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Cheese Please!

Written on: Sunday March 18th, 2007

A journal entry from: Rouen Exchange

In the middle of mom and dad's stay in France, I had to return to Rouen on the Tuesday to study for an exam that I had on the Wednesday.  This was soemthing thing I was not used to at home.  First, only taking a day to study for an exam.  Second, having an exam worth 100% of my mark.  I feel as though it went fine...haven't been told how/when we find out any of our marks though.  For those interested, my semester here is actually divided into two.  So, half my classes have ended and next week I will begin new classes.

After mom and dad returned to pick me up, we headed toward the cheese region of Normandy.  To be specific, this area is called the Pays D'Auge.  Our first stop was Pont L'Eveque.  In this quainte little town, we were able to tour a Cidre/Calvados/Pommeau distillery.  You see, Normandy is famed for its apples so it makes these three types of alcoholic drinks.  Cidre is my favourite, at 3-5% alcohol. Pommeau is a mixture of cidre and calvados or apple juice and calvados.  Calvados is a hard liquor, with 70% alcohol.  We got into a tour that was starting as we arrived at the farm.  Unfortunately, the tour was in French and a teacher was translating into a Belgian language for his class that was also part of the tour.  We picked some information though...and we got a free sampling at the end.

Next, we headed south to Lisieux.  At this point, we decided it was best to begin looking for a place to spend the night.  Unfortunately, bed and breakfast owners are hard to get a hold of in the middle of the day or are unwilling to take on guest on short notice. After telephone calls to many gites (as B&B's are called in French), Maison Geolie in the small town of Familly, took us in.  We were welcomed into a georgeous, two story suite with a full kitchen (oven, microwave, washing machine), pull out couch, double bed and single bed, all for only 75 Euros a night.  And the breakfast was spectacular, in my opinion.

The following day we went to Livarot where they make Pont L'Eveque, Livarot and Camembert cheeses. They offered free tours followed by tastings at the factory and I was very impressed. If you are ever able to find these cheeses in Canada, I strongly suggest you try them.  For any farmers out there, they are made with rich milk from Norman cows.

The rest of the day we spent exploring the country roads.  We went to Roche d'Outre which is one of the areas natural attractions.  This high rock lookout point had views of the Orne river.  It was a nice hiking break.  We had read about the town of Clery in mom's tourist book that was described as having great cafes along the river.  However, when we arrived, it looked as though we had caught the off season as everything was closed.  That evening we went to a restaurant suggested by the owner of our Gite, L'Orbecquois.  I had a steak with Camembert melted on top (delicious - eventhough I'm not a big steak fan), dad had duck and mom had scallops and ??? (We're still not sure what it was).  Some kind of veal but definately a different body part than we're used to. (Looking it up in my dictionary, I think it might have been kidney).

Our last day together was spent at a Saturday morning market in Bernay where mom and dad got me set up with some alimentation and they also picked up a couple souveniers.  Then, we travelled to Foret-de-Lyons.  This is a 26,000 arce forest of mostly beech trees.  After this, we arrived in Rouen and I showed mom a couple of the sights (dad stayed in the room) and then we celebrated our final evening with a great dinner at Les Toques D'Or Grill.  French food - but we knew what we were getting into.