Basse Normandie – Château d’Audrieu
September 16, 2005
September 10, 11 and 12, 2005, we stayed at the Château d’Audrieu, in the country between Bayeux and Caen. It is an old building converted to a Relais et Châteaux hotel. Our room was one of the more deluxe ones and was very spacious with a lovely bathroom and a view of the field and woods behind. The first night we ordered à la carte, the second we had the tasting menu and the third was the prix fixe for hotel guests on Monday night when the restaurant is mostly closed. The cuisine was generally excellent for all three dinners. The wine list is good, but expensive. The clientèle tends to be older and prosperous. The Americans who are attracted by the D-Day sites tend to be the courtly Southern types, not shrill New Yorkers or Angelinos. The headwaiter and sommelier are experts at making them feel at home. The whole experience was expensive, but we got good value.
We went to many D-Day sites and appreciated the museums in Arromanches, Longues-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach, Ste Mère Eglise and Juno Beach, but not Utah Beach. We thought the big new Memorial museum near Caen was absurd and redundant. The huge American Cemetery above Omaha Beach is very moving, of course, as was the one small British one we went to. One could easily spend a week on the sites; it depends on your interest and energy level, but you should read before you go. We loved the Bayeux Tapestry and enjoyed the Musée des Beaux Arts in the castle in Caen. Our last stop in Normandy on the way out was Livarot, where we had lunch and bought cheese.