Thanks to its lush countryside and coastline location, Normandy, in Northern France, holds a cornucopia of wonderfully fresh produce. The local delicacies owe a lot to this setting, and many of the region’s restaurants feature ever-changing seasonal menus. Typical dishes are simple, yet rich – often with a generous helping of cream and butter. All in all, local produce is a great reflection of this region’s landscape, which encompasses acres of cow fields, apple orchards and an extensive sea coast. Ready to try some for yourself? The best way to do so is at a food festival – and you can find one almost every month. Here, we take a look at some of the best foodie gatherings in Normandy this October.
Granville Seafood Festival: 30 September – 1 October
With such an expansive coastline, Normandy holds an abundance of freshly caught seafood. In fact, due to the sheer amount available, many festivals in the region devote themselves solely to this foodstuff. One of the largest is in the picturesque town of Granville, nestled along the region’s west coast. As well as up to 50 food stalls, this portside festival has workshops held by local chefs, and plenty of cooked dishes to try. The event is held annually, and this year’s festival takes place from 30 September to 1 October.
While you’re there for the festival, you’ll find plenty of things to do in and around Granville. Take the daily ferry to the tranquil Chausey, a small collection of islands that lies just over 15km from the city, and you’ll find white sandy beaches, a crumbling 19th century fort commissioned by Napoleon III and a 16th century castle restored by industrialist Louis Renault.
A celebration encompassing all of Normandy’s produce, its capital city of Rouen has held an annual food festival since the 1930s. This year’s event takes place over two days, with 150 producers gathering in the historic Old Market for one reason – to share their passion for gastronomy. As well as some delicious produce to take home, there’ll be demonstrations from masterful chefs and more than a few street food stalls to sample. While you’re in Rouen, be sure to take in the local scenery – the Gothic spires of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame inspired many a painting by Normand resident Claude Monet.
Beuvron-en-Auge Cider Festival: 22 October
With an average temperature that’s colder than the rest of France, the climate in Normandy makes it more ideal for growing apples than grapes – so in place of vineyards, you’ll see acres of orchards here. Of course, this makes it one of the best places in the world to enjoy a glass of locally-produced cider. Every year, the village of Beuvron-en-Auge, to the north of the region, holds one of the country’s most popular festivals dedicated to the drink. A postcard perfect setting of timber-framed houses and other old-world architecture, the village itself is on the Cider Route – a 40km trail of Normandy that’s unmissable for all cider fans. All along the route, you’ll find producers who are more than happy to open their doors and share their prowess with visitors.
NB: France has a driving law which requires every vehicle to have a breathalyzer on hand at all times. Plan ahead and stay overnight locally when choosing to indulge in a few glasses of regionally-produced cider.
Ready to take a trip? Read our guide to France for more inspiration.