Normandy is full of architectural treasures. Thus, no less than 131 castles and manors are to be discovered this summer on the route traced by Authentic Normandy, the tourist office of Lisieux Agglomeration. From Orbec to Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, from Lisieux to Livarot, discover this heritage of emotions along the 30 paths open to green hiking.
They are scattered in the countryside of the Pays d'Auge, sometimes exuberant in the heart of a green park, most often, hidden in a luxuriant nature. You will be surprised by the diversity of their forms, their colors, and their construction materials.
Discovering dream castles
In the small town of Fervaques, the Château Le Kinnor is enthroned. An architectural jewel from the end of the 16th century, it was the witness of the negotiations between Marshal Guillaume IV de Hautemer and King Henri IV.
At the beginning of the XIXth century, it also sheltered the love of the great romantic writer, native of Saint-Malo, François-René de Chateaubriand, and the beautiful Delphine de Custine. The estate boasts two remarkable trees, the oldest oriental plane tree in France and a two-hundred-year-old purple beech called "Chateaubriand".
The builders of Auvergne have demonstrated remarkable know-how in woodworking. Their talents were also expressed in the work of stone and brick. Only twenty minutes from Lisieux, in the heart of the Pays d'Auge, you can also discover the Manoir de Coupesarte, a typically Norman construction, with its original wooden frame and its exceptional architectural unity.
Live a medieval summer
Dive into the heart of the Middle Ages! Until August 15, the castle of Crèvecoeur invites the visitor to share various shows, medieval investigations, and other tournaments of chivalry. Located 15 minutes from Lisieux in the direction of Caen, it is a unique example of a small seigniory that has withstood the tests of time and successive wars.
In the high courtyard, protected by ditches filled with water and a 12th-century wall, we discover the lord's dwelling, built in the 15th century. The lower courtyard includes a group of 15th-century timber-framed agricultural buildings, a barn, a farm, a dovecote, and a beautiful 12th century stone chapel.
Until August 18, the Château de Canon, located 30 minutes from Lisieux, invites you to travel back in time and offers a return to the eighteenth century with its illuminated summer evenings. On the program, from 8:00 to 11:30 pm, picnic, festive animation, lighting of braziers at dusk, a twilight tour of the Water Mirror with lanterns, and night tour, marked out by illuminated stages, to discover the flower gardens and the rose garden in light.
The old "house in the fields" has been inhabited and maintained by the same family since the middle of the 18th century, the descendants of the famous Élie de Beaumont, a famous lawyer of the Enlightenment.
The surprises continue at the Château de Saint-Germain-de-Livet, 6 km from Lisieux in the direction of Livarot, which offers sensory visits this summer. Well named "the jewel of the Pays d'Auge", this superb castle is characterized by its architecture which harmoniously combines a typically Norman half-timbered manor house from the end of the 15th century and a stone and glazed brick building from the Pré d'Auge from the end of the 16th century.
A stroll through the beautiful French gardens is a must. The castle museum opens its doors again to present the furnishings and collections of the Riesener-Pillaut family. Discover also the Château de Boutemont, an ancient medieval fortress built between the 12th and 17th centuries, in the Touques valley between Pont-L'Évêque and Lisieux.
Important work has been carried out to restore the remarkable gardens, which received the EBTS (European Boxwood & Topiary Society) Grand Prix in 2016, a European recognition.
Oxygenate yourself far from the beaten track
Out of the 62 hiking trails in the area, 30 are open this summer for walking by Authentic Normandy. You can cross, at your own pace, the bocage and the Norman villages. It is the occasion to discover, at the crossroads of the paths, small manors, authentic and intimist, preserved and often ignored, so many nuggets which are worth the detour.
This is the case of the manor of Saint-Michel-de-Livet, Livarot-Pays d'Auge, made of wood and cob, built in the second half of the 15th century. In the direction of Livarot, one is seduced by the Manor of Bellou, a typical work of the Pays d'Auge of the 15th and 16th centuries, with its dovecote with tiled half-timbering, its stables of the 17th century, and original paintings.
We walk in the large park with a remarkable arboretum with an imposing sequoia of more than 200 years and various weeping trees. At the entrance, ciders, jams, and farm products are available to gourmets.