Walk in the footsteps of François de Montmorency-Laval in Normandy South Eure

1 or 2 day tour in Normandy South Eure

In the 17th century, 4,894 French people emigrated to Canada. Of these, 958 came from Normandy, including a certain number of Paul Bertrand dit Saint Arnaud, born in Verneuil-sur-Avre in 1661. He lived in New France from 1693 to 1739. Married in Batiscan (Quebec) on 3 June 1697, he established a family there and his family has over 25,000 descendants in North America.

Its destiny is intimately linked to this ancient medieval city, located at the gateway to Normandy, founded in 1120 by Henry Ist Beauclerc, son of William the Conqueror.

Let yourself be carried along the river Avre to discover the village of Montigny-sur-Avre, where François de Montmorency-Laval, the first bishop of Quebec, was born.

Not far from there, in Tillières-sur-Avre, stroll through the streets of this delightful medieval fortress, stronghold of the high and mighty Le Veneur family. Jean le Veneur helped finance Jacques Cartier's expedition that led to the taking over of Canada.

Churches, castles, medieval towns, half-timbered houses...come and listen to the old stones tell you the history of your roots! 


Discover Verneuil-sur-Avre

(½ day)

The town has an exceptional heritage: ditches and remnants of ramparts, canals, timber-framed, turreted and chequered houses, churches and abbeys, private mansions, etc.

Self-guided or guided tour. Information from the tourist office.

Audio-guided tour on smartphone with the application IZI.Travel

Visit to the Church of the Holy Magdalene and its Tower (15th and 16th c.). Church of baptism of Paul Bertrand (27 November 1661) and church of the marriage of his parents Jean Bertrand and Marie Nelz (28 February 1645). A commemorative plaque near the baptismal font. Behind the church is the Rue du Nouveau-Monde.

A short stop at the Pot d'Étain, a 17th century Norman half-timbered house (visit of the exterior only). The hostellerie du Pot d'Étain was owned and run by Jean Bertrand, Paul's father. The last heir, Paul Bertrand, known as Saint Arnaud, sold it to the sisters of Saint-Nicolas Abbey in 1733.

As part of a classic or thematic guided tour offered by the tourist office, go in search of the secrets of St. Nicholas Abbey (17th c.).

Take advantage of your visit to Verneuil to discover and taste some local products from Normandyon one of the two weekly markets.

chateau montigny


The landscapes of the Avre Valley

tell you the history of New France from Montigny- sur-Avre to Tillières-sur- Avre

(½ day)

Discover by car, on foot or by by bike the landscapes in which your ancestors lived before leaving for New France. A tourist itinerary offers you the opportunity to discover the Avre Valley from Verneuil, passing through Montigny-sur-Avre, birthplace of Monseigneur François de Montmorency-Laval, the first bishop of New France, or Tillières-sur-Avre This is the stronghold of Jean Le Veneur, who helped finance Jacques Cartier's expedition.

Guided tour of the Montigny-sur-Avre Castle (18th century), a beautiful Louis XIV period residence, attributed to Mansard and the birthplace of the Montmorency-Laval family. Stop at the Saint-Martin church to discover the monumental bas-relief raised jointly by the parish of Quebec and France to commemorate the Franco-Canadian friendship and the work of François Montmorency-Laval.

Walk through the small fortress of Tillières-sur-Avre, village built on a hillside on the banks of the Avre river. Nature" or "historical" tours on your own or guided tours with the Tourist Office. In season, why not take the opportunity to taste some of the local produce? Like snails and visit their free-range farm in Tillières?


Lest We Forget in Normandy South Eure

immersion in the Second World War

(½ day)

The territory of Normandie Sud Eure is marked by the sacrifice of these young men who came from across the Atlantic during the two world conflicts to defend our freedom. Several cemeteries in the area bear witness to this, in particular that of Bérou-la-Mulotière, halfway between Montigny and Tillières-sur-Avre, where the graves of three airmen of the Canadian Air Force who died during the night of 10th to 11th June 1944 can be seen. 

In Verneuil-sur-Avre, parachutist Hector Sylvestre (22 years old) was shot by the Germans on 17 August 1944, along with Resistance fighters André Chasles, Jacques and Bernard Girard, Jean Pothin and Marius Bazile, two days before the liberation of the town. A monument has been erected in their memory at the back of the town hall park. In the town's cemetery, Hector Sylvestre's grave can be seen not far from that of another Canadian airman, 21-year-old Donald Dufton from Ontario, who was shot down on 13 August 1943.