Honfleur is a large village (commune) in Calvados (Normandy) on the Seine estuary. From there it is a short drive to the magnificent Pont du Normandie. The village itself is a very attractive inlet, with a basin, surrounded by cafes and restaurants. The cobbled streets are narrow and winding and not too easy to navigate by car, but the basin is where one would want to stop anyway.
Some views of Honfleur –
There are a number of fascinating old buildings and churches to wander round, plus some shops and souvenir displays. We bought some named-soup-dishes from one such outlet.
Fougerolles du Plessis is a pretty village about 7km from the Gite (turn right in La Doree). Apart from the Church, excellent and welcoming boulangerie and obligatory Mairie, there is a tabac, the “Lion D’Or” restaurant (very good!), a doctor’s surgery, pharmacy, small supermarche, insurance agents and a small bank (Credit Agricole). It is rumoured Dave from “The Hairy Bikers” has a residence in the village centre.
From the village, quiet lanes take one to Landivy, Buais, Desertines, La Doree, Savigny and La Tanniere. We suggest a short cycle route in one of our other posts and we also suggest villages slightly further afield, such as Saint Hilaire du Harcouet, Teilleul, Ernee and Gorron – where there are more shops or supplies and the trip is both short and picturesque.
In Summer 2023, there was a festival event for the local schools, which included hand-made decorations of some of the trees in the central square, next to the Church. Unfortunately, we missed the cycling and trail running events – but we “captured” the trees –
Passais la Conception is now the main entity of “Passais Villages”, a commune in the Orne Department of Normandie. It is a busy little village, with many of the amenities one might need, shops, pharmacy, doctor’s surgery, bookshop and a very busy butcher’s, just a few metres from the crossroads. Pages has mainly English books, some French and other languages, covering a range of topics (bargain prices!) On Tuesdays, there is sometimes a (very) small market, between Le Bistro au Coin and the Church, selling speciality cheeses, a few vegetables and savoury/sweet pancakes/galettes.
Villages near Passais la Conception
The crossroads lies between relatively fast roads towards Mortain (North West), Ambrieres les Vallees and Flers (South East), Domfront and Alencon (North East), Le Teilleul and Saint Hilaire du Harcouet ((West). A kilometre or so towards Le Teilleul, near Mantilly (“The Pear Route”), there is small turn (D835) to the left and a right turn (C5) to the Dolmen – “La Table au Diable”, one of several in the region. Here, there is a tiny rough carpark and a barrow of megaliths.
Saint Hilaire du Harcouet is a medium size town just a short drive northwest from our Gite. There is a large Church near the central crossroads and the medieval tower. Across the way is the marketplace (wednesdays) and rows of shops and a number of cafes. There are estate agents, pharmacies, opticians, pizzerias, boulangeries, bookshops, tabacs, banks, restaurants and a few artisan outlets. The local hospital lies to the south, towards Landivy, while Aldi, Lidl and MacDonald lie to the East, towards Buais. The park is a delightful area with lakes, mini-golf and attractive planted areas, frequently utilised as a photo-venue for wedding parties.
We visited he market recently and found many varied and friendly stalls. There are the usual fruit and vegetables but also well-made clothes, hats, bags, belts, curios and much besides. Our in-laws were kep busy browsing for hours. Parking was a little difficult but nearby (about 200 metres). We can recommend a couple of the cafes, for somewhere to inspect your purchases over a hot chocolate.