Picturesque apple orchards meet historic towns, half-timbered manor houses, and farm-fresh products in the Pays d’Auge, an area of Normandy that exudes rural charm. Located between the cities of Caen and Rouen, the hilly region is a hub for tasting cider, calvados brandy, and cheeses including Camembert, Livarot, and Pont-l’Évêque.
A bit less known than other parts of Normandy, the Pays d’Auge is all about gastronomy. Cider and calvados are a highlight, whether you’re visiting one cellar or following the whole 25-mile (40-kilometer) Cider Route (Route des Cidres) between cider producers. This is where Camembert cheese is from, too, and cheese factories such as Fromagerie Graindorge welcome the public for tastings. Since the Pays d’Auge region itself is relatively compact, tours of the region often combine this area with nearby spots including Honfleur and Bayeux.
Things to know before you go
- The Pays d’Auge is ideal for walking. It’s possible to link up villages using networks of paths and quiet roads.
- Some rural villages can be difficult to manage with wheelchairs or strollers due to uneven surfaces.
- This is a great spot for language buffs. Listen for occasional snatches of Augeron, the region’s Norman dialect that’s considered endangered.
How to get there
This region is not strictly defined—you won’t cross a border while coming into the Pays d’Auge. Generally, the Pays d’Auge is the basin of the Touques River, mainly in the départements of Calvados and Orne. (A small part of the Pays d’Auge is in the département of Eure.) Liseux is the biggest town here, a historic spot that’s also a major Catholic pilgrimage destination.
When to get there
A series of festivals celebrate the products and producers of the Pays d’Auge, providing wonderful times to stop and explore the region’s flavors. Among the best is the October apple festival in Orne, featuring cider tastings and competitions. Also in October is the Beuvron-en-Auge cider festival, which displays a vast range of alcoholic drinks along with a produce market.
Catholic Pilgrimage Sites in Lisieux
With just over 20,000 inhabitants, this Pays d’Auge town draws some 700,000 Catholic pilgrims each year. (It’s second only to Lourdes among French pilgrimage sites.) They come to pay their respects to the 19th-century Saint Thérèse at the Basilica of Saint Thérèse, or visit the Carmelite nun’s family home at Les Buissonnets. The grand Liseux Cathedral is another top site, with a vaulted nave that recalls Paris’ Cathedral of Notre Dame.
- Trouville (Trouville-sur-Mer)
- St. Catherine’s Church (Eglise Sainte-Catherine)
- Merville Battery (Batterie de Merville)
- Ranville War Cemetery
- Pegasus Memorial Museum (Pegasus Bridge)
- Abbaye aux Dames
- Caen Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen)
- Normandy Museum (Musée de Normandie)
- Caen Castle (Château de Caen)
- Abbaye aux Hommes
- Caen Memorial Museum (Mémorial de Caen)
- La Colline aux Oiseaux Park (Parc de La Colline aux Oiseaux)