Saint Saens and the 23rd Psalm
By Philip on in Normandy, Saint Saens
Those familiar with the iconic twenty-third psalm which begins “The Lord is my shepherd…….” may also recall the following line – “in pastures green he leadeth me – the quiet waters by”….
Such an image is convincingly evoked when driving from Dieppe to Saint Saens.
The road climbs up out of Dieppe onto a wide plain of arable fields and large cider apple orchards. Soon however it descends, lowering one into the beautiful Varenne valley. Here the silver river glides gently through lush water meadows which are the valley floor.
On either side the ground rises up in huge rolling fields dotted with sheep and bison. Meanwhile like the thread of a necklace, the road itself links a series of small villages once reliant upon coaching traffic from Paris to Dieppe.
Farms, stables, water cress beds and saw mills punctuate the route. And from June until winter, all the way one is immersed in a landscape of ‘pastures green’.
Saint Saens is a just reward for this journey. The Varenne runs through it in two streams, once serving a large tanning industry.
Vestiges of the trade are evident in a canyon of fine town houses built by wealthy tannery families. The heart of the town is marked by convivial commercial activity generated by a healthy collection of little shops. Bakers, green grocers, a fishmonger, a butcher, a charcuterer, a miniature Fortnum and Masons, all mustered close together in a ‘rue principale’ seething with life.
Here 35 minutes from Dieppe, and Rouen, the visitor will find a warm bed and breakfast welcome.