Gite for Two, your ideal break nestling on the Normandy/Pays-de-la-Loire border

On The Doorstep

The Mayenne department is farming country and is split up into hundreds of small farms, large forests, rivers and streams. The three main towns of Mayenne, Laval and Chateau-Gontier all have castles overlooking the River Mayenne and are a haven for shoppers.

If your idea of a perfect day is to amble along country lanes bordered by apple trees, waterways and half-timbered farmhouses, and then take a breather at a small restaurant for a leisurely lunch washed down with a glass of Calvados apple brandy, then this area is close to perfection for a romantic French holiday.

It is synonymous with gastronomy, particularly the superb apples and delicious dairy products. Traditional dishes often feature apples, cider or calvados, such as filet mignon de porc Normande (pork tenderloin cooked with apples and onions in cider and served with caramelised apple rings).

Like cheese? Well, you'll be spoilt for choice here. One of the region’s most popular, Livarot, was invented in 1690 in the village of the same name. It has its own museum, complete with a reconstruction of a dairy farm and cheese dairy.

Other famous cheeses include Camembert (the village is less than an hour away from La Passonière and also has its own museum), Pont L'Eveque and Pave D'Augue.

The Surrounding Area

Rolling Normandy countryside, pretty towns and villages nestling in forests or alongside gently meandering rivers – La Passonière is surrounded by the best of French countryside.

The famous Normandy landing beaches are around 90 minutes drive away. Farther inland and a little closer to La Passonière is the memorial at Montormel, where the German invaders suffered horrendous losses in what was generally recognised as the beginning of the end of the war.

Everyone has heard of the Bayeux Tapestry, haven’t they? The beautiful town of Bayeux is just over an hour’s drive away and the 70-metre long embroidery depicting how William the Conqueror and his Norman army invaded England, defeated King Harold and claimed the throne of England is a sight not to be missed.

Also just over an hour’s drive away, on the west coast, is the stunning Mont St Michel. Second only to the Eiffel Tower as France’s best-known landmark, it has been a monastery, a citadel and a prison and recently celebrated its 1300th birthday.

A thousand fascinating years of faith, courage and human endeavour have made this island of granite a place of wonderment. Now a world heritage site, its mighty walls are invaded twice a day by the highest tides in Europe and every year by more than three million visitors.

Or how about Villedieu les Poêles? This is no ordinary French town. Yes, it has its old streets and alleyways and quaint houses made from local stone and slate. But stroll along those streets and your eyeballs are assailed by dazzling and seemingly endless displays of copper and pewter.

This is Villedieu les Poêles. God’s Town of the Pans. It’s the name that gives it away. Almost every shop front is crammed with saucepans, frying pans, kettles and clocks. Even dolphins and huge helmets for deep-sea divers. It’s metal in every shape, size and price.

Medieval Domfront and the stunning flower village of St Fraimbault are just a few minutes away from La Passonière. Friendly bars and restaurants offer excellent – and cheap – lunchtime and evening meals and if you've over-indulged a little why not work it all off with a round of golf or a spot of horse riding or cycling?

La Passonière's Gite for Two is your perfect holiday for two in France. A place where you can relax and unwind one day and explore the beautiful surrounding area the next.

 

 

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