The Colourful Gavray Market in Normandy

Gavray market

The Gavray market happens every Saturday morning from around 8.30am – 1pm. It’s not a huge market but is very much a focal point for residents. It’s a great event for visitors to really experience rural village life.

Gavray market Normandy market

The majority of stalls are in the square near to the church. They are predominantly fruit and vegetable stalls offering a wide range of produce. They try and keep the food miles down by growing themselves or supporting local producers when possible. There’s also very little plastic used so it’s very environmentally friendly. You take along your own shopping bag or basket to transport your purchases.

Gavray market French market produce

I took all these photos yesterday (20th July). At this time of year the Gavray market is bursting with colour. Cherries, apricots, melons, nectarines and peaches are all in season. Tomatoes, avocados, celery and lettuce are great salad ingredients. The tomatoes really are flavoursome.

market produce summer market in Normandy

There are also a couple of fish and seafood stalls and a cheese van. Sometimes you can buy plants, honey and cider from time to time. A coupe of food trucks grill sausages which are served in a baguette or with french fries.

French cherries summer fruits at the market in Gavray

The shops, bars and restaurants are also open so it’s very sociable event. A couple of the bars are opposite the market stalls so you can people watch while you enjoy a drink.

There’s a smaller Gavray market held on Wednesday mornings near La Place du Champ de Foire. You can buy fruit and vegetables here. Find out when Normandy market days are here.

 

A Normandy Chocolatier

A Normandy Chocolatier

On World Chocolate Day let’s visit a Normandy chocolatier. In Granville there are two outlets for Yver Chocolatier who make exquisite chocolate creations for every occasion.

Yver Chocolatier in Granville

 

In the centre of Granville is the shop À La Marquise de Presles. It’s at 26 rue Lecampion. This is one of their chocolate counters.

Normandy chocolatierThey also make delicious melt-in-the-mouth macarons.

Normandy chocolatierAnd as if that wasn’t enough, they also have a range of delicious pâtisserie.

Granville patisserie

The quality is excellent and if you’re looking for a present or to treat yourself, then this Normandy chocolatier is the place to go. There’s even an ice-cream parlour next door.

 

A little further out of town towards Yquelon is La Chocolathèque where you can discover the origins and history of chocolate by taking a tour in French. This shop also sells a wide range of delicious chocolates as well as macarons. They are at 189 route de Villedieu and have onsite parking.

Their website is here. You can drool over their entire range of chocolates, chocolate nibbles, macarons and pâtisserie without consuming a single calorie. Yver Chocolatier have been making chocolates since 1946.

Where To Buy Normandy Cider

Normandy cider

I visited La Ferme de la Butte this week to sample and buy some Normandy cider. They’re fairly local to me at around a 15 minute drive away. I include a bottle of Normandy cider in my welcome basket for guests so I wanted to check out this local producer.

La Ferme de la Butte

Products

The farm produces sparkling cider (semi-sweet and dry), sparkling pear, calvados (an apple brandy) and pommeau which is an aperitif. They also produce their own apple cider vinaigrette and sell apple juice.

Normandy cider

I sampled a semi-sweet cider (doux) which was very pleasant and you can definitely taste that it’s made on a farm. The owner also offered me a pommeau.

 

Normandy ciderAt 17% it certainly warms you up and this was before 9.30 so it also woke me up. It’s a lovely aperitif and is stronger than cider but not as strong as calvados.

Normandy calvados

The calvados is aged in barrels for either 5 or 10 years and comes in various sized bottles from 20cl to 150cl. Here’s their price list when you buy direct.

Normandy calvados

 

How To Find Them

This map shows their location. They are at 14 route Saint-Martin in the small village of La Meurdraquière in Normandy.

La Meurdraquiere

 

From the D7 take the road towards La Meurdraquière. This road is called Route du Doux Coeur. After around a kilometre take the turning on the right by looking for the signs to the farm. Carry on until you see this sign.

Ferme de la Butte

Here you turn left and then follow the road round to the right.

