Perhaps More Romantic Than Paris…Wanderable Explores Tiny Towns in France.
Travelers link France subconsciously with Paris, but we’re here to report that there is so, so, so much more to this marvelous country than one iconic metropolis, and we’ve wandered through quaint towns in Normandy that could make you rethink your French itinerary. From fragrant farmers’ markets to mouth-watering homemade apple cider, these honeymoon oases are sites for sore eyes. So far we’ve visited Vernon, Honfleur, Caudebec and Pays D’Auge, and we’re all about the quiet, sultry energy of these small towns. Tomorrow’s itinerary includes riding bikes and visiting a local brewery in Reuon. Sorry we’re not sorry!
Keep reading below to tag along as we #WanderOn.
Our first stop was Vernon, home of awe- inspiring church L’Eglise Catholique. It’s huge, and its size warrants its status as the focal point of the city. Trip down a few side streets, and lunch is covered: grab a baguette by the local baker, some cheese from the Fromagerie and some smoked ham from the Charcuterie next door and you’ll be one happy camper (we didn’t leave that bench for hours).
The next day, we visited the tiny fishing town Honfleur, where the salt air woke us up and the cuteness of the town kept us up. It started raining, which only made the day feel cozier. We meandered down cobblestone streets to local shops that offered hot cider, caramel candies, artisan jams with toast, and foie gras. As the sun set, we grabbed some warm drinks and crepes with butter, sucre et fleur de del (sugar and salt). Since Honfleur is known for its seafood, we tasted a few local faves (mmmm…oysters,) and that was a truly surreal experience.
Honfleur is a hidden jewel, totally off-the-beaten-path. Apparently, the super-chic, in-the-know Parasians come here (its only a 2 hour drive from Paris) for the weekend, to shop, eat and drink Calvados (liquor made from apples). The Fire Island of France, if you will.
Moving on…let’s talk about the Farmer’s Market in Caudebeuc: Jean, pictured above, is THE MAN when it comes to fresh seafood. We wanted to eat a raw scallop– and he obliged: he cleaned it and prepared it for us to eat. It was the sweetest scallop we’ve ever tasted. There was also fresh salmon lox, oysters, mackerel, tuna and crayfish– all caught by Jean and his partners earlier that day. There were also live chickens, home-made paella, sausages with fresh sauerkraut and an epic cheese selection. This market is the social event of the week in Caudebeuc…the locals all gather here, buy their food for the week, and then meet their friends for coffee and drinks. We tried to fit right in.
Sunday rolled around and we visited Pays D’Auge. Because it was Sunday, we were basically the only people in town (if you can’t tell from the photo). It was so quiet we just perused the local shops, and finally stopped for lunch where we shared escargots, duck confit and a salad avec chèvre chaud (salad with hot goat cheese). The owners brought out fresh bread and two beers for us, on the house. It was the freshest end to the freshest weekend.
The fabulous news is that we’re here till Thursday…so stay tuned, Wanderers. There are more delicious meals to be consumed and more cobblestone streets to be strolled.