Picture-postcard Normandy - an orchard in bloom, a half-timbered house and ‘pie rouge’ cattle, generally on the lid of a Camembert box. The image is not far from the truth for springtime visitors to Normandy when the apple trees are in full bloom and includes the Pays d’Auge.
The Pays d’Auge region extends over parts of three départements : Calvados, Eure and Orne. Coming from Argentan, the first hills of the Pays d’Auge can be seen on arriving at Trun when the flat plains suddenly become wooded hillsides, separated by valleys of meadows. The houses change too. The white, lime-washed buildings of the plains gradually give way to half-timbered and brick-built houses. The layout of villages becomes more spread out and in Pays d’Auge it is not unusual to find the ‘mairie’, church and local café in three different pars of the countryside ! Not always easy to know where you are !
Dwellings are very scattered. Many farms disappeared with the rural exodus. Half-timbered and cob buildings with thatched roofs were no longer maintained, fell into disrepair and were demolished. Those which remain, both farmhouses and homes, are well looked after and bedecked with flowers, surrounded by apple and pear orchards.
Pays d'Auge – birthplace of Camembert
Cider farms and cellars in Pays d’Auge
Locals recommend having a glass of AOP Pays d’Auge cider with Camembert. « Very different from eating apples, cider apples are small and very rich in tannins. They fall into four categories, sweet, bittersweet, bitter and acidic and only 50 varieties are used from among the 750 which exist in Pays d'Auge. 70% of the apples used in making AOP Pays d’Auge cider are from the bitter and bittersweet categories. »
The cider farms and cellars of Pays d’Auge are open to visitors and producers are delighted to explain how the cider is made.
How to get to Pays d’Auge ?
From Argentan, follow Vimoutiers/Lisieux or take A28 and exit at Gacé.
Explore Orne in Normandy with Gites de France Orne : Pays d'Ouche, Suisse Normande and Pays des Haras"