I have been to Paris more than a few times, but although now I may say I know the city well enough, France is a mystery to me. I am in favor of the opinion that the city does not reveal the soul of the country and this is the case with Paris as well. This time, however, I had the chance to get a glance at a little more different part of this amazing country – Normandy.
Famous for its butter, cheese, and salted lamb, this picturesque piece of France is enchanting. My short trip revealed the great beauty of the bocage, the romantic hills of the green valleys where occasionally cows were chewing grass ever so peacefully. It is indeed a place you never want to leave. It feels as if time has stopped here: small houses selling flavorful Calvados and signs pointing out to places where you can buy homemade apple jam no trace of a hustle, no one is rushing anywhere. Oh, how lovely life in Normandy is!
We only got to spend two days and managed to visit Virr, Sourdeval and Mont Saint-Michelle, but all of those places looked enchanting. I was, of course, impressed the most by Mont Saint-Michelle, a monument, a world-heritage, a temple. An amazing combination of human and nature persistence. The atmosphere of this small and cozy city transports you back to the medieval ages of knights and princesses, monks and sorcerers. Walking up the hill to the church of St. Michael, we passed tons of streets filled with souvenir shops and tiny restaurants, surrounded by the smell of freshly cooked omelet and juicy duck magret.
The hike up the hill took a while, but it was all worth it for the great view that revealed before our eyes in the end. Hundreds of kilometers and nothing ahead, the sands merging with the sea in tones of clear blue to lead-like gray into an indistinguishable unity. We got extremely lucky (if you believe the clichés about the Normandian weather) and we enjoyed clear weather with no trace of clouds in the sky. However, this meant that the hilltop track left us drained and wet so we sought salvation inside the cool stone church, where the huge construction gave shelter to many and became a pilgrimage.
We did not manage to stop by at La Mere Poulard, but we enjoyed a delicious lunch with a great terrasse and a view towards the endless sandy beaches. However, I did not miss on those great buttery cookies flavored with salted caramel that just melt on your tongue. The great thing about these biscuits is that they are easy to find and taste in Vienna as well. On one of my trips to Julius Meinl’s store on Graben I found out they are stocking them and the shop has a decent variety to offer so be sure to try them out and maybe they will magically transport you to the beautiful valleys of Normandy!