A Calvados Event in August

I chatted to one of the owners while I was there. She explained she moved to the farm in 1961 when she married her husband. The farm had belonged to his parents. At first they used to make cider and calvados and also sold apples. Gradually, they have added other products to their range. Their cider is sold in the supermarket and also convenience store in Gavray. From Wednesday 7th to Friday 9th August they’ll be open from 10am and you can watch how calvados is made.

I really enjoyed my visit. I bought some cider and added it to my current guests’ welcome basket. I hope they enjoy their Normandy cider.

Buying Cheese in Granville, Normandy

Buying cheese in Granville

If you’re looking to buy cheese in Granville, then Le Fromager de la Baie is the place to go. the shop has been open just over a year and is based at 34 rue Lecampion in Granville. They are open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am – 1pm and 3pm – 7pm. On a Sunday morning they open from 9.30am – 1pm.

Buying cheese in Granville

You can also find them at the Avranches market on a Saturday morning and also the Saint-Pair-sur-Mer market on a Thursday morning.

Buying cheese in Granville Buying cheese in Granville Buying cheese in Granville

Throughout the year they stock over 200 different types of cheese. You can also buy cream, butter and other Normandy specialities.

I called in to the Granville shop recently to buy some cheese. I opted for a goats cheese and a Tomme de Savoie which is semi firm and has a greyish-brown rind. I also selected a deliciously creamy and pungent Bleu d’Auvergne and a rather unusual Gouda with cumin. They’ve all been delicious.

You can take a look at their website here.

Buying cheese in Granville

Normandy Vegetarian Restaurants

Normandy Vegetarian Restaurants

Finding vegetarian dining options can be a little challenging in Normandy but if you know where to go, it’s much easier. The region is a big seafood producer so if you’re a pescatarian, you’ll have no problem. It is however also famous for wonderful dairy products such as cheese, butter and cream. The range of dining options is increasing though so let’s take a look at where you can eat and food terms to avoid.

Normandy vegetarian restaurants

Close to home are two restaurants offering vegan or vegetarian choices. Restaurant Délice is just a few minutes drive away in Gavray with plenty of parking opposite near the church. They are open Wednesday to Saturday lunchtime and evening and also for Sunday lunch.

Restaurant Délice is at 9 Place du Dr Beck. Their website is here.  Phone number: 02 33 51 61 14. They speak English.

Normandy vegetarian restaurants
Délice Restaurant in Gavray offers a vegan menu

A little further away is the Auberge du Mesnil Rogues which is on Route de l’Auberge in Mesnil Rogues. Their opening times depend on the season. They’re always closed on a Monday but are open on a Sunday for lunch and in the evening. Have a look at their website.  You can contact them on 02 33 61 37 12.

I would always recommend making a reservation and advising that you’ll be eating from the vegetarian menu. Normandy is getting better at offering vegetarian options but there aren’t as many choices as in the UK, for example.

There is also a pizza shop in Gavray. You can phone your order through or just go and place your order and wait until it’s ready. Read about them here.

The nearby towns of Granville, Villedieu-les-Poêles and Coutances also have restaurants with vegetarian options. Italian restaurants serving pizzas and pasta are a good choice. Alternatively, you can try a crêperie which is a pancake house. Savoury pancakes are known as galettes while sweet ones are called crêpes. These three towns are all within a 20 minute drive of my gite.

Coutances

La Crêperie de Sophie, 74 boulevard Alsace Lorraine, 02 33 45 54 45
Don Camillo, 4 Rue d’Harcourt, 02 33 45 00 67 (Italian)
Le Ratelier, 3 rue Georges Clemenceau, 02 33 45 56 52 (crêperie)
La Rose des Sables, 2 Place General de Gaulle, 02 33 45 01 40 (middle eastern serving couscous and tagines)
La Taverne du Parvis, 18 Place du Parvis Notre Dame, 02 33 45 13 55 (bistro with vegetarian and meat/fish options. Serves salads, tarts, omelettes and pasta) https://www.hotel-restaurant-taverne-du-parvis.com
Crêperie La Morinière, 1, Rue Quesnel-Moriniere, 02 33 07 52 20
Pizzeria La Pergola, Zone Industrielle la Mare, 02 33 45 93 22
ww.lapergola-restaurant.fr I’ve eaten here a couple of times. It’s very good value but also very busy.

