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The Footballers and forgotten château de Tancarville – a story of heritage in danger

An impossible match…. High on the cliffs above the River Seine in Normandy is an imposing old château .  Here history stretches back to the 11th century and the first Dukes of Normandy. Tancarville was home to Raoul I Fitzgerald, trusted friend of Robert, first Duke of Normandy.  Raoul would become William the Conqueror’s first Chamberlain, managing…

The long rise and the sharp fall of the Houëls of La Pommeraye

The entrance pavilion of Manoir de La Pommeraye is picturesque even on a cold winter’s day. A central archway edged with pale stones is flanked by sturdy stone tower and topped with a balcony and roofs that would look quite at home in a fairy-tale. But for Normandy, this building is not outstanding. Its main decoration…

The monster in the marsh, at Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes

High above the cliffs at the eastern end of Omaha beach stand ruins of the Chapelle Saint-Siméon de Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes.  Old walls are shored up by brambles and protected by mud and horses.  This small valley ‘Val des Hachettes’ has been cut over thousands of years by a small stream heading for the sea, and it…

Walking in the 16th century footsteps of Gilles de Gouberville

There is an old stone tower deep in the Normandy Cotentin countryside that could be considered unremarkable.  Although its rooms are an unusual combination of chapel below and dovecote above, it is a forlorn truth that this is not the sort of building people drive miles out of their way to see. But we did….

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…

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