The Art of Apple Juice: Following France’s Cider Route in Normandy
France Today - Aug 2 2018
Heidi Fuller-Love sets out from the village of Cambremer in the Pays d’Auge to discover the producers of Cru de Cambremer and learn about the history of cider-making and distilling in Calvados. Read the article
The Pays d'Auge stretches across three departments and is a cultural region known especially for its stud farms (about one third of racing horses in France are bred here), apple orchards to produce the famous cider, Calvados and Pommeau, the Camembert, Livarot and Pont l'Eveque cheeses and of course the Côte Fleurie (Flower Coast), which forms its northern border.
The Route du Cidre is a touristic route taking you on a 40km circular track through little old villages and many, many orchards, where cider and co can be sampled and purchased, the only one of its kind in France: a great route for a picnic. The route starts at about 5km from Château de Launay. In Cambremer it is worthwhile visiting the Jardins du Pays d'Auge, a beautifully landscaped park on 3 hectares, an inspiration for any gardener or simply a place to enjoy nature and tranquility. Do make sure to stop at tiny Beuvron en Auge, officially labeled one of France's most beautiful villages.
Operation Overlord, the largest military battle the world has ever seen, started on June 6, 1944 along over hundred kilometers of mainly coastline from Merville-Franceville Plage in the East to Sainte-Mère Eglise in the west.
At 30km from Château de Launay you reach the bridge over the river Orne at Bénouville, codenamed Pegasus Bridge where the very first action of D-day took place. An English paratroop brigade being dropped by gliders swiftly took possession of this strategically important bridge and "held out until relieved". At Merville-Franceville Plage, also at 30km from the château, the coastal artillery emplacement was another early objective of the Longest Day.
A small selection of our personally favourite sights and musea to visit are the Mémorial museum in Caen, the bridge and museum in Bénouville and the artificial port and museum in Arromanches. It is a must to take a Normandie Pass on your first visit. For only one Euro surcharche on your ticket, you obtain a pass entitling you to advantages and discounts on any subsequent visits to over 40 sites in total.
The capital of the Calvados department, Caen is located at 20km west of Méry Corbon. The city is worthwhile visiting not only for the Mémorial museum, but also for the Château de Caen in the center, where Guillaume le Conquerant (William the Conqueror) resided before setting out to conquer England in 1066 at the battle of Hastings. It houses the museum of Normandy. Caen has 2 ancient abbeys, the Abbaye des Femmes, founded in 1060 by Mathilde, Guillaume's wife, and the Abbaye des Hommes, founded by Guillaume himself around 1066. Besides history and culture, Caen has plenty to offer for shopping, strolling, wining and dining.
Staying on the tracks of Guillaume, you could visit his birth place in the Château de Falaise about 30km south of Caen.
A trip to Arromanches could easily be combined by a visit of the beautiful city of Bayeux. The first city to be liberated on D-day itself before the Germans could mount a serious defense, Bayeux was kept completely intact. Take a stroll through the old city, visit the cathedral and be sure to see the Tapisserie de Bayeux. Listed as a “Memory of the World” by UNESCO, the Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidery, 70 metres long, made in the 11th century. Celebrating the conquest of England by Guillaume, the tapestry could be called the world's oldest comic book.
Deauville, Trouville, Honfleur and Cabourg: These famous seaside towns form the "Flower Coast" of Normandy. Honfleur, at the Seine estuary, is especially known for its old picturesque port and the Ecole de Honfleur, which helped shape the artistic impressionist movement. With its racecourse, harbour, international film festival, marinas, conference centre, villas, Grand Casino and sumptuous hotels, Deauville is regarded as the "queen of the Norman beaches" and one of the most prestigious seaside resorts in all of France. Just across the river Touques from Deauville is Trouville sur Mer with its active fishing harbour. Closest to the Château de Launay is the seaside resort of Cabourg at 23km. A miniature version of Deauville, Cabourg is famous for being Marcel Proust's favourite vacation place at the beginning of the 20th century. His Balbec in Remembrence of Things Past was modeled after Cabourg.
The possibilities are virtually endless. Here is just a short overview of activities.
Discover the Pays d'Auge on foot, bike, horseback or kajak. Around 250km of hiking trails are waiting for you beyond our doorstep for all ages and levels of experience. Guides and addresses are available at the Beuvron en Auge Tourist Office.
The seaside resorts of the Côte Fleurie offer anything from sailing, wind- or kitesurfing, SCUBA diving or jet-skiing.
Golf enthusiasts have no shortage of options in our region. Here is a list of clubs in the area.