Normandy vegetarian dining

Granville

Le Diner’s, 3 rue Georges Clemenceau, 02 33 90 24 24
Le Borsalino, rue des Isles | Port de plaisance du herel, 02 33 50 02 99 http://www.borsalino-granville.fr/ They do pizzas but also have a more varied menu if there are meat/fish eaters in your group. I’ve eaten here.
Pizz A Bruno, 35 avenue des Matignons, 02 33 91 92 30
http://www.pizzabrunogranville.com
La Courtine, 10 rue Cambernon, 05 45 82 34 78. This crêperie is in the high town. I’ve eaten here plenty of times as it’s a favourite of my neices.
Picorette, 22 rue Saint Sauveur, 02 33 59 93 49. this is a tea room rather than a restaurant but does have some lunchtime options for vegetarians.

vegetarian

Villedieu-les-Poeêles

Pizzeria Le Saint Hubert, 9 rue des Cohues, 02 33 51 24 29
La Cuisine de Leonie, 6, place des Chevaliers de Malte, 02 33 61 07 94 This is a crêperie and I’ve eaten here.
Le Moulin à Café, 16 Place des Chevaliers de Malte, 02 33 61 03 39
L’Agora, 10 Place des Halles, 02 33 50 43 04 (crêperie)

 

These are just a selection of some of the restaurants, bistros and crêperies in the local area.

Useful Food Terms

Always check before you sit down that a restaurant can cater for vegetarian diners by having a look at the menu. The list below includes some of the ingredients you might like to avoid.

viande – meat
viande hachée – minced beef
poisson – fish
jambon – ham
merguez – sausage made with beef
andouille/andouilette – spicy sausage made with chitterlings
thon – tuna
lardons – diced bacon
poulet – chicken
moules – mussels
crevettes – shrimps/prawns
calamars – calamari
st jacques – scallops
saumon fumé – smoked salmon

végétarien/végétarienne – vegetarian

 

3 Unmissable Normandy Brunch Spots

Normandy brunch spot

If you’re looking for Normandy brunch spot, then read on. These three places were featured in a Côté Manche article this week.

Normandy brunch spot

Brunch is becoming more popular here in Normandy but isn’t as readily available as in the USA or the UK. Many restaurants in France open at lunchtime from 12 – 2pm and then again at 7pm. The concept of an early breakfast or late lunch is still relatively uncommon.

However, these three places in Granville and St-Lô are ahead of the game.

La Bonne Aventure in Granville

A new tea room opened in Granville in mid April in the grounds of the Christian Dior museum. The gardens and the Dior museum provide a beautiful setting. Brunch is served on a Sunday and can be either sweet or savoury depending on what takes your fancy.

La Bonne Aventure, jardin Dior, 1, rue d’Estouteville. Open 7 days a week. InApril and May from 9am to 7.30pm. From June to August it’s open from 9am to 8.30pm. Their website is here.

Christian Dior Museum

Le Choix de la Reine in Saint-Lô

This retro tea room is famous for sweets concoctions such a millionaires shortbread, scones, tiramisu and brownies. This Normandy brunch spot has been open for around 18 months. It also operates as a restaurant at lunchtime. A handful of tables are often full as diners listen to jazz while enjoying the home-made food. There’s also an outdoor pavement seating area. Brunch is served here every Saturday.

Le Choix de la Reine, 25, rue du Neufbourg. Open from Tuesday to Saturday. You can call 02 50 48 98 60 to make a reservation. To check out the daily specials have a look at their Facebook page by searching for @lechoixdelareine.

National Croissant Day

Chez Dame Gourmand in Granville

Brunch is served here every Sunday and on public holidays from 12 – 4pm. Orange juice, organic apple juice, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, savoury dishes, sweet treats, bread, scones and cupcakes are just some of the choices.

