We are very passionate about this very unspoilt corner of France and its traditions and culture. We discovered it about twenty years ago and now visit several times each year to soak up its different pace of life.
Somehow, time seems to pass it by and the locals manage to keep their slow way of life in the beautiful countryside and unspoilt towns of the area.
The coast too plays its part, the tide dictating the tempo, with the huge mussel and oyster beds creating their own form of agriculture. The beaches are just amazing – so beautiful and unspoilt and rarely busy even in August. The locals will come out at low tide to pêche à pied – the traditional way of finding shellfish to cook for supper.
The country people often have amazing vegetable gardens, keep chickens, ducks, pigeons, rabbits and sheep all reared for the table. Everyone still buys fresh bread each day and still take their two hours lunch breaks when all the shops are closed.
Their traditional food and drink are an essential part of their culture too. Camembert de Normandie, Pont-l’Eveque, Neufchatel and Livarot cheeses, cider, Pommeau and Calvados, local Parma ham and foie gras, chitterling sausage and salt marsh ham are all part of their heritage.
The local markets play a huge part in people’s lives too: from the weekly calf market in Gavray to the pannier markets held each week in the local towns. Despite EU regulations, chickens, ducks, Guinea fowl and rabbits are still sold each week.
The traditional annual village fetes or Vide Greniers are part of the culture and food, sausage and cider stalls abound. The end of the day is celebrated with dancing and fireworks.