France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Camembert, Normandy, France
This delicious cheese is one of many Normandy specialties.

 
   

 

I've always loved Camembert cheese, from when I was a kid and my parents would buy Borden's Camembert. Those cute little wedges of soft white cheese were great...or so I thought.

Then I went to France in 1968 and learned about real French cheeses...and real Camembert.

So I was delighted to realize that in driving from Bayeux to Rouen, we could take a short detour to the village of Camembert and nearby Vimoutiers (map).

After a lovely drive through the Normandy countryside, we arrived in Vimoutiers, home of one of the Camembert museums. More...

We continued on to the village of Camembert, some 5 kilometers (3 miles) down the narrow windy road.

Camembert village, Normandy, France  
   

We were greeted by a herd of cows and the Maison du Camembert, whose entrance is shaped like a Camembert box.

Happily, we had arrived at lunch time, and when we inquired if we could get something to eat, we were offered a cheese plate: delicious wedges of creamy Camembert, bold yellow Livarot, smooth Neufchatel, and tangy Pont l'Évêque. Add to that a basket of fresh French bread and a bottle of delicious Normandy cider, and we were set! Eating outside with a lovely view was nice too.

The Maison du Camembert has displays that provide information about the various cheeses, and of course you can buy cheese, cider and other local products to take away.

Although buses occasionally come to Camembert, when we were there we had the place to ourselves—except for the cows!

Fun fact: do you know what characterizes a true Norman cow? They call them vaches à lunettes, or cow with glasses, because of the dark spots around the eyes.

After lunch we walked across the parking lot to the Museum. This museum focuses on how the cheese is produced. Exhibits explain the history, the all-important terroir, or special characteristics of the region, the cows and the milk, the steps in the process, and "the great families from Camembert." And of course, a tasting is included in the visit. You can try pasturized Camembert and that made from raw milk, as well as a blend. For more on the history of Camembert click here.

President Camembert, France  
Above, Président Camembert served on Air France.  

Also known as the Ferme Président, after the large producer of butter and cheeses in France, the Maison du Camembert is a delightful side trip when you're in Normandy, just a bit à côté—or to the side of—the main route. Well worth a detour if you like cheese, beautiful countryside, and exploring!

 


Normandy Food & Drink

Camembert History

Vimoutiers

Apples & Cider

Seafood

Crêpes

About Normandy

About Rouen

 

Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel by Tom Brosnahan

 

Camembert lunch, France

Above, Yum! Can you think of a better lunch? Note the Normandy paper plate and cup.

Below, The Maison du Camembert.

 

Maison du Camembert, France

Camembert Museum, Normandy, France

Above, Camembert Museum, with signs indicating different brands of Camembert cheese.

Below, Cows at the entrance of the village of Camembert.

Camembert, Normandy, France

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