Dame Gourmande. 2, rue du Général-Patton. Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 6.30pm Phone to book on 02 33 48 93 99.

Normandy Brunch spot

 

How To Make A Normandy Aperitif

Normandy aperitif

Kir normand is a traditional Normandy aperitif (an apéro). You drink it while waiting for your food to arrive in a restaurant.

The recipe is

  • 2cl of crème de cassis (blackberry liqueur),
  • 2cl of calvados (apple brandy)
  • top the glass up with dry sparkling Normandy cider.

You can also replace the cider with sparkling white wine. Variations to the blackberry liqueur include mûre (blackcurrant), framboise (raspberry) or pêche (peach).

An apéro can also be a drink you serve at home with friends or family. It’s usually served with reasonably substantial fare such as:- thin slices of baguette spread with fish or meat pâté, saucisson, mini pizzas, cheese straws, ham and cream cheese rolls, sausage rolls etc.

Whatever you decide to eat with your Normandy aperitif, just remember to say santé (cheers)!

Normandy aperitif

Where To Eat Out In Gavray

Where To Eat Out In Gavray

My guests often ask for recommendations of where to eat in Gavray. Most restaurants are open for lunch (12 – 2pm) and then again in the evening from 7pm. You need to call during opening hours to book a table and the concept of online booking is still in its infancy here in Normandy. There are three restaurants in Gavray but they have different opening hours and are not open every day. It’s just part of the charm of life here in Normandy.

Carry out reading below for information about the restaurants shown on the map.

gavray restaurants

So, where you eat out in Gavray will depend on the day of the week you want. There are three restaurants in Gavray.

Chez Cedric. Open Monday to Saturday lunchtime. Also open Friday evening.
Hotel de la Gare. Open Monday to Thursday lunchtime and evening. Also open Friday and Saturday lunchtime.
Restaurant Délice. Open Wednesday to Saturday lunchtime and evening. Also open for Sunday lunch.

That means that none of the Gavray restaurants are open on a Sunday evening. However, there are other options a little further afield.

They all offer something different. Chez Cedric opened in 2018 and is very popular with workers at lunchtime who want excellent value-for-money set menus. Hotel de la Gare is similar in price and is popular with families. They have a children’s menu but plenty of options of good, honest food. Délice is slightly more expensive and can cater for vegetarians and vegans. One of their specialities is lamb shank.

Chez Cedric is at 18 rue de la Poterie. Read my review here.

Chez Cedric in Gavray
Hotel de la Gare is at 23 Place de la Mairie. Read about my visit here
or check out their website here.

Restaurant Délice is at 9 Place du Dr Beck. Their website is here.

Where to eat out in Gavray

Nearby are alternative restaurants to consider.

  • Auberge du Mesnil Rogues, Route de l’Auberge, Mesnil Rogues. Their opening times depend on the season. They’re always closed on a Monday but are open on a Sunday for lunch and in the evening. Have a look at their website.
  • L’Auberge de l’Abbaye, 5 route de l’Abbaye, Hambye. In the summer they close on all day on a Monday but are open on the other days. Winter opening hours are different and you can have a peek at their website.
  • La Baratte, Le Bourg, Saint-Denis-le-Vêtu They’re closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings as well as all day on a Wednesday. Their website is here.
  • Le Krill, Le Bourg, La Baleine. Their opening times also depend on the season. In the summer they’re closed on a Sunday evening and all day on a Monday.

where to eat out in Gavray

Coutances, Villedieu-les-Poêles and Granville also have a good selection of restaurants. However, the majority are closed on a Sunday evening.

I am happy to call in advance and book a table for guests.

A Gourmet Day Out in Normandy

A Gourmet Day Out in Normandy

For a gourmet day out in Normandy, the town of Lonlay l’Abbaye is the perfect choice. There’s even some history thrown in for good measure.

There are five activities on the tour – three gourmet experiences, lunch and an abbey visit. The tours are run every Wednesday throughout the year. Places must be booked and the tour will be in French. However, as much of it involves food and drink, that may not be an issue.

gourmet day out in NormandyYou can download the brochure here.

