Normandy was home, in pre-mediaeval times to Norse Men (the secret's in the name) who, recognising a good thing when they pillaged it, stayed on and enjoyed the warmer climate! These days Calvados is the department with all the cheese! Actually if you show me a region of France I will show you a pile of cheese - because there are hundreds of them, many of which you probably won't have heard of. And Calvados is so famous for Calvados itself (the apple brandy) that they named the department after it. I have found a derivative of Calvados which obviously travels well which is called Pommeau drunk in many areas of France. It is a drink where apple juice (I'm assuming they mean cider... well for a punchier version at least cider is used)... but apple juice mixed with Calvados... A friend of mine, who was renovating a house for a family whose father had died, were showing him around the sparsely furnished house and had said... "we have taken all of the things from the house that we want to keep. Anything else is yours! "Thanks" he said as they left - not expecting much. He was mooching around as he planned up the job and hadn't seen anything that set him alight... until he got to the cave (that's pronounced 'carve' to us Brits and is where wine and other supplies are stored). In the cave were two huge padlocked chest freezers... they weren't even plugged in. Being locked he thought, reasonably, that the contents may have a value. Knowing that the family were not likely to return until his renovation job was almost finished he carefully jemmied off the lock of the first one and found 70 bottles of Eau de Vie... double or sometimes triple distilled cider(and usually illegally) to produce something which might easily be used as rocket fuel or paint stripper dependent on your requirements... Drinking it is also recommended but not on an empty stomach... or having a qualified medic standing by! The second one was identically filled All friends and relatives.
Caen is the major city in Calvados with airport, ferry port (Ouisterham) and home to the WWII Normandy beaches. Not surprisingly there is 'something going on there' I have always felt a reverential chill in air whilst in the area and, of course, it attracts thousands of visitors each year whether connected by family ties or not.
Bayeaux is just up the E46 to the West of Caen and no trip to the area is complete without a visit to the Tapestry that gives the town its famous label. Look out for our own 'local boy', Harold. He'll be the one with the arrow in his eye. Who knows what turn history may have taken if he and his horse had been just a few paces to the left or the right... We could have won and France would have been ours for 3 or 4 hundred years instead of the other way round! And the French may have been driving Jaguars and Rovers around instead of us driving Renaults and Citroens!
Deauville is famous for it's race course and Calvados is famous for its equestrian tradition and for its stud farms - we often have them on our site. But Deauville is much more than just horses... it is a multifaceted town with many, many activities for the resident and visitor... Buying a house anyway in this region and you will not be short of house guests the year round... culture, creativity and the arts abound... www.deauville.org
In the southwest of the Calvados, famed in the past for leather goods and textiles, the town of Vire became a fortified enclave and was seized by the English... wrenched back by the French and forever as with its neighbour, Brittany, changed ownership and control a number of times down the centuries. But even in World War II Vire was the victim of friendly fire from the allied air forces wishing to rout the German invaders and, because of badly placed marker flare units, the town itself took the first phase of the bombing killing many townsfolk. In more recent days Vire is a thriving community. Being close by to Lake Dathée makes the area very popular as it attracts, golf tennis, sailing and waterspouts enthusiasts.
Bustling markets liven up Vire (Fridays) and many other neighbouring market towns too on revolving days... These are a must to visit selling everything from live animals cattle, pigs, sheep, rabbits and poultry through clothing, pots & pans, to foodstuffs including takeaway... crepes, hot dogs with a twist, chinese & paella... It's a great day out...
Check out tourist sites to give you a flavour of the region...