Here in Normandy it seems as though anything goes. Well, on the roads anyway. There’s a comedy amount of wide-load vehicles, perhaps a reflection of the industrial nature of the North. So far we’ve encountered lorries carrying: half a jumbo jet, full-scale wind turbines on the back of enormous trailers (I don’t know the technical word for these) and several two-bedroom bungalows strapped to lorries. But possibly the funniest thing we’ve witnessed was a lady rollerblading on one of the major roads, around the roundabout, in front of a transit van. She didn’t even indicate with her arm when she took the second exit.
Normandy is the largest region in France and the only one to not contain a single vineyard. Which doesn’t really matter because any self-respecting local would rather drink the cider or calvados produced in the region. It’s the land of soft cheeses, cream, seafood, fish and apples. You’ll see at the end of this post a picture of some Jus de Pomme, which we purchased from the campsite we were staying on – deliciously earthy, with a pinky-brown colour, this dense, sweet-sour flavour reminded me of home-brewed cider, only without the alcohol.
We’re not staying long in this region, it’s just a stop-off really. We found a lovely campsite and hooked our camper van into some electricity for the night. The town has a beautiful episcopal, Gothic cathedral of remarkably bold architecture which dates from the 13th and 14th centuries and occupies the site of three earlier churches. The west front, which is obscured by the buttresses flying from it, has two stately spires of open work 230 feet (70 m) high. Apart from this jolly nice church, there isn’t a huge amount to do, but makes a lovely stop-off for the night. If you do pass though – you must visit this place…
Antiques Brocante, Sées, Normandy: We spent the day looking around the town and rummaging through this beautifully disorganised old antique shop. It’s a quirky place, with an equally quirky owner – situated to the left of the cathedral.
Best Buy: This turquoise miniature teapot was one Euro. I picked some poppies from the hedgerow and it made quite a lovely centrepiece in the camper. A tribute to my dear old Granddad Reg, who fought in both wars, and whom I never got to meet.
NORMANDY CAMPING TIP:
Camping Municipal “Le Clos Normand” in the town of Sées. Lovely little campsite with a very friendly chap who, unlike some of the locals, humoured me while I practiced my French at every encounter. Pretty location, simple green pitches with hedgerows dividing each plot. Clean warmish showers. 13 Euros for one night including electricity.
Tip: Buy the locally produced apple juice from reception for 2 Euros. Delicious.
After a plate of Saucisson Chaud with frites and a drop of vine rouge, we’re heading to the Loire Valley: land of architectural treasures, Vouvray wine, river cycling paths and best of all, hundreds of chateaus.