Fantastic place just off the Coast
This place was one of the highlights of our France trip. Located in Crepon, a short drive from Bayeax, just turning into the 13th century fortified farm made you feel welcome. The price of 88 euro per person, includes their Terroir menu (three course meal) and a pretty good breakfast spread. Dinner alone was 26 euros, or you could upgrade the meal. The rooms were huge, some with a sitting area. Wonderful antiques all over. An outdoor seating area where we met other guests. Those Bentley owners love to talk. Mostly an older crowd. My wife and I were the youngsters at 50. My dad loved the place and the cat liked my mom. The staff was excellent. This is one place I really would like to return to.
Driving in Normandy
Don't be afraid of driving in Normandy. For Americans, it is actually quite easy. The French drive on the same side of the road as we do, traffic was not bad (in August), the roads were good, and navigation was manageable. I rented from one of the major European brands, but many familiar names offer rental cars in France (start searches on you favorite search engines and add Autoeurope and Europcar to the list.) You can rent a car at most train stations, airports and near any ferry terminal. Before you leave home buy the Michelin REGIONAL maps for the area you plan to visit(512 covers Normandy.)
A few simple things. The road signs are toward the next city or town. You really need to know what is in the direction you want to go in. Route numbers are not always marked, and sometimes when they are the markings are tiny and hard to find. If you look for the signs to the A84 you may never find it, if you look for the main road from Mt. St. Michel to Caen, you can't miss it. It takes a little while to get use to navigating this way, but it really works well. You will encounter traffic circles. The easy general rule is that unless otherwise marked, cars entering the circle must yeild the right-of-way to cars already in the circle. An Arie is a service plaza. Beware of trafic cameras, they just mail you the traffic ticket, if you don't pay it the retnal car company charges it to your credit card. Public transportation is limited in Normandy and places like Crepon can only be reached by car. Driving is easy, fun, and you will get to see places that timid tourists never see.
Fine dinning at the farm
Perfect dinner at what was once a fortified 13th century farmhouse. The owners have gone to great lengths to make this a wonderful place to lodge and then have dinner. The 26 euro dinner included with the overnight lodging cost of 88 euro person was excellent. A sample dinner included:
warm cheese terrine with apples, Calados and green salad
Aiguillettes of beef with green peppercors and shredded Vire chitterling sausage
a selection from an excellent desert cart.
Or went for the gastronmic menu of oysters, lamb, cheese and desert. (I still think I should have ordered the lotte/turbot iet langoustines. The over all dinner and service was first class.
Wonderful French Village
Crepon is located to the east of Bayeux about half way between the town of Creully and Arromanches on the coast. Arromanches was the site of one of the artificial harbors that was constructed in June of 1944 for the Allied invasion of Normandy. Parts of Crepon date back to the 1300’s including parts of the hotel that I stayed in (see the tips below.) The church tower in Crepon was a combination bell tower and defensive tower. The rounded area contained a spiral staircase and look-outs for invaders.
The village has a tiny Tabbac and bar. I went in to buy my morning diet coke (Coke-light and now Coke Zero.) I asked the barman in French if he spoke English, and he answered in English that alas he did not (how French!) I ventured forth in my limited French, “je voudre en coca light por le empartor” I am sure that my pronunciation was as poor as my French spelling. But the effort was well worth it, he produced a 1.5 liter bottle, they only size he had for take away sales. Perfect, and a bargain at 1.50 Euro.
There was a wonderful looking butcher shop in the village, oh how I wished I had access to a kitchen.
The first evening I had a couple of hours to explore before dinner and I asked at the hotel what was close by to go see. Madam recommended that I drive down to the beach and drive along the shore. This is less then 10 miles away, over quiet back country roads. Now I knew I was in the middle of the D-Day beaches, but I was surprised to find the shell of a German gun emplacement; still standing after over 60 years.
"Farming the Sea"
100 yards from the gun emplacement was this delightful little seafood shop. Shell fish is the local specialty, farming the sea has been a way of life for centuries.
Calvados producers and cousy inns
I´m planning to visit Normandy at the end of Sept.
Could anybody give hints of the nice calva producers to visit and old hotels or inns in the area to stay?
Re: Calvados producers and cousy inns
Have a look here :
Ferme de la Ranconniere
14480 CREPON NORMANDY - FRANCE
+33 2 31 22 21 73
For Calvados :
La Ferme de Billy
31 Rue de L'Eglise
+33 2 31 26 50 51
Re: Re: Calvados producers and cousy inns
If you plan to stay on the countryside rather than the coast, I would definitively recommend the Pays d’Auge (a wonderful region near Lisieux, very well preserved). I usually go to the Cotil (http://lecotil.free.fr), a farmhouse from the XVII° century, designed with antiques, oriental carpets and old furniture, florid with patterns of blue-grey, red brick and shady yellow. The three rooms are very spacious and comprise a living-room. The breakfast is served in the dining room, or outside if the weather is fine. There are other option in the area, like manors, small hotels and bed & breakfist.
As far as Calva (and cider and pommeau) is concerned, the Pays d'Auge is on the Cider Road where are located most of the cider and calva producers and the balad is tremendous (http://routeducidre.free.fr). Personally the calva of Michel Huet is my favourite (14340 Cambremer tel 0033231630109) and you can visit his cave.
Have a nice stay and do not hesitate if you need further info.
Re: Calvados producers and cousy inns
Thanks so far for the really helping tips!
Just what I´m looking for.