Abbey Notre-Dame de Grestain


Arlette was the daughter of a tanner in Falaise. When the future Duke of Normandy, Robert the Magnificent, saw the girl washing linens in the river, he fell madly in love with her. They both were sixteen years old...

According to the poet, Benoît de Sainte-Maure:

The colour of her skin was more delicate
Than a flower, rose or hawthorn.
Everything was perfect, her mouth, her chin
Never a more pleasing look,
Or more beautiful neck, or more beautiful arms.

The chronicler Philippe Mouskes, praised her beauty, but also her kindness:

(She)...became so beautiful
That neither woman nor girl
On earth,
Could match her beauty
Nor her merit, nor her goodness.

Robert, married her in the old Viking’s way or “danesche manere” the Danish way.

He much loved her and cherished her
But in the danwhe manere
He wanted to have her, not otherwise.
That’s what history says and is no lie...

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