Evreux is the capital of the Eure department, situated in Haute Normandie, France. The town has a population of around 60,000.
The town's history is a long and bloody one, which reflects the importance it had in the past:
- 5th Century: The Vandals destroyed old Evreux, which since the time of the Gauls had been a prosperous market town.
- 9th Century: The Vikings ruined the fortified town which had been built by the Romans.
- 1119: Henry I of England burnt down the town during a battle with the Count of Evreux, who was supported by Louis VII of France.
- 1193: King Philippe Auguste was betrayed by King John of England in Evreux, and razed it to the ground in his anger.
- 1356: The town was yet again burnt to the ground, this time by Jean the Good, King of France, during his struggle against the House of Navarre.
- 1379: The town was beseiged by Charles V, and was badly damaged.
- June 1940: German air raids set the town centre ablaze, and it continued to burn for nearly a week.
- June 1944: Allied air raids flattened the area surrounding the train station.
The museum, which is housed in the 15th century former home of the Bishop of Evreux, contains many interesting items collected during the town's turbulent past. Just next door is the Cathedral, which is also well worth a visit. The oldest remaining parts of the building date back to 1119, and the latest additions were made in the 17th century.
Outisde the walls of the museum, little remains to remind us of the town's important history, mainly due to the many wars which have sacked the town, not least World War II. Today, the town is the administrative and agricultural centre of the Eure department, but is of little national importance. It is becoming something of a commuter town, lying only an hour's train ride west of Paris, and 40 minutes' drive south of Rouen. Within Evreux itself, the main source of jobs is the rash of electronic and chemical factories which has sprung up on the outskirts of town.
As far as entertainment goes, Evreux leaves a lot to be desired. The best bar in town is Matahari, with its eclectic furnishings and music ranging from Bob Marley to The Smiths. Do not attempt to go clubbing. There is an excellent cinema, the Zenith, which has 10 screens and a wide variety of French and international films. If you fancy a decent omelette or salad for not much money at all, head to the Grand Café. There is a good Italian restaurant called Chianti, which does perfect pizzas, but apart from this, the restaurants leave a lot to be desired. The town's good transport links with Paris and Rouen mean that this does not present too much of a problem.