The roads may be quieter, but the festivities across the Channel continue through autumn, so why not take an out-of-season motoring
If your summer holiday feels like an all-too-distant memory, an off-season road trip to France is the perfect way to squeeze in another break before the end of the year. Within easy reach is Normandy, which makes an ideal getaway in October during the harvest of one of its most famous products – the apple.
This land of rolling hills, half-timbered farms and pretty villages such as Tordouet (main picture) grows 400 varieties of the humble fruit and the harvest is cause for great celebration. In Sainte-Opportune-la-Mare in the Forêt Domaniale de Brotonne, apple farmers and visitors will gather on 6 October for the Fête de la Pomme. Attractions include tastings of different varieties as well as a demonstration of the traditional production process using a horse-powered apple press (tel: (Fr) 2 32 41 81 33, www.normandie-accueil.fr).
Later in the month, raise a glass or two with the locals at the Fête du Cidre in the beautiful surroundings of Beuvron-en-Auge on 27 October. In this Plus Beau Village you will be able to sample freshly pressed apple juice and savour apple products made by local artisans (tel: (Fr) 2 31 27 90 30, www.calvados-tourisme.co.uk). Don’t forget to stock your car boot full of goodies too.
Normandy’s gastronomic tourist routes provide an opportunity to explore the green and gentle countryside while tempting the tastebuds. Beuvron is on the Route du Cidre, a 40-kilometre trail that allows you to meet producers of cider, calvados apple brandy and pommeau, a blend of calvados and apple juice.
If you need a snooze before getting behind the wheel and heading homewards, try resting overnight in a genuine 10,000-litre calvados barrel at Domaine de la Cour au Grip in the Pays d’Auge area (tel: (Fr) 2 31 63 85 85, http://lacouraugrip.blog.capital.fr). Converted into a cosy sleeping space and set among holiday accommodation in the village of Repentigny, it is the perfect way to end your autumnal trip before heading back across the Channel.