Fly fishing day trips from Paris
Classic chalk-stream brown trout
party starts in the park of the château de Radepont
The Andelle is a typical chalk-stream of Normandy. It is
a tributary of the river Seine and it is flowing in the region called
the Norman Vexin (roughly between Rouen and Giverny). It is so easy to
reach from the city -1h30 drive- that it is often fished on Days trips
the Norman Vexin, near the river Andelle
The Vexin region of Normandy offers a wonderful
countryside where the famous Parisian sportsmen of the golden age,
liked to have their week-end properties. Meadows and streams are
visited at dusk by a handful of fly fishing ghosts named Charles C.
Ritz, G.E.M Skues, Frank Sawyer, Louis Bouglé, Georges Hardy or
Odette Pol-Roger. We could also mention Ernest Hemingway, his son Jack,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Winston Churchill and many other more local
Follow us ...
Day trips from
Paris are very easy to organize -
There is also a
great choice of wonderful accomodation to stay overnight -
Day trips from
typical schedule of a day trip is the following...
You should leave Paris in the late morning or
early afternoon. We would meet somewhere for the road and we will
smoothly drive to the fishing place. There is a 1h30 drive and nice
countryside landscapes to be seen on the way. We usually stop for fresh
bread at one of the small market towns. Sometimes we are trying to
visit Giverny on the way.
We will start fishing when we arrive, and around 7.00pm we will make a
break for a now famous Gourmetfly riverside picnics. This will give us
forces for the long evening often ending well after 10pm.
We will be fishing until the last evening rise. We can drive back to
Paris at the end. You can also choose a nice place to stay overnight,
and continue your exploration of Normandy or drive back with no hurry
to Paris the next day..
church, in the Andelle valley
Prices & Accommodation
simply ask by email for the complete Normandy rates
Choice of accommodation for the Andelle
Quaint market town hotel
& Luxury B&B, at short distance - Manor hotel, slightly
or 3 days it is easy to combine the Andelle with the other streams of
Hotel for the Andelle
limit of our fishing stretch at the Abbaye de Fontaine Guérard
Fly Fishing on
On the Andelle we fish a ten miles private stretch with
a castle upstream and a 1.000 years old abbey downstream.On the Andelle
is found only wild brown trout. The Average size is around
30cm. Good fish reach 45 cm, a real trophy fish would reach 55 or 60cm.
The stretch is restricted to fly fishers only. It is a catch &
release river where the use of barbless hooks is compulsory.
Streamers are forbidden, nymphs are accepted, but the Norman
chalk-streams tradition, hence on the Andelle is to fish dry flies
on spotted rising fish. The typical fly would be an Adam's type #
14 or 16 or a brown caddis of the same size.
brownie by Carl Maijer on a dark-Hendrickson # 16
The season runs from mid March to early October. The
best months with important and varied hatches are May, June and early
July. The period mid-April, mid-May is risky. Mid-July to late August
can be quite good during the late moments of the evening. September is
the end of the season with pretty good days to enjoy.
By a nice
afternoon of September
Wading or bank fishing
We have a choice of stretches requiring either wading or
bank fishing. Hip boots are convenient at many places, but modern
lightweight chest waders are perfect for travelers. Even on bank fished
streams it might be needed to cast from the water or go across the
river... or to net and land a fish !
A good evening rise brown trout by François VDM from
South-Africa, July 2006
In the early season and in September we fish the middle
of the day (presumably the warmest hours). During the months of May,
June and early July, the best time is often the evening. You must be
prepared to fish quite late like until 10.30 or 11.00pm.
downstream by the abbey
Catching a wild
brownie at the terrace of the castle
There is an old French tradition for outdoors
gastronomie. In his hunting book written circa 1389, Gaston
Phébus describes picnics afield as the indispensable maul
harness! The riverside picnic is a moment of pleasure but also
a compulsory stage to take forces before a long evening. During the
best months we are always fishing very late -around the 21st of June
until 11.30 pm. The picnic is also often a moment when fly anglers of
different horizons can share a moment of pleasure.
evening of June 2003 gathered fly fishers from Colorado, Kent, Germany,
Portugal, Belgium, and a bunch of French members of the Fario Club. It
was a very special moment.
