Normandy from the source

Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny are known the world over; the weeping willows, lily-pads and ornate bridges were all made famous by his Impressionist paintings, but to see the real thing is a privilege. When I visited a few years ago, under a stormy autumn sky, the flowers were coming to their natural end and…

Why you should go to Toute la Mer sur un Plateau

1. The Toute la Mer sur un Plateau seafood festival takes place on 28-29 September right on the port of Granville, so you can pretty much eat seafood fresh off the boat! 2. Granville is France’s number one shellfish port, so if anyone can put on a cracking seafood festival, it’s certainly this town. 3….

Reasons to love a picnic

Aside from the Michelin stars and legendary classic cuisine, there’s another style of gastronomy the French do very well: the picnic, or rather, le pique-nique. The very word derives from the French words for ‘pick’ and ‘nique’ meaning small thing, so little wonder the French are good at lunch or indeed dinner out in the fresh…

Savour the flavours around the Mont-Saint-Michel

The most visited French monument outside Paris, the Mont-Saint-Michel enchants travellers from across the world with its narrow winding streets, panoramic viewpoints and imposing hilltop abbey. Surrounded by water at high tide, its unmistakable outline is visible from miles away, a landmark for pilgrims since medieval times. But this glorious corner of Normandy is also…

Five Normandy products that have nothing to do with apples

Normandy is justifiably famous for its apples – whether you sip a heady calvados, swig a glass of formidable cider or devour a sweet apple tart, there are myriad ways to enjoy them – but beyond the orchards, the region has a variety of other products to try. Bénédictine The jaw-dropping Bénédictine Palace in Fécamp…

Le Havre ticks the boxes for food & footie this June

When you think of foodie destinations in France, Le Havre is not exactly what springs to mind. Yet this buzzing coastal city in Normandy is a great weekend destination for foodies, families, friends and now footie fans, thanks to the fact that it is hosting seven matches during the FIFA Women’s World Cup between 7…

Top tables d’hôtes

As I take my first sip of pink champagne in the elegant salon of the Château de Saint-Paterne, I wonder if I could have got away with wearing slippers to dinner. Such is the friendly welcome at Charles-Henry and Ségolène De Valbray’s family castle near Alençon, you’re instantly made to feel at home. This is…

The joy of simple

It takes a dedicated foodie to map out their dining experiences before leaving for a holiday, researching restaurants through reviews and booking tables in advance. As rewarding as that is, I’ve had some great meals in Normandy in restaurants I’ve found by accident: when hunger strikes – especially when you’re in the company of small…

Livarot it up

On the eve of a journalist friend’s birthday, for which she will be holding a cheese and wine night,  I have decided to dedicate this week’s blog post to her favourite Normandy cheese, and one I hope will make an appearance tomorrow: lovely Liverot. Named after the village from which it originated, Livarot cheese is…

Poiré fermier at Ferme de l’Yonnière

The below blog post is an excerpt from brand new guide ‘The Cider Insider’ by Susanna Forbes, published by Quadrille, available in bookshops and on Amazon. In 1999 terrible storms whipped through the Domfrontais region, hauling out trees young and old, offering the poireculteurs of the region a reminder of the power of nature. Yet Jérôme Forget at…