue du vieux Pilori extended to place du marché au blé, place St Maclou in city center.

I do not use hotels here as live not to far, maybe 30mins, so only can suggest to go not far La Roche Guyon and stay at hotel Bords de Seine, webpage http://www.bords-de-seine.fr/ very nice property indeed. For eating in Mantes, go to Chez Antoine, 10-12 rue Henri Riviere, great ambiance, local products well done, great price, and try the cabillaud dish codfish fresh, most in the menu is provençale style. Webpage http://www.chezantoine.fr/ . Another good one is Au Bureau, near the cinema MGR,and sous prefecture or regional govt building  48 Rue Lorraine; Tel +33 01 30 92 96 60 no web ,live music in the evenings.  For lively ambiance in an Irish pub, O’Carolan, 2 rue de Houdan, just by the train station Mantes Station, and before getting to the city center area, tel +33 01 30 98 03 91, and live sporting events of course,no web.

if you wish to go out and eat in chains, along the A13 autoroute de Normandie, exit 13 just before the toll coming from Paris, you have Leon de Bruxelles, at http://www.leon-de-bruxelles.fr/les_adresses_des_restaurants/trouver_un_restaurant/8/mantes_buchelay.php

Also, same area, Courtepaille, webpage
http://www.courtepaille.com/restaurant-grillades/restaurant-ile-de-france/restaurant-mantes-buchelay.html  ; and Pizza del Arte italian eatery at http://www.delarte.fr/del-arte-restaurant-italien-pizzeria-mantes-la-jolie-buchelay,435.html  All three restos are next to each other.

The tourist office has a webpage for the Mantois area, I have in the contact page info. here http://www.maison-tourisme-mantois.com/nous_contacter/

The city of Mantes la Jolie has some info on tourist activities in the area here in French as well http://www.manteslajolie.fr/front/decouvrir/niv1_decouvrir.php

And the Ile de France region tourist webpage that includes Paris and all the areas around it is here in English, http://www.new-paris-ile-de-france.co.uk/

Hope it helps your stay in this town that needs a stop if only for the Collegiale Notre Dame.  Some photos

2 Comments to “Mantes-la-Jolie, the other royal town out west”

  1. I’m not that much of a online reader to be
    honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Many thanks

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