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7 Days Cheese Tasting & Gourmet Tours in Normandy

7 Days Cheese Tasting & Gourmet Tours in Normandy

  • Paris - Etretat - Cambremer - Mont Saint Michel - Bayeux

Gourmet Tours in France

Tour in the shadows of history; revel in the beauty of the countryside and encounter the people who create the sublime products of terroirs. The land of cows and the sea, this wonderful, rustic but spectacular region offers world famous cheeses such as Pav d'Auge, Camembert, Pont l'vque, Livarot, butters, crepes, seafood, ciders and Calvados. Pair these cheeses with the finest wines that Normandy has to offer, you got yourself a match made in heaven in your mouth! Indulge, relax, and unwind. Let your eyes and taste buds feast on the views and delectable treats available.

Highlights

  • Visit the specialty house of Caramels d'Isigny
  • Visit cheese monger Durand, a traditional cheese factory
  • Visit prestigious Calvados distillery & wine tasting, visit cheese monger Le Pennec
  • Visit Livarot cheese museum, Graindorge maker of AOC Nomandy cheeses
  • Visit with master cheesemonger Matre Pennec, cheese tasting
  • Lunch in the 17th century Château de Brécourt
  • 7 lunches, 6 breakfasts, 6 dinners
  • 6 nights luxury accommodation
  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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Domaine St Clair, Etretat, Normandy, France / 1 night

Located in Normandy, two hours from Paris, Etretat is a charming seaside resort on the Alabaster Coast. Its bright, majestic cliffs, unique in the world, have been celebrated throughout the ages by poets, painters and writers.

Chateau Les Bruyeres, Cambremer, Normandy, France / 2 nights

Situated in the peaceful countryside of the Pays dAuge in Normandy is the Chateau Les Bruyres, an Empire period residence transformed into a charming hotel and gourmet restaurant.

Mont Saint-Michel, La Mre Poulard, Normandy, France / 1 night

Housed in a historic building, this hotel is ideally located in the heart of Mont Saint-Michel. The classic-style rooms overlook the bay, the abbey or the medieval city.

Chateau de Bellefontaine, Bayeux, Normandy, France / 2 nights

Located half a mile from central Bayeux and its cathedral, this 18th-century mansion features elegant guest rooms and a traditional restaurant open for dinner. The park has a tennis court and a pond, and is planted with 200-year-old trees.

Day 1: Arrival, excursion

Our chauffer will collect us in Paris and drives us to Normandy. Mid-way, we will stop for lunch in the 17th century Château de Brécourt. We will have lunch here; where the courses on the menu are from recipes originally created by chefs from the "Grand Sicle" (the 19th century).

After a brief tour of the Chateau's park, we will begin our discovery of le Pays Normand by continuing on to the village of Lyons la Fret.

We will stop to admire the dovecot houses, the ancient covered market, the Eglise de Saint Denis, the house of the impressionist composer Maurice Ravel.

In Etretat, we will find our charming Htel-Restaurant, Le Donjon,; the quality of the gastronomy here is designed to enchant. We will spend our first night here, after enjoying just a few of the wonders of the sea proposed by the chef for dinner.

Lunch and dinner provided

Day 2: Excursion, cheese tasting

In the morning, after a short trip along the coast, we will arrive in Fcamp where we visit the Palais Bndictine. This is an astonishing monument celebrating the industrial glory of the city, the port and the palace of the Dukes of Normandy.

We return to the left side of the estuary of the Seine to pass over another majestic Normandy bridge before stopping in the romantic little port, Honfleur, which has been the inspiration for countless painters and poets in the recent past.In one of the auberge at the port surrounded by the sea and the cries of the port seagulls, we will stop to taste our first "cidre normand" (Normandy cider).

Then we will pass through Deauville, home of the world famous horse races and casino, to sample the town's chic sporting ambiance, visits a few of its luxury boutiques and marvel at the casino by the sea.

