Crecy-la-Chapelle — a Touch of Venice in the Parisian Countryside

The weather this October has been crisp and sunny, and so we have taken advantage of these stunning bright days to visit the countryside.  Crecy-la-Chapelle is about 40 km from Paris by train.  You take the E to Esbly and then switch to a tram which runs between Esbly and Crecy and is timed to the hourly Paris train.  The trip takes about an hour.  It is in the heart of the brie region and we hoped to visit the Sunday market and buy from local cheese makers.

It is an easy stroll from the train station in Crecy into the town.  This is a town noted for its moats and bridges and we crossed a little bridge to enter the town.

The view to the left is of a long promenade by a moat with small bridges going to the back gardens of houses along the way; we will return to the station by this route, but started the walk by heading into the town and market square.

The market on Sunday is set up to the right here; unfortunately as a result of a train mixup we got there just as the market was folding up and so missed out on the lady with the locally made cheese. On Sundays according to the train system’s own web site one takes a bus rather than the tram to Crecy from Esbly and so we missed the tram while standing at the bus stop and spent an hour in Esbly.  We had our Nook and Kindle and it was a lovely day; still not a place one wishes to spend an hour.  Since it was Sunday, even the cafe and  buvette were closed.

Since we missed the market, we decided to have lunch in a cafe on the square where many locals were having Sunday dinner.

The specialty seemed to be seafood and a number of residents were enjoying Sunday blowouts of pate followed by oysters, shrimp, tulip glasses of snails, and assorted shell fish.  Many others were having mussels in some sort of sauce.  

After lunch we headed around the corner to another moat.  The boys teasing fish at the head of this post were in a wash house on this moat.  There appeared to be good size trout in this fast running water fueled by the Morin River.

This is a nice stroll with wash houses accessible to passersby on this side of the moat; they looked like a great place for a picnic.This wash house belongs to the homeowners on the other side of the stream.  There are dozens of these small private landing spots originally designed for laundry but now adapted as boat landings, fishing perches and places to just enjoy the water.

At the end of this street is a bridge that crosses the moat and leads one through a back alley.

This is one of the original medieval fortifications of the town; there are half a dozen still standing.

Down an alley lies another in a small public park.

We continued through a covered passageway that dates from the 12th century and brought us to a street that led us to the River Morin painted by several of the artists that worked in the town.

 Corot lived in this house and painted many of the scenes in the area.  His  yard fronts on the river.

We took a look at the river before returning to the center of the medieval parts of town.

This house sits across the street from the Corot house as we headed back into the center.

Along Rue Dam Gilles, there are many short alleys that lead down to the water; in summer time they are used by local kids searching for a place to paddle.  But we had them to ourselves in mid October.

At the end of each of these tiny alleys is an Easter Egg — a peek at some secret and charming view.

This one afforded a somewhat precarious perch into the stream . . .

which rewarded us with a view of the mill wheel.

At the end of this street we crossed a bridge above the mill wheel on the way to the parish church of the town.

This is the view to the other side of the bridge across from the mill wheel.  The church has a 14th century bell tower but is an 18th century building.

About the time we arrived at the locked church, some locals were arriving to ready it for a later service and so we got a look inside.

This is a busy local church but not the chapel i.e. ‘La Chapelle’ for which the town is named and so our next venture was the mile long walk to the chapel on the outskirts.  But first we detoured down another street, ‘Rue de la  Halle,’ to view another moat.  These four British tourists were the only other outside visitors we saw this day.  Crecy is beautiful but not heavily touristed apparently.

Another charming moat; another lovely bridge.

And many wash houses.  I find these little spots fascinating.  They look like such idylic cozy  private places to while away some time with fishing pole or book.

This is the view of the moat through the back of one of the wash houses.

The first half mile of the stroll to the chapel is along another moat; note another wash house tucked into the wall to the left.  This path took us past tennis courts, soccer fields and eventually ends at a swimming pool where we then walked the final half mile on a sidewalk along a busy road that links Crecy with the next village Serronne.

The walk gives us a glimpse of rural countryside although most of the way is lined with houses or businesses.

The chapel  faces the road and is unprepossessing at first glance.

We were not quite prepared for its elegant gothic interior.  The chapel is often locked and only viewed through a screened doorway, but we were lucky.  There was a woman giving some sort of lecture on the church to a small group and so it was unlocked and we were able to see the inside clearly.

It was originally built in the 13th century and is currently undergoing restoration.  A stream has threatened the foundations .

Behind the church is a large field with benches that give a full view of the buttresses and gargoyles.

It it quite a stirring sight and we could not have chosen a day with better light to show it off.

We headed back down the road and then took the Promenade back to the train station.  This moat is a popular spot for locals to stroll and passes by a series of  small bridges to houses along the way.

Some of the houses and bridges appeared abandoned and gone to ruin, but most of the bridges were locked and well maintained and the homes appeared well cared for.

Some managed security with a drawbridge.

As we rejoined the street where we entered the town we passed another of the original medieval walls and fortifications.

Crecy -la- Chapelle is a delightful day trip from Paris.  If one has more time and energy there are paths that lead to other villages in the area.  The many moats and alleys and perches near the water make Crecy an ideal spot for people like us who particularly enjoy the beauties of  country streams.

This entry was posted in Day trips from Paris, Medieval Towns. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Crecy-la-Chapelle — a Touch of Venice in the Parisian Countryside

  1. Raegan says:

    Love it!!

  2. Janet says:

    It is a beautiful little town isn’t it?

  3. Dale Coghlan says:

    I’ve just joined your website (yesterday) and this little town is on my “to do” list next time. I like to do at least 2 day tours out of Paris when I am there. Can’t wait to sit down and read all your past posts

  4. phototrips says:

    Very detailed trip report with photos- enjoying it ! Thanks!

  5. Barbie says:

    Lovely Thanks.

  6. Lisa says:

    Thank you for such wonderful posts. We’ll be in Paris for 5 night’s in late September, but I’m more of a country girl, so this will be perfect!

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