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Pays de Caux
Le Pays d'Ouche
Fly fishing day trips from Paris
Classic chalk-stream brown trout fly fishing
The fishing 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 from Paris.
Castle of 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 fishing glories.
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 Paris
|The 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..
Countryside church, in the Andelle valley
Prices & Accommodation
Please 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 farther.
Over 2 or 3 days it is easy to combine the Andelle with the other streams of Normandy
Hotel for the Andelle
Downstream limit of our fishing stretch at the Abbaye de Fontaine
Fly Fishing on the Andelle
Fish & Flies
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.
Excellent 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.
At sunset 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.
This 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
The picnic is an enjoyable moment for both fishers and non fishers
30 May 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...
Famous 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.
Logfire Spanish paëlla with Sterling & Dorothy
Early season picnic with Peter & Danielle from Canada
Spring days in Normandy
A nice article in the American travel magazine "Wild on the
Thank you Joe !
- Readings -
|Odette Pol Roger - The grande dame of the Andelle...
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 in Normandy.
- 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 soon released.
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 a sigh.
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 riverside memories
Honeymooners on the Andelle...
Chilling champagne for the picnic
The fisher's chalet with a temporary owner from Colorado
Police de la Pêche - The river keeper controls a young poacher
Castle of Radepont -side A-
Castle of Radepont -side B-
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