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Pont L’Eveque is located in the department of Calvados in Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie) in north western France. 12 km from the delightful Deauville -Trouville coast, the town lies right in the heart of the Pays d’Auge known for the beauty of its pastoral landscape and pretty valleys. Positioned at the meeting point of three rivers, the Touques, the Calonne and the Yvie, the name ‘Douets’ is given to the many smaller tributaries which help to make the land so green and fertile. Famous for the square shaped soft cheese which bears its name, Pont L’Eveque is a traditional French town offering a warm welcome to visitors touring Normandy for the fine cuisine to be found throughout the area.
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Situated between Higher and Lower Normandy, Pont L’Eveque has always been an important trade route between Paris, Rouen and the coast of Brittany since Roman times. The river Touques flows through the town which was also used for transporting produce to neighbouring villages.
During the battle of Normandy in 1944, 65% of the town which was then under German occupation, was destroyed by allied bombing. Post World War II there has been much rebuilding and several important buildings have been lovingly restored and reconstructed. Nowadays Pont L’Eveque has developed into an important centre for leisure tourism.
Perhaps the most famous local resident was Roger de Pont L’Eveque (c. 1115-1181) who was a contemporary of Thomas à Becket, becoming Archdeacon of Canterbury and later, in 1154, Archbishop of York.
Lac de Pont L’Eveque has been awarded the Blue Flag for the quality of its bathing water and environmental management of this attractive lake which is popular for swimming, fishing and all sorts of water sports including sailing, yachting, jet skiing, canoeing and kayaking. With nearly 300 camp site plots open from 15 March until 1 November, this is a family-orientated park with a restaurant and a variety of activities for children.
Located in a former convent which was destroyed during the French Revolution, The Dominicans is a cultural space which holds temporary art exhibitions and offers visitors the chance to view the permanent collection devoted to the history of the town of Pont l’Eveque. A programme of special events in May and June is held specialising in contemporary art (prints, photographs, paintings) as well as lectures and animations relating to the architectural and natural heritage of the area.
The 15th century church of Saint Michel in rue Calvin is also called ‘Cathédrale of the Pastures’ which is one of the most beautiful religious monuments in the region. Its famous coat of arms depicts two cattle and three fleurs de lys on its shield which is the emblem of the town.
One of the most interesting places to visit is Pere Magloire which is a distillery producing the famous Normandy tipple, Calvados, a local apple brandy. There is a small museum and a tour guide will explain the manufacturing process with the added attraction of tasting different types of this most hearty ‘digestif’.
Traditional cheese making is carried out on several farms where you can learn the complexities of producing the perfect Pont L’Eveque cheese, the method of which has hardly changed since Norman times. The central pâte is soft, creamy pale yellow in colour with a smooth, fine texture and has a pungent aroma. It is ranked alongside Brie, Camembert and Roquefort as one of the most popular cheeses in France. Market day is held in the centre of town on Mondays where you can buy direct from the producer.
Within easy driving distance of Deauville, Trouville, Honfleur, Cabourg and other seaside resorts, there are plenty of opportunities to explore this part of Normandy including the D-Day Landing Beaches. With Pont L’Eveque as your base, touring the countryside and taking in the picturesque villages along the way, you are guaranteed a fascinating dip into traditional French rural life mixed in with all the gaiety of shopping in interesting towns with excellent hotels and restaurants.
Accommodation & Restaurants
Pont L’Eveque is a small town with several hotels including Hotel et Spa Le Lion d’Or which has 3 star accommodation. It is a former coaching inn with a large spa with swimming pool, steam room and a sauna. Ferme de Geffosse is a short distance from the town near the village of Le Torquesne with a large garden and breakfast is served on the terrace with attractive views of the countryside.
Hostellerie de la Hauquerie – Chevotel is surrounded by a park and is the ideal destination for visitors wishing to explore the region. It has a restaurant serving traditional local cuisine with a bar and a verandah overlooking a lovely garden which is a great place to relax. Horse-riding and golf enthusiasts are particularly welcome. Hotel Eden Park is a modern hotel located near the Pont l’Eveque leisure centre on the banks of the lake which is convenient for watersport activities and relaxation.
B & B accommodation at Chambres d’Hotes Le Vieux Pressoir is recommended. The half-timbered house is typical of Normandy with a pretty garden and an outdoor swimming pool. Continental breakfast with homemade preserves is served in the dining room or in the garden.
Normandy cuisine has an excellent reputation and Pont L’Eveque has a good selection of local restaurants serving traditional farmhouse-style food and good local fish dishes. Auberge de la Touques, at 2 Place de l’Eglise is a beautifully restored 18th century half-timbered building situated on the banks of the river. Dining at this well known restaurant takes place on the terrace in fine weather and cosily beside a log fire in the winter. Le Vaucelles at 39 Rue Vaucelles is a popular choice with residents and visitors alike so it is advisable to book ahead. Le Normandie is good value for lunch with a daily menu including house speciality crépes. Restaurant le Saint Melaine Bouchon Normand is a small bistro/restaurant in the heart of town offering high quality locally produced food with an accent on freshness and good service.
By train: Paris Saint-Lazare – Lisieux – Deauville
Chemins de Fer de l’Ouest
By car: A13 autoroute, exit Pont l’Eveque
Route nationale 177
Brittany Ferries: Portsmouth-Caen/Ouistreham
LD Lines: Portsmouth – Le Havre
By air: Deauville-Saint Gatien
16 bis, Place Jean Bureau
Tel: 02 31 64 12 77