Tourism in Bernay
A “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire”
Bernay was the first place in the Eure department listed as a “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (Town of Art and History) due to its rich natural and artistic heritage, and the efforts gone into its preservation. And you’ll be enraptured by its treasures. To help you best discover Bernay, the town’s tourist office has focussed on three themes to help you organise your visit - Water, Stone and Wood.
The Charentonne and the Cosnier are the two rivers that run through Bernay (which quite fittingly means “crossing over the water”). The riverbanks are perfect for a pleasant stroll, and the rivers have also contributed to the town’s prosperity through their driving force and the lightness of their waves, with mills, crossings, troughs and wash-houses standing as testament today to this.
From 1008 onwards, except for the transformation of the Moulin de la Grosse Tour into a cultural centre in 2000, the most remarkable monuments in Bernay have been tied to Catholicism. These include the Abbaye and Abbatiale Notre-Dame, the Sainte-Croix Church, the Notre-Dame de la Couture Basilica (“Couture” deriving from “Culture”) and the Couvent des Cordeliers.
There are at least 300 timber-framed houses, each with a unique appearance and covered in wooden sculptures, including of human figures, chimeras, snarling monsters and coats of arms. They are all a testimony to an urban landscape of the past, all perfectly preserved.
To get closer to nature, try golf, horse-riding, line fishing, nautical sports or simply idling away the hours. Plus, imagine a former railway that is 13 km long, completely off limits to horses and motors and accessible for disabled people. This is the Bernay-Broglie Voie Verte (multi-use footpath), crossing quaint villages and lush countryside and running along the banks of the River Charentonne.