Lunch of opening
day in March 2003
is an enjoyable moment for both fishers and non fishers
2001 - Guests from Wisconsin and Minnesota, Kirk & Paula Hogan, Tim
Erdman and the legendary Carl Maijer. Soon ready for evening fishing
after a shot of aged calvados...
Normandy fly fishermen, Claude Petit and Laurent Sainsot from the
International Fario Club, Michel Bouteloup manager of a famous beat on
the Risle, and seated on the right, Bruno Morelle president of the
river Andelle fishers association.
Spanish paëlla with Sterling & Dorothy
season picnic with Peter & Danielle from Canada
Spring days in
A nice article
in the American travel magazine "Wild on the Fly"
Thank you Joe !
- Readings -
|Odette Pol Roger - The grande dame of the
It was the end of January 2001, after a hunt in the
forest of Louviers. A nice male roebuck had been shot and I asked the garde,
if he could put aside some skin for my next season caddisflies. He
assured it would be no problem. -By the way-, he said. -Are you aware
that Madame Odette Pol-Roger passed away recently ?
- No, I replied, realizing with surprise that I was even unaware that
she had been still alive.
I knew her name, of course, from her association with the Andelle, my
favourite river. The upstream limit of our club, La Mouche
Charlevaise, is the fence of Saint Paul, the famous Pol-Roger
property. Saint Paul, for me had always seemed like the secret castle
of the Grand Meaulnes. Behind the wall, I guessed was certainly
hidden a lost world of pleasure and huge trout as I knew the river was
fished only once or twice a year during the mayfly hatch. But I had
never paid much attention to anything else about Madame Pol-Roger. For
me she was only a lady of another age, owner of a Champagne brand in
Epernay along with a beautiful countryside house on the river Andelle
- Oh, but I must tell you her story, insisted the notaire. - I
heard many nice anecdotes from Jean-Claude, her river-keeper when he
gave me my German wire hair puppy. So with a glass of wine, some bread
and cheese, we retired to a comfortable spot near the fireplace in the maison
forestière where he told the story of Odette Pol-Roger.
-She was 89 years old, and she had met everybody in the world... le
grand Monde! Despite her French name she was actually British. She was
the grand-daughter of the wealthy Richard Wallace who donated his
Wallace collection to the city of London and the famous -still visible-
Fontaines Wallace to the city of Paris. Young Odette
was a beautiful woman and broke many hearts in Paris when she married
Jacques Pol-Roger. They soon moved to Epernay where Jacques, with his
father Maurice was running the famed Pol-Roger champagne house. Maurice
was known for spending more time afield than at his office. For him the
wild boars of the dark forest hills of Champagne were an almost daily
winter occupation. But come May and the brown trouts -truites fario- of
the Andelle were the main concern. Odette quickly became an
enthusiastic follower of Maurice. It was not long before she became a
real sportswoman and the soul of the name Pol-Roger on the Andelle.
The years between the 30's and the 50's will remain forever as the
golden age of fly fishing for the Norman chalk-streams. This was the
famous era of the chapeaux à plumes (feathered hats...)
Between Risle and Andelle around the bankers Vernes, the stock-broker
Gaillard, and the Pol-Rogers, at one time or another all the names of
importance to our sport appeared in this area. Charles Ritz and the
members of his -Fario-Club- French figures like Tony Burnand,
André Ragot, inventor of the fly named "andelle", Ernest
and Jack Hemingway, Louis Bouglé, Georges Hardy, Frank Sawyer,
and other guests of importance like Winston Churchill and Dwight D.
Eisenhower who -people say- is reputed to have fished the Andelle en
route to liberate Paris during the month of August, 1944. World War
II was also a time of important activity for the Pol-Roger. Patriotism
was a prominent family tradition of both the Wallaces and the Pol
Rogers. World War I war had been a moment of glory to her father who
became a French general and a crucial moment to her grandfather Richard
who employed his fortune to buy ambulances for the front of la Marne.
Her father-in-law Maurice gave funds to the résistance from the
beginning of the conflict. Odette never hesitated to carry secret
messages from Epernay to Paris, a journey of 200 km on her bicycle!