Then it is off to Cambremer to a sumptuous dinner at Chateau les Bruyres, our hotel for the evening. Here we will continue our research into the terroir of le Pays Norman and sample its sumptuous cheeses from the master cheesemonger Matre Pennec, who we will visit later in our journey.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.

Day 3: Excursion, cheese making

We begin the day just next door in the city of Lisieux, where we visit the Basilica of St. Therese. This monument of spectacular wealth was built in 1929 in honour of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The Basilica of Lisieux is the second largest pilgrimage site in France after Lourdes.

We then head to Bec Hellouin, another representative of the most beautiful villages of France and lunch.

You will enjoy a peaceful pastoral setting far removed from any hustle and bustle when we arrive at the Auberge de l'Abbaye, a former coaching inn from the 18th century, built in the half timbered Normand style.

After lunch, we will take the time to walk in this beautiful village to visit the Benedictine Abbaye Notre Dame du Bec, founded in 1034. Made up of a series of amazing and majestic buildings erected throughout the second millennium, it's buildings and grounds are worth the visit.

Then we take the road to Camembert, the village which gave its name to the famous Norman cheese. At Camembert, we stop at the cheese monger Durand, a traditional cheese factory where we will discover the principles of making this famous French symbol of gastronomy.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.

Day 4: Excursion, cheese tour, free time

We will visit Livarot to visit the cheese museum and works of Graindorge. Since 1910, the secrets of Noman cheese have been transmitted from father to son. Today Graindorge is the last family making all three AOC Nomandy cheeses (Appellation of Origin, Normandy). And even if the methods have changed, the spirit itself remains: tradition, simplicity and authenticity.

From the viewing galleries, you will watch the making of these cheeses and observe their "affinage" or ripening process. In the exposition room, you'll discover the story of Norman cheeses and taste the greats: Pont l'vque, Livarot, Camembert de Normandie AOC.

Then we will hit the road for the journey towards the Mont Saint Michel.

We pass through Falaise, birthplace of William the Conqueror and see the castle which still dominates the city, then on through Vire - famous for its specialty sausage called Andouille de Vire - where we stop for lunch in a traditional local restaurant.

After lunch, we will reach the world-renonwned Mont Saint Michel.

After a short stop at the hotel, we will climb a passageway to the top of the rock face to visit the Benedictine Abbey, where you will be able to take in the breathtaking beauty of the site. Traversing the maze of halls, chapels, the Great Cloister, you will be assailed with a thousand years of history.

As we exit the Cathedral, we will look back to take in the view from outside the walls of the Abbey and all the fortifications that surround the island. Passing back through the narrow streets, stairways and roof gardens of this place unique, magical place full of history, we find our hotel, the Aubrge of Mre Poulard, located just inside the medieval city of Mont Saint-Michel.

After dinner you can explore the tiny streets and stairways, chase the ghosts of centuries past and marvel at the impressive illuminated performance displayed on the facades of the buildings of this island monument.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.

Day 5: Excursion, caramel tour

Our route will pass through Coutances, an important Celtic city since the 3rd century, destroyed by the Vikings in the 9th century and restored by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Visible from the island of Jersey, this Gothic cathedral of the 13th century was built around the existing 11th century Roman cathedral almost as if it were being given a new set of clothes.

Then we continue northward and arrive near the coast to reach Pirou Castle, a very well preserved relic of rare medieval Norman architecture, which is actually the oldest castle in Normandy, built in the 12th century to protect Coutances.

Just above Pirou, we will stop at the newly opened, charming Ferme des Mares in Saint Germain sur Ay, where we will lunch sampling the terroir of the coast of western Normandy.

Then we continue on to cross the Peninsula of Cotentin toward Isigny sur Mer. Isigny sur Mer, is famous the world over for its butter, cream, and cheeses (Mimolette, Pont-l'vque, Camembert) made by the Isigny Sainte Mre co-operative, but it is its' most celebrated product we come to discover - caramels.

