France is one of the best countries in the world for wine tasting – and it’s also the only country with authentic Champagne tours – but what about the options for those who prefer apples to grapes? The cider produced in Normandy is almost as in demand internationally as its fellow fruity alcoholic beverages, and the famous Route Du Cidre leads visitors on a picturesque tour around the region’s best breweries, stopping by charming historic towns and hamlets on the way. If you decide to book a chateau to rent along the Red Apple Road, we’d recommend taking day trips to these three beautiful villages.
Located in the Calvados department, the region might be most associated with apple brandy but this village certainly knows how to make a crisp and refreshing cider. Take a tour of the Calvados Pierre Huet distillery to sample Calvados, Pommeau and perry along with your cider, then stock up for the rest of your holiday in the shop next door. The half-timbered building surrounded by orchards is an idyllic place to spend a sunny day, and the village itself is equally welcoming and attractive.
Beuvron-en-Auge has been voted one of the most beautiful villages in France, thanks to its 16th century houses, award-winning flower displays and winding country lanes. Best-known for geraniums and cider, there are annual festivals celebrating both: the Flower Festival takes place in May and the Cider Festival in August. This is also an excellent place to go hunting for antiques, with several shops throughout the village. Book a table at the Pave d’Auge restaurant to soak up your cider with some delicious gourmet food – the plateau de fromages is a delectable highlight.
This quiet village is home to one of the most famous cider producers in Normandy: Domaine Dupont. The family-run estate spreads over 74 acres and offers daily tours, but if you miss that you’re still free to wander around the lush green fields. Although the cider produced here is close to perfect, you might find yourself distracted by the sweet, caramel taste of Calvados Cream, a smooth liqueur also produced on the estate. After you’ve stocked up on each delicious beverage, retreat to the Manoir Fardou to sip your cider in the peace and quiet of your own garden.
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– The Four Best French Regions for Local Produce
– The Top 3 Prosecco Tasting Vineyards in Italy
– More blogs about France
– To book your stay, browse through our Chateaux to hire in France
Calvados picture via Amanda Slater on Flickr.