La Haye du Puits was half destroyed by WWII but patient reconstructions have returned it to its former charms and now it centres on a lovely chateau and its keep, with Wednesdays being the main market day. Lively and colorful, it is surrounded by green pastures, clear streams, woodland valleys and charming orchards, while the facades of shops in the main square have been repainted in pastel colours.
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The varied landscape around La Haye du Puits primarily seduced French artists (the Impressionists) in the C19th. These artists: Monet, Pissaro, Sickert, Morisot and Noel, led by Eugène Boudin, became particularly obsessed with the coastline and went on to produce work that soon turned it into a ‘Parisian’s Playground’ (such was its popularity with Parisians eager to escape from the busy capital). Emperor Napoleon III, Alexandre Dumas, Henry James and Marcel Proust were among the socialites who visited at this time and exclusive beach resorts and casinos were soon built in response to such attention, many of which are still open today; Deauville and Trouville for example.
The landscape is all the more impressive when considering the years of violence it has endured. In the 9th century, Normandy was subject to several assaults from Scandinavian Viking pirates, in 1066 William the Conqueror famously fought there as part of his mission to claim the English throne, during the Hundred Years’ War, Normandy changed hands several times, with England ruling Normandy until France finally won it back in 1450, in the C16th the Catholics and Huguenots fought it out as Normandy was a Protestant stronghold, then in 1944, the beaches were used for the country’s greatest and most haunting war. On June 4 th 1944, commonly known as D-day, 45,000 allied troops landed on the beaches near Bayeux and fighting took place that ravaged much of Normandy as well as killing thousands. Today there are numerous war memorials thoughtfully placed to remember those that died to bring back peace; the American Military Cemetary for example, which has thousands of perfectly aligned crosses and stars.
The town plays a large part in the tradition of horse-riding and horse-breeding that started in the C17th when the King’s Minister: Colbert, introduced the idea of ‘Royal Stud farms’ because he believed horse-breeding to be a reflection of national wealth. The green lane (La Voie Verte) is especially for horse-riding and there are numerous local horse races.
Other activities include: guided tours of the WWII memorials, picnics in the public garden, golf at a course 30mins from the centre, hiking, cycling, canoeing and eating oysters on the sandy beaches.
Food and Drink
Butter, cream and cheese are a staple part of most dishes in La Haye du Puits which are then accompanied by cider, the most popular drink in Normandy. Crepes with cider are particularly delicious here and Calvados (apple brandy) daily used for the Trou Normand, a tradition of drinking between courses to revive appetites.
La Rose des Vents, 39 Place de General De Gaulle, tel no: 02 33 46 45 57
La Taverne, 19 rue du Docteur Callégari, tel no : 02 33 46 19 86
Restaurant du Chateau, 1 rue du Chateau, tel no : 02 33 46 03 42
L’Equinoxe, 41 Place du Général De Gaulle, tel no : 02 33 46 01 10
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Normandy. We have a large network of partners in Normandy. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Normandy matching your requirements. Do not hesitate to contact us to find out more about our selection of properties for sale near La Haye du Puits