To book your place on the tour all you need to do is contact the tourist office directly.

Office de Tourisme
12 place de la Roirie
61700 DOMFRONT
Tél : 02 33 38 53 97
info@ot-domfront.com
Website

Alternatively, you can visit each of the suggestions yourself so let’s take a look at them in more detail.

1.Biscuit Factory – La Biscuiterie de L’Abbaye

Biscuits have been made here since 1090. They offer a guided tour and free tasting. This lasts around an hour. You’ll be provided with a protective hairnet and overall to wear as you watch how the biscuits are made. You get to see the kneading, cutting, baking and packaging.

Places need to be booked. For more information and to book just call Mathilde on +33 (0)2 33 30 64 64 or email mathilde@biscuiterie-abbaye.com

The biscuit factory details are as follows:
Biscuiterie de l’Abbaye – Route du Val – 61700 Lonlay l’Abbaye
The English version of their website is here.

gourmet day out in Normandy

2.The Abbey Church – Abbatiale Notre Dame de Lonlay

You can do your own tour from 9am – 7pm every day. Entry is free. If you’d like to find out more about the abbey church that was built in the 11th century, download the brochure.
The abbey church is accessed via Place Saint-Sauveur in the centre of the town.

Lonlay L'Abbaye Lonlay L'Abbaye

3.Lunch – Le Relais de l’Abbaye

This is the suggested restaurant although there are other options outside of Lonlay l’Abbaye. Le Relais is at 16 Place Jules Levée, Tel 02.33.37.89.65. They offer a formule (set menu) for 15,90€ that includes starter, main course, dessert, quarter carafe of wine, coffee.

4.Beer tasting – Le Château de la Bière

For an additional gourmet experience you could visit this artisan beer producer. Their details are Le Château de la Bière, Le Fay, Tel 02.33.38.07.86 email contact@chateau-de-la-biere.com
Their website is here.

5.Dairy ice creams – Les Glaces de la Ferme Bidard

A final gourmet visit awaits just a short distance outside of Lonlay. Contact details: Les Glaces de la Ferme Bidard, La Guerche Carée
Tel: 06.48.99.63.98 Website.  This farm is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

gourmet day out in Normandy

This gourmet day out is a great way to explore the small town of Lonlay l’Abbaye in Normandy.

 

Tasting Typical Normandy Dishes

Tasting Typical Normandy Dishes

Coutances Tourist Office has written about 8 typical Normandy dishes. They’re widely available throughout the region and include Normandy specialities. This article is written in French and you can read it here.

Their choice of Normandy dishes is:-

1. La tarte aux pommes à la Normande

This is an apple tart and has Calvados added to it for an extra kick.

2 .Les moules à la Normande

A steaming plate of mussels served with a side of delicious french fries. This Normandy dish has a cider and cream sauce.

3. Escalopes à la Normande

A simple dish of turkey escalope with mushrooms and cream. Sometimes cider is added to it.

4 . Les recettes à base de Camembert

Number four on the list is dishes using camembert. This might include a fondue, a savoury tart, a salad or even soup. There’s always the option of Camembert served with bread as part of a cheese course.

Normandy dishes
Camembert

5. Feuilleté Andouille, Pommes, Camembert

Feuilleté is a pastry parcel filled with andouille (a spicy sausage that is not for the feint hearted), cooked apples and melted Camembert.

6. La teurgoule

Tergoule is a sweet rice pudding flavoured with cinnamon.

7. Coquilles Saint-Jacques à la Normande

Scallops cooked with butter, cream, mushrooms and white wine.

Normandy foods

8. Huîtres

Oysters are another Normandy speciality due to the abundance of oyster beds along the coast.

For oysters and mussels, you can try La Cale in Blainville sur Mer. La Cale a beach shack style bar right on the beach. It’s very simple and rustic in terms of its decoration but the food gets rave reviews. It’s very good quality and you go and order and pay for your food at the till. It’s not the place to go if you want to be waited on and have a table to yourselves. Eating at La Cale is a sociable experience and as you’ll discover, it’s very good value for money.