Oui – yet another Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The most beautiful villages of France). Up in the Basse-Normandie region of northwestern France, Beuvron-en-Auge is just a couple of hours … but a world apart … from Paris. Comfortably situated between the sea and countryside, this charmingly beautiful village seems like a stage setting with half-timbered 17th century houses, a lovely old inn from the 1700’s, the authentically Normand Church San Marino and a very beautiful Manor House.
Flower boxes dress the sparkling windows and open spaces, and quaint, colorful signs show the way to the local patisserie or epicerie or brocante. They celebrate all kinds of things in Beuvron – geraniums and cider and an exotic dessert rice pudding called tergoule; and they have a central location, where many farm products are offered.
Doesn’t it make you wonder how this small community of less than 500 people should gain the esteemed “Most Beautiful Village” designation? Well, let’s see exactly how that comes to be.
Of the more than 32,000 villages that have shaped the French countryside over time, there are currently 157 villages that share membership in the association. These are the special places with a passion to reveal the quality of their distinct heritage – their history, land, culture and people.
Three requirements must be met, before the four-stage process of selecting
villages. The village population must not exceed 2,000. The village must include at least two protected areas of legendary, picturesque, scientific, artistic or historic interest. Finally, the decision to apply for admission must be taken by the town council. Once those requirements are fulfilled, four stages form the selection process:
1. Evaluation of a village’s application
2. On-site evaluation
3. Quality Committee
4. Quality Charter
A former stronghold of the Harcourt family, Beuvron easily fits the picturesque requirements, with brick and half-timbered buildings and country homes scattered about the landscape.
The village is on the Cider Route and on the Cheese Route; and the Place de la Halle (Market Square) is now home to the inviting Pave d’Auge Normandy restaurant, where Michelin-star menus and regional gastronomy augment the exposed beams and timberwork of the old covered market.
Hmmm….shall we order the Saint-Jacques dans un bouillon de cidre or a savory soufflé? Naturally a glass of vin de pays du Calvados will accompany our meal.
By the way, the Pave d’Auge is a bed and breakfast; so if you are inclined to absorb the lovely Normandy countryside, stay a while with Sophie and her husband.
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