Once she was arrested by the Gestapo, but for lack of evidence, she was
When the war finished she was a natural guest of honor to the armistice
ball at the British Embassy. And this is where she met Winston
Churchill. It was bound to happen as Sir Winston was a ferocious
Champagne drinker and a great aficionado of the Pol-Roger
touch. For Champagne, Cuban cigars and beautiful women Winston would
have started another war. We know that Odette was a very beautiful
woman, and a champagne producer, therefore something had to happen...
What really happened no one knows. Great friendship and admiration
certainly was the base of the relationship. This made Odette very
famous in England. She was the permanent guest of the Embassy when Sir
Winston was in Paris and she opened the dance on his arms at the
farewell reception of the Ambassadors Duff-Cooper. Sorrow came with the
death of Winston Churchill. All the labels on the bottles of Pol-Roger
still remain bordered with a fine black line, as sign of perpetual
mourning. "Even today, when a cup is served it can still be the
inspiration for a toast to both of them... Added the notaire in
When, Jacques died young, in 1956. Odette then took over the management
of Champagne Pol-Roger and put her name on the list of the great
Champagne widows following the traditon of Louise Pommery, the famous
Veuve Cliquot, the Princesse Henri de Polignac, Lily Bollinger and
Camille Roederer. But, she still found the time to organize the great
social winter hunts and the fly fishing season at Saint-Paul. Odette
used to spend the period called in French: "les beaux jours" on
the Andelle. As years were passing she stayed a little longer each
year. Fly fishing and gardening were the highlights of these sojourns.
She introduced charm and élégance parisienne to
our sport. This is when she entered the legend of fly fishing, after
the river keeper could not resist telling everybody what he had seen at
dawn one morning in June. Odette had been to a party in Paris. The garde
was awakened when he heard the Bentley drive into the park. In the new
light of a beautiful morning, he went out for his usual round. To his
surprise, he saw Lady Odette wearing ball dress and jewels in the
middle of a pool, she was casting a fly rod with her right hand, the
left hand holding the line and her long gown trying to keep it dry
above the hippers. -I saw a big trout rising near the willow as I went
to close my curtains- she explained. -Would you get a net ? I think
I'll catch him today. And she did! No one remembers the fly she used
and what the trout weighed. Only the nice image of a beautiful lady
wading the pool at dawn dressed for a social ball in Paris, a sort of midsummer's
night dream, is recalled.
Much later, when she became older, she stopped coming so often but she
remained faithful to the river all her life. She never wanted to sell
the property and kept sending fly fishing invitations to a small circle
of grateful friends. She would always select a perfect day in the year
to show up and make a few steps along stream with the garde.
She used to tell him an old story with a stunningly neat and clear
voice. Clear like sparkling bubbles of an old vintage champagne he
would say. The story always ended by a long silence and she would sigh
and say, -J'ai bien vécu ... vous savez! (I lived well, you
know). And after a brief pause she would add, -Oh et puis zut! Il faut
savoir s'amuser dans la vie. (One must know how to have fun during a
long life. Zut ! is an old fashioned very polite way of cursing only
used by (well educated) grand-mothers nowaday). And she would gaze at
the Andelle, as if the river were drifting away her memories.
The story of my friend, the notaire, ended. As we continued to
sip our wine and talked of old friends I realized that Odette had left
our world near the same time as two other great figures of fly fishing.
Jack Hemingway and Arthur Oglesby had both died in December, 2000. Jack
Hemingway was the elder son of the writer, Ernest and Hadley
Richardson. He was the Bumby of the Moveable Feast and counted a lot of
friends among European and French sportsmen. He had fished the Andelle
with Charley Ritz. The Scotsman, Arthur Oglesby, had been nicknamed King
Arthur by his friends and peers for the unpublished record of
nearly 2,500 Atlantic salmon, including several really big fish, caught
on a fly during his life. I can truthfully attest that Madame Odette,
was ever faithful to her legend until the very end, as I am sure that
she and her two recently departed friends met together once again to
recall fish caught and almost caught during their meeting with the
great Saint Peter...
Au château de Radepont, le 20 août 2001.
More pictures of wonderful
champagne for the picnic
chalet with a temporary owner from Colorado
Police de la
Pêche - The river keeper controls a young poacher (his son)
Radepont -side A-
Radepont -side B-
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