National Geographic Traveller (UK)




Begin your foray through Norman feudal history in Falaise in Suisse Normande, the birthplace of William the Conqueror. Pay homage to the warrior king at his statue on Place Guillaume le Conquérant.

The stone-paved square also has a retired Sherman M4A1 fighter tank, stencilled in 2019 by French street artist Jef Aérosol, celebratin­g peace since the Battle of Normandy. Walk up the ramp and across the rampart to plunge into 11th-century drama and gore at Chateau de Falaise. The stone fortress (where William was born, the illegitima­te son of a duke) offers digital tablets that guide visitors around the impenetrab­le keeps and menacing Talbot Tower, once home to birds destined for the banquet table and tamed weasels tasked with keeping rats at bay. chateau-guillaume-leconquera­


Wind 20 minutes southwest through pea-green pastures to Les Roches d’Oëtre, a rocky precipice with views of gorges carved by the River Rouvre. From the car park, follow the Sentier des Corniches footpath to the viewpoint. Or pick up a map in the visitor centre for details of longer trails that drop down to the river. Round off the afternoon at Ferme du Champs Secret. Patrick Mercier’s family farm produce AOP camembert fermier-certified farmhouse camembert, crafted in situ from the unpasteuri­sed milk of its herd of 110 Normande cows. Everything, from ladling the curds into moulds to turning 700 cheeses a day, is done by hand. Before leaving, grab a round from the fridge and pop £4 in the honesty box. fermeducha­


Close your camembert journey with an early-evening aperitif in the village where France’s best-known cheese was born in 1791. Arrive by 5pm to romp through the village of Camembert’s history and popular culture at the museum. You’ll discover that camembert only became a national icon from 1918, when local farmers sent weekly cheese parcels to French soldiers. The same museum ticket gives you access to the neighbouri­ng Fromagerie du Clos de Beaumoncel, where you can peek through glass at the humid ripening room, and try pasteurise­d and raw milk camemberts at Maison du Camembert, uphill past the church. Linger over an aperitif of ovenbaked camembert and pommeau (a sweet blend of cider and calvados). maisonduca­

 ?? ?? Right: Bottles of Normandy cider and calvados in baskets at a local market
Right: Bottles of Normandy cider and calvados in baskets at a local market

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