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The capital of the Pays d’Auge, Lisieux is also a famous pilgrimage centre with a cathedral dedicated to Sainte Thérèse. She lived in a Carmelite convent in Lisieux after a childhood spent in Les Buissonnets – an elegant 19th century house which still houses some of her personal effects. Large numbers of people travel here to experience her spiritual presence and Lisieux is the second most visited pilgrim town after Lourdes.
Exploring the countryside around Lisieux is a popular pastime with charming Normandy cider apple orchards and wooded valleys typical of the area. The 16th century Château de Saint-Germain-de-Livet is a little fortress in a valley which is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in the region with a moat full of water surrounding the castle. The town itself has some remarkable buildings including the Cathedral Saint-Peter, the Episcopal Palace, the hôtel du Haut Doyenné and the Bishop’s Palace Garden. The Museum of Art and History is worth a visit exhibiting artefacts of historic Lisieux and the Pays d’Auge.
Lisieux is an important commercial centre and the old town is a shopper’s paradise. A market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays where visitors can sample local cheeses including Camembert and Livarot as well as tasting sparkling cider, Calvados and Benedictine, the delicious herbal liqueur made nearby. With many tea rooms and cafés, visitors can also enjoy some of the best cakes in France made with locally produced fresh cream, apples and brandy.
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