With a few days before a meeting in Paris, I took a little road trip through Normandy and Brittany.First stop: Beuvron-en-Auge, Normandy.
This quaint little village is in the Calvados region of Normandy, which is famous for its cider and namesake distilled cider liquor.
Beuvron-en-Auge is also one of the most beautiful villages in France, which made for some very pleasant exploring.
France... how do they do such a good job keeping small business operating there? Even in the largest cities, they respect - and most often prefer - small, locally-owned shops like this one.
Normandy is famous for its crepes and galettes (crepes made with buckwheat flour). This little shop had some delicious options too. I had a galette with baked apple, local farmer's cheese, and smoked ham. It was incredible... salty, savory, sweet and all around delicious.
So peaceful. The half-timbered architecture is very charming too.
The town is a little sleepy too.
I couldn't tell if this place was a hotel or not. Apparently it is the Old Manor (Vieux Manoir). It certainly is huge.
That just might be the loveliest little post office in the world.
The village is certainly not very big; you can walk from one end to the other along the longer axis in about 5 minutes.
These half-timbered houses date back to the 17th and 18th century; they have been lovingly and carefully cared for and restored.
I think this place was a hotel... not too bad. Beuvron-en-Auge would be a great place to escape for a week or two of peaceful relaxation. I could just imagine going for walks and bike rides through the local countryside, farmsteads, and orchards, enjoying the locally produced, farm-to-table food, and spending the evenings sipping calvados and cider, preferably near to a cozy wood fire.
It's difficult to imagine now that such a peaceful and beautiful place like this went through the heart of both World Wars. That church's steeple would have made a deadly sniper post.
This is the coat of arms of the village.
Ah, the Cider Route... now that's what I'm talking about. The local cider was indeed delicious. Unlike many American ciders, the local cider I sampled there was crisp, refreshing, and not at all too sweet.
A large cider press. I couldn't tell if this was mostly decorative or still fully functional. It looked like it could very well be functional, and I really wouldn't be surprised if it was.
The local cheese was also delicious. The style was soft and creamy, served with an edible rind (like camembert or brie). The flavor was fantastic: rich, creamy, and subtly nutty.
Around the village, there were several places like this: little farmsteads selling fresh milk, cheese, mousse, patés, jams and jellies, honey, and of course, cider and calvados. Touring by foot or bike between these places and sampling the various goods would be another great way to spend some time during that relaxing holiday I'm now dreaming about.
Like I said, the surrounding countryside was quite pleasant too. The infamous hedgerows from WWII criss-crossed the landscape, making a patchwork of the farmland. I was there in July, and everything was very green and in full bloom. Fairytale Land at its very best.
Being in Normandy, the region of the D-Day Invasion to liberate France from the Nazis, there were reminders of the war all around.
Note how this steeple and part of the roof around it has been rebuilt; I'm betting that was destroyed during the war. That church overlooked the surrounding countryside with the view shown below... it would have been a perfect place for a sniper or MG42 gun nest.
Note the Union Jack flying there alongside the EU flag. In Normandy, they still fly the American, Canadian, and UK flags in towns that were liberated by the Allied nations. It was wonderful to see how the history is remembered and respected there.