One of our travel consultants, Margaret Seears, visited Normandy to experience some of the local culinary delights on offer in Northern France on a tour with Nola Pontifex from Normandie Foodie.
With delicious local produce, visits to local markets and spectacular sightseeing, Margaret wrote all about her experience.
We had a fabulous time on the “Normandy Foodie Tour” with Nola Pontifex at her property ‘La Fromental’ in Normandy. Nola is an excellent host, fun to be with, great cook, driver & knows the area very well.
La Fromental dates back to the 1700’s and was built by an order of Monks who had broken away from the main abbey in the local village of St Sever. Up until 1999 the house was used as a milking parlour for the farmhouse opposite when it was bought and renovated into a family holiday home. The original features such as old oak beams & exposed stone walls have been kept. It was so nice to come home at the end of the day and relax by the slow combustion fire with a glass of wine in hand.
La Fromental is ideally located to visit the various Normandy towns, beautiful beaches and many attractions of the region.
St Sever is the closest village about 4kms away. The closest main town is the Villedieu les Poeles about 10kms away and 3 hours by train from Paris. Villedieu les Poeles translated literally as ‘God’s Town of the Frying Pans’!!
On our first day we had a later start because it was snowing, it didn’t bother us as being from Adelaide we rarely if ever see snow!!. We visited town of Falaise birthplace of William The conqueror. Visited the Château Guillaume Le conqueror, did a self-guided tour with rented Ipad, an ideal way to visit the chateau.
We loved day 2 as we spent the day in the lovely village of Villedieu les Poeles – local market, delicious lunch, tour of bell foundry and lots of shopping. The bell foundry is one of the only 12 foundries in the world, recently they made new bells for Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Calvados
Later in the afternoon we returned to La Fromentale for sunset and a Confit duck Cassoulet cooking class and of course aperitifs and wine
Day 3 another great day visiting the picturesque fishing port of Honfleur with its’ cobbled streets, 15th century half-timber houses & seafood market. Nougat shop was amazing and ate ‘moules frites (mussels & chips) at a local restaurant. It was nice to enjoy some sunshine. On our way home we visited one of the ‘beau villages ‘ of France, Beuvron en Auge with its old buildings & one can only imagine what it would be like in late spring , summer with flower boxes in all the homes & of course many visitors!!!
Day 4 Visited Mont Saint-Michel an amazing sight as it can be seen from miles away on a clear day!! Tour of the abbey with our guide Yannick, very informative as well as entertaining, tour lasted about 2 hours. Went to mass in Our Lady of 30 candles, there are 5 nuns & 4 monks still living in the abbey. There were many steps to climb to get to where tour starts, we needed to walk off a few kilos with all the good food & wine we had enjoyed.
One of the specialty food in Normandy is Agneau de Pré-salé or Salt Marsh Lamb. The lambs graze on salt marshes and the meat from the lamb has a unique flavour & tenderness. Lucky for us the local butcher in Avranches had the Pré-salé lamb, Nola cooked it perfectly and it was some of the best lamb I have ever tasted & of course washed down with a glass of red French wine!! . Avranches is an ancient market town and most of the town destroyed during the 2nd World War.
Calvados is an apple brandy from Normandy & the local speciality drink, it certainly warms you up on a very cold day!!
Day 5 we visited Caen & it’s local market. I couldn’t believe the local markets sold everything from fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, Iranian rugs, fabric to live chooks !!
Caen is a port city, with the Château de Caen, a circa-1060 castle built by William the Conqueror. Although we didn’t have time the multimedia Mémorial museum is worth a visit, it is devoted to World War II, the 1944 Battle of Normandy and the Cold War.
We had a fantastic time at La Fromental with Nola Pontifex from Normandie Foodie Tours & highly recommend the tour, the accommodation, Nola’s hospitality & the surrounds! Although we were sad to leave we looked forward to our next adventures in Normandy & Paris. From La Fromental the Normandy D day beaches and the beautiful town of Bayeux, famous for the Bayeux Tapestry are all within close proximity.
If you’d like to enquire about booking a tour with Normandy Foodie, or simply to find out more about Margaret’s trip, contact Angas Travel today.