Discover the River Yerres: Mills, Menhirs and the Maison Caillebotte

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Discover the River Yerres: Mills, Menhirs and the Maison Caillebotte
In between confinements this year, I began following the tributaries of the Seine and the Marne in search of new walks near Paris. These minor rivers are generally not far from a railway station, stations which I had always assumed served faceless built up suburbs. Wrong. Yes, suburbs have sprung up around the medieval villages and hamlets on these little rivers but at the heart of them you will find traces of a many-layered past, existing side by side with modern infrastructure. And usually the closer you get to the river, the further back you journey in time and the more surprising and picturesque the walk becomes. L’Yerres, effet de pluie. Gustave Caillebotte 1875. Photo credit © Annabel Simms Wikimedia Commons Brunoy on the River Yerres, a tributary of the Seine 21 km south east of Paris, is a good example. In the seventh century it was mentioned as a royal possession, prized for the good hunting to be had in the nearby Forêt de Sénart. Its famous château was demolished in the Revolution but Brunoy continued to attract successful Parisians who built several imposing country residences there, some still standing although put to other uses. It is still essentially a residential town. 5 km walk along the River Yerres from Brunoy to Yerres From Brunoy station take the Place de la Gare exit marked ‘Bus’ which will bring you to the Rue de la Gare with a big brasserie/tabac on the corner. Follow it round to the right, past the modern Mediathèque and a small war memorial. You will see the spire of the church above the skyline on your left. Turn left to face the grandiose Mairie (1898) set in a little square with an imposing plane tree in front of it and the Tabac de la Mairie beside it in the Grande Rue on your right. This is a good place to stop for a drink, savoring the relaxed, almost provincial feel of the scene in front of you. In the Middle Ages this part of Brunoy with its 12th century church, built on the site of an earlier one, was surrounded by a rampart along what is now the Grande Rue, and it is still the heart of the modern town. With your back to the Tabac de la Mairie turn into the first street on the left, the little Rue Pasteur, then take the first right, the tiny Rue St Nicolas. Turn left into a narrow un-named cobbled street, more like a passage, which will bring you to the back entrance of the Eglise St Médard, built in the 12th, 13th and 16th centuries, embellished in the 18th century and restored in 2005. Turn right and go down steps into the Place St Médard. The main entrance to the church is up the steps on your left. Church. Photo credit © Annabel Simms From the church main entrance turn left and follow the Rue Montmartel round to the left. At the crossroads turn right downhill onto the Rue du Pont Perronet. You will pass a picturesque old mill which is now a hotel, on the site of an earlier mill belonging to the château. Milly at Brunoy. Photo credit © Annabel Simms

Lead photo credit : The river Yerres at the watermill of Pompierre, commune of Bernay-Vilbert, Seine et Marne, France. Photo credit © Pline, Wikipedia

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Annabel Simms is an English resident of Paris, with over 20 years' experience of exploring the Paris countryside by train, bus, boat and on foot. She is the author of An Hour From Paris (3rd edition 2019) and Half An Hour From Paris (2018)


  • Wendy Sweetser
    2021-01-29 10:21:14
    Wendy Sweetser
    A most interesting and informative feature that makes me want to immediately follow Annabel's route and discover for myself the places she has described and illustrated so vividly. Not possible for the foreseeable future, sadly, but one day. An Hour from Paris and Half An Hour From Paris are my go-to guides when I want to escape the city, made all the more indispensable as they have been so diligently researched. Looking forward to reading about Annabel's next trip 'out of town'.


    •  Annabel Simms
      2021-01-31 09:57:44
      Annabel Simms
      Thank you Wendy. As it happens, your comment was posted just as I was finishing another article for Bonjour Paris, about a walk along the Oise to a restaurant which is of course closed at the moment. But they have every intention of reopening as soon as lockdown is over. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy reading about it.