We will visit the specialty house of Caramels d'Isigny where you will be initiated into the world of caramel.

After the visit, we cross the hinterland of Bessin via the Castle of Colombires, a splendid fortress of the 14th century where the Count Etienne de Maupeou d'Ableiges and his children, owners of the place will show us the grounds, the moat and the main rooms.

Then we stop at the Castle of Balleroy, a typical 17th century style building designed by the architect Franois Mansart, and made famous by Malcolm Forbes and his Hot Air Balloon Museum, which we will visit before arriving at our hotel.

We will stay in a charming hotel, near downtown, where you can enjoy the harmony and serenity of the park as well as the generosity of the table.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.

Day 6: Excursion, market tour

In this part of Normandy, it would be inconceivable to ignore recent history and the Allied landing on Norman beaches. Our morning will be devoted to the memory of the many soldiers who stormed these beaches on June 6, 1944 and sacrificed their lives to liberate France.

We begin with the memorial at Omaha Beach and the impressive military cemetery where lie close to ten thousand Americans who fell during the first battles for control of the Normandy coast.

Then we will visit the museum of the landing at Arromanches, where you can still see the remains of the huge artificial harbour built to transport the troops and their equipment who began to push the Germans all the way back to Berlin.

We have lunch in a charming village nearby in a farm-fortified manor house dating from the 13th century, which will include local products selected to soothe lingering emotions and our hunger.

After a well-deserved calvados, we head for beautiful nearby city of Bayeux where we will spend the afternoon discovering all of its many attractions.We will admire the famous Bayeux Tapestry, whose impressive reality exceeds imagination and commands respect. The history, executed in textile, is attributed to be the work of noble Saxon women who had chosen to spend their life in the convents of either Winchester or Canterbury and upon its completion, it was transported to hang in the Cathedral of Bayeux.

Leaving the museum, we will be able to see the Cathedral for which this tapestry was designed. It was dedicated in 1077 in the presence of William the Conqueror who became King of England. As in Coutances, contributions made Gothic 13th to 15th century surround the original Romanesque structure.

We can then walk to the Market Square, stroll through the medieval town with narrow streets lined with old houses with wood sides, from mansions to towers of the 15th and 16th centuries, large houses and elegant mansions of the 17th and 18th centuries.

In formula "Terroir", being in town, we will enjoy dinner at a restaurant run by lovers of regional cuisine delivered with up to date intelligence and creativity. A short digestive walk will bring us back to the castle through the old city.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.

Day 7: Excursion, wine tour, wine tasting, cheese tour, departure

For our last day, we will spend the morning at Caen. In this city full of history, starting from the ducal castle, we will follow in the footsteps of William the Conqueror to the Abbaye aux Hommes, then through the streets towards the Abbaye aux Dames, both founded in 1060's, then return to the vicinity of the ducal palace, where our car awaits.

Not far away, we will stop at the Chateau de Breuil, a exceedingly representative monument of Normand architecture, which is also one of the most prestigious distilleries of the world famous Calvados.

After lunch, we visit the cellars and the production site and sample this liquid gold.

Our next and final stop will be to the unique cheese monger Le Pennec near Pont l'vque. Here you will discover all varieties of traditional Norman cheeses, as well as a number of amusing and amazing variations with names such as "mother in law" and "kick in the ass", as well as those washed with cider and Calvados or flavoured with herbs.

We will bid you adieu when we reach Paris two hours later, and hope the images, tastes and emotions you have experienced from this week of exploration in le pays Normand were a genuine pleasure, which will last you a lifetime.

Breakfast and lunch provided.

The historical Duchy of Normandy, Normandie in French and Normaundie in Norman, was an independent duchy occupying the lower Seine area, the Pays de Caux and the region to the west through the Pays dAuge as fasr as the Cotentin Peninsula, including the Channel Islands (Iles Anglo-Normandes). It is currently divided between French and the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey which are British Dependencies.