Normandy Gastro Guide by Trish Deseine

Trish Deseine

Belfast born Trish Deseine studied Modern Languages before moving to Paris where she spent over 30 years raising her family, working in fashion, marketing and PR.

In 2000 Trish wrote her first cookbook “Petits Plats entre Amis”. Now an award winning author Trish has 35 books in both English and French and has 5 World Gourmand Awards.

Trish has also presented 3 cookery series for Irish broadcaster RTE and more recently has 2 productions with BBCNI.

Gastro Guide by Trish Deseine



Only a couple of hours’ drive from Cherbourg is the French food lover’s heaven of le Pays d’Auge, famous for its patchwork of green fields and orchards, handsome cows, cider and
calvados, and where every other town seems to have the name of a favourite cheese. For those whose appetites need more immediate attention as you arrive, head to the pretty fishing town of St-Vaast-la-Hougue and try a dozen of their famous oysters, at La Criée du Tomahawk, overlooking the harbour, the Vauban towers and Tatihou island.

From there, head to ultra-charming Honfleur. Located on the Seine
estuary, the old port is lined with high, narrow houses dating from the 16th to 18th century, with a labyrinth of cobbled streets, full of bars, cafés and shops.
Honfleur’s beauty inspired many artists, from Seurat, Courbet, Monet and Turner to Boudin and Jongkind, and the town is still known for its numerous art galleries. Food wise, moule-frites and crêpes at one of the harbour terrasses are a must. And for finer dining and wonderful bread and pastry, try Sa Qua Na on Place Hamelin or L’Huitre Brûlée, specialised in sustainable fish and seafood and natural wines. For a comfortable night in
Honfleur, La Petite Folie and Le Clos de Grâce offer either apartments or B+B in two charming old houses right in the centre.


In Honfleur, don’t miss foodie shops Gribouille, for their terrific selection of Norman specialities, including all sorts of terrines, Poulet Vallée d’Auge (chicken cooked in cream, apples, cider, and Calvados) salted caramels, cider, Calvados and local biscuits - and L’Atelier de Sel, which sells all sorts of seasoned salts, including, naturally, Calvados flavour. Part of the growing family of patisseries and tea rooms Dupont avec un T with Meilleur Ouvrier de France Jean-Pierre Etienvre at the helm, Les petits Dupont opened just last year. Watch (and smell!) their financiers, madeleines, macarons being made in the open kitchen, and don’t even try to resist their chocolates.

Trouvillesur- Mer

Then base yourself for a few days in retroseaside town of Trouvillesur-Mer or in extremely posh Deauville, just on the other side of the river Touques estuary which divides them. One is easily walkable from the other, via their harbours, both have vast beaches with elegant boardwalks and plenty of activities for children in the summer months. But it is in the off-season where you’ll will get the most out of these two classic French holiday towns. In shoulder months, you’ll mingle more with locals at the wonderful markets, taste everything you didn’t manage in Honfleur at one of the two Dupont patisseries, and easily find the best tables at Le Morny’s café in Deauville, or legendary Brasserie Les Vapeurs in Trouville. For accommodation, try the 3*hotel, Le Flaubert, right on the beach in Trouville, or go for luxury in the very grand 5* L’Hotel Normandy in Deauville, where film stars attending Deauville’s film festival stay. In Trouville you can rent the old post office, now converted into a remarkable loft perfect for a crowd, retaining many of the old art nouveau features, or a smaller apartment if you are just two.


Inland, it’s cheese, cider and calvados country, with the villages of Pont-l’Évêque, Livarot and, a little further south, Camembert, all worth the trip. In Pont-l’Évêque, visit the beautiful Drouin distillery, still housed in a cluster of authentic 17th century timbered buildings. There, they make and sell cider, poiré (pear cider) Calvados, Pommeau and gins. After the tour, you can taste and buy, and even prolong your visit in this beautiful spot with a picnic under the apple trees. Tuck into a basket of local specialities, apple juice, cider, terrine, bread, cheese of course, and Teurgoule, a caramelised rice pudding typical of the region. Continue to Livarot and the Graindorge Dairy. They make first class Livarot, Camembert and Pont-l’Évêque cheeses and again, you can visit to learn about the process. Or you could press on to Camembert, and take in the Maison du Camembert museum, or do both! Return to the coast via Beuvron-en-Auge, one of France’s most beautiful villages and a photographer’s dream. For lunch, try Le Café Forges in Beuvron, a lovely little bistrot with terrasse, offering generous plates of local specialities and meats cooked on its open fireplace. For the less carnivorous, a Three Cheese galette (easy to guess which three) in l’Atelier Gourmand in Pont-l’Évêque might do the trick.


On your way back to Cherbourg, Bayeux is not only worth a stop to visit the tapestry and the cathedral, but also to pick up some Saint Eve, the town’s best known and loved meringue and cream-filled pastry, at Ordioni patisserie, so light you won’t even know you’ve eaten one. If you are passing through on Saturday, make sure you visit the vast and lively market at Place Saint Patrice. Browse the fabulous food stalls and fill up your baskets with terrines and saucissons, cider, Calvados, apples - and all that cheese! - before heading home.

Suggested Itinerary

Suggested Itinerary - Normandy

Cherbourg - Honfleur (via Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue)

  • Cherbourg ➔ Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue: 34 mins / 32km
  • Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue ➔ Honfleur: 2 hrs 5 mins / 176km

Explore Honfleur

  • Overnight in Honfleur

Explore Deauville / Trouville

  • Honfleur ➔ Deauville / Trouville: 25 mins / 17 km
  • Overnight in Deauville/Trouville

Pays D’Auge

  • Deauville/Trouville ➔ Pont-l’Évêque:15 mins/10 km
  • Pont-l’Évêque ➔ Livarot: 41 mins/42 km
  • Livarot ➔ Camembert: 16 mins/15 km
  • Camembert ➔ Beuvron-en-Auge: 49 mins/47 km
  • Beuvron-en-Auge ➔ Deauville/Trouville: 32 mins/36 km
  • Overnight in Deauville/Trouville

Deauville/Trouville – Cherbourg (via Bayeux)

  • Deauville/Trouville ➔ Bayeux: 1hr 10 mins/81 km
  • Bayeux ➔ Cherbourg: 1 hr 10 mins/100 km

Practical information

Places to eat

Places to visit

Places to stay


  • Honfleur: Saturday am, Cours des Fossés to Place Sainte-Catherine; Wednesday am Bio-market Place Sainte Catherine
  • Deauville: Tuesday, Friday and Saturday am, Place du Marché (near Place de Morny)
  • Trouville-sur-Mer: daily fish market on the quayside
  • Bayeux: Wednesday am: Rue Saint Jean; Saturday am: Place Saint Patrice
  • Cherbourg: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday am: Place de Gaulle; Sunday am: Avenue de Normandie

Places to shop

  • Gribouille, 16 rue de l’Homme de Bois, Honfleur.
  • L’Atelier du Sel, 8 Rue du Dauphin, Honfleur.
  • Les petits Duponts, 2 Rue de la République, Honfleur.
  • Patisserie Ordioni, 25 Rue Saint