Normandy Road-Trip Part II: Château La ChenevièreBy Claudine Levy
Read Part 1 for our road-trip series around Normandy
From Deauville to Caen and Bayeux, you can drive via a few gorgeous pitstops: the first being a village which was awarded the coveted spot of ‘most beautiful in France’ – Beuvron en Auge. This charming little place is the perfect spot to grab a galette and stretch your legs with a stroll to see the timber-clad Norman houses so famed in the area.
Normandy Road-Trip Part II: A Quintessential French Cidery
You can then make sure you pass a family-run apple orchard; Domaine de Flaguerie, which organises tours and tastings. If you’re not yet acquainted with Norman cider – it’s a far cry from the stuff you can get by the pint in most British pubs. For one thing… it’s strong. I personally think it can carry the same complexity and depth as Champagne, with its dry, semi-sweet and distinct fruity profile. The family also produce stunning cider vinegars, jams and calvados, as well as Pommeau – a tart-tatin type of apple brandy which is dangerously quaffable.
Normandy Road-Trip Part II: 5-star Norman Manor Luxury
You will then arrive at Chateau la Cheneviere – the gorgeous 5-star hotel on the Normandy coast, and a stone’s throw away from the town of Bayeux, home to the famed Bayeux Tapestry. The hotel comprises an 18th-century manor house situated in beautiful landscaped parkland. An intimate and luxurious locale – with just 29 spacious rooms – and replete with not one but two superb restaurants. The estate was a former hemp farm and has since been decorated in keeping with the style of a traditional 17th-century French manor house, with playful flashes of chic country aesthetic matched with antiques of the period. On the food front, the more relaxed Little Garden and the fine dining Botanist both offer something different.
Normandy Road-Trip Part II: The Food
The former is housed in a beautiful glass house and former orangery, overlooking the pool. The menu centres on farm-to-table produce, with seasonal fruits and vegetables from the hotel’s very own garden. It started out life as an ad hoc al-fresco pop-up, but word got around to locals about Le Petit Jardin – a little garden hideaway serving beautiful, fresh food surrounded by nature. Menu highlights include Beetroot soup served with tarragon cottage cheese and squash seeds, and Peking duck fillet alongside glazed beetroots and carrots, shiso from the garden, and raspberry condiment. Simple, ingredient-led dishes steal the show.
The Botanist, on the other hand, is all about food theatre meeting technical excellence. Situated in the gorgeously grand breakfast room, the restaurant combines simple but elevated Normandy dishes delivered to your table with attentive and refined service.
Normandy Road-Trip Part II: A Day Trip to Bayeux
Away from the hotel (though believe me – it will be difficult to leave), you will be a short drive away from the town of Bayeux. The medieval town is nestled on a river, and has a bustling retail and restaurant scene set amongst the cobbled streets, half-timbered Norman houses and Gothic cathedral. Bayeux, as its name suggests, is also home to the famed historical artefact of the Bayeux Tapestry – the 11th century depiction of the famed 1066 Norman invasion of England, on display in an 18th-century seminary. The tapestry snakes its way around a vast room, and you can walk your way around as an audiobook tells you the story of each scene. It’s a genuinely fascinating experience and one not to miss if you’re in the region.