Whilst Normandy has its fair share of great tourist attractions, it is also loaded with splendid gastronomic delights, being the home to some famous alcoholic beverages such as Calvados and Cider, in addition to some of France’s most revered cheeses such as Camembert. There are numerous villages in the Pays d’Auge area that are worth visiting, as well as an excellent route du cidre.
A drinkable brandy created, believe it or not, from apples. Calvados Boulard is one of the most famous brands. There are a number of Calvados producers you can visit: Château du Breuil near Le Breuil en Auge accepts visitors as does Espace Boulard near Coquainvilliers and the Coeur de Lion Estate near Pont l’Evêque. For a restaurant with a difference, visit the Bistrot Normand where you will enjoy your meal whilst seated in an 8000 litre brandy barrel!
Normandy boasts the famous villages of Camembert, Pont-l’Evêque and Livarot. In the village of Camembert you should be able to pick up a map of “the cheese route” if you fancy an extended tour and tasting!
In an area so well known for growing apples it should come as no surprise that there is also a large cider industry. The main production centres around the Pays d’Auge between Caen and Lisieux. For information on the route du cidre, go to: http://www.larouteducidre.fr/. The complete route is about 40km long and runs through the villages of Cambremer, Grandouet, St-Ouen-le-Pin, La Roque Baignard, Bonnebosq, Beaufour-Druval, Beuvron-en-Auge, and Victot.
Château de Breuil
Description: This 16th/17th century château (an exceptional example of the colombage architecture of the region) houses the distillery of one of Normandy’s most prestigious Calvados. Here the ‘apple is the centre of the world’. The double distillation of cider, which is then aged in specially selected oak barrels gives this Calvados an AOC Pays d’Auge unique to the region. Guided visits are compulsory.
Location: In Breuil-en-Auge, 7kms south of Pont l’Evêque on D579.
General Information: Open every day from 09.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00.
Our recommendations: Very much an adult excursion – you might have to drag your children along kicking and screaming!
Isigny Ste Mère
Description: You may have noticed pots of Isigny Ste Mère crème frâiche on your UK supermarket shelves – well this is where it all started. Here it is possible to see how the whole process evolves from milk to butter/Camembert/crème frâiche. Not only is the daily routine of dairy production presented but also its history and traditions. A video, a visitors’ route and the guided commentaries all help to bring alive one of France’s great traditions – farming and food production. The tour ends with the ubiquitous food tasting (a bit different from the usual wine tasting!) and may whet the adult palette to try such delights as camembert with calvados.
Location: On the RN13 between Bayeux and Carentan (10kms east of Carentan). Take the exit marked Isigny le Port.
General Information: Open all year round.
Our Recommendations: To make the most of your visit (guided tours only) you are advised to book in advance an English speaking tour. The tour lasts about 1h30.
For the children: This is something a bit different and makes for a fascinating excursion.
* please note that prices are subject to change, so check the providers’ website for latest information
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to Normandy:
- Chateaux / Gardens
- D-Day Sites
- Food & Drink