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Travelling salesman for the souls in purgatory – from Montligeon

Driving through the mellow villages and pretty countryside of the Perche Ornais (south Normandy), to see La basilique Notre-Dame de Montligeon is something of a surprise. Standing very talk against the ancient Perche forest, the basilica was constructed in dramatic gothic style just over 100 years ago. Why here? This isn’t the site of an ancient…

La Mère Poulard and a very modern scandal, on Mont Saint-Michel

Our first visit to Normandy in 2007 included a day to Mont Saint Michel. Back then visitors drove up to the gate and parked on the old salt flats alongside the road. Later that day, high on a stone terrace, we recovered from over 1000 steps up and the inevitable jostling of tourists.  ‘There isn’t…

Chateau life in Normandy; Le Vieux Chateau Le Renouard

The high walls of the old chateau in our postcard were designed to keep people out.  They hadn’t bargained for Donna McDougall, but that wouldn’t be for a few hundred years… Over 1000 years of history Renaoud de Bailleul built the first stone castle in this valley, he was one of the Bailleul’s who accompanied…

Dragons, nogging and byres; Manor de Querville in the heart of the Pays d’Auge

Deep in the soft countryside of the Pays d’Auge, at the end of a quiet lane, stands Manoir de Querville. Looking through the arch (Querville is a private residence) we spy the building in our postcard.  Fancy brick and stone topped with a timber frame. A grand home that has been reworked over the centuries,…

Exploring the manor houses of Calvados, in 1937 – photo post!

During 1937, just before the outbreak of  WW2, the Touring Club of France went on an expedition to see the beautiful manor houses of Calvados, in Normandy. Happily for us they took a camera and recorded these grand old houses, including at least one that has now been lost forever. Lets join the Club on their…

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