For buying and selling property in Vire
Overlooking the vast forests of Lower Normandy, Vire is a historic town with a population of just under 14,000. The town's strategic position has been responsible for both its steady rise and almost fall through its history. Agriculture and trade flourished in the 17th and 18th Centuries, while in 1944 the retreating Nazi's attempted to hamper any allied advancements by sabotaging the routes through the town.
In the past, the town was protected by the castle which was built in the 8th Century and then expanded in the 12th Century under King Henry of England. Today, all that is left is ruins. It's well worth a walk up though as, from the peak, there are fantastic views. To the West is the Vire valley while in the East is the loch.
To enter the old town you'll pass through an impressive gate with a watchtower above it. These days it is just used to tell the time. The town's coat of arms, an arrow with two towers, adorns the sides. Within, a spiral staircase will take you to the top for views out onto the rolling countryside.
What was once a small Romanesque chapel has, over time, been altered dramatically to reach its present form, a Notre-Dame church. The last round of building work was completed in the 15th Century, with most dating from the 13th. Once you step inside the large doorway you will notice a Baroque style has been exercised. The latest addition is a wooden sculpture by a local 19th Century artist on the South side.
Vire is famed for its many culinary delights that take pride of place on menus throughout the region. There are a number of fine restaurants located in the town. Make sure you try chitterlings, a tasty dish that is uniquely prepared by marinating the stomach and small intestines of a pig and cooking them inside the big intestines over a Beachwood fire for a number of weeks. Other specialities include andouille sausages and salmon from the local river.
The town has an excellent museum housed in what was a medieval hospital. It is devoted to the history, traditions and artistic talents of Vire. The first section has a number of workshops portraying how the locals had to earn a living in the past. Everything from Blacksmiths to basket makers are covered. The next part documents the town throughout its history with scriptures, drawings and photographs. After this there is a collection of artefacts from local culture. The most interesting are the costumes that Normans wear. Finally, the last section has a broad array of work from local artists.
Direct flights from the UK serve Dinard (Ryanair) and Rennes (Flybe). Ferries, however, are definitely the most popular way of getting here. You have the choice of Le Havre, Ouistreham (Caen), Cherbourg or St-Malo, all of which have regular crossings from the UK. You could also take the Channel Tunnel. If you don't want to take your car then the TGV will take you across to Caen.
The region as a whole is experiencing an increase in demand as Brittany's market becomes too saturated. This is mainly caused by British buyers looking for their second home. At the time of writing we have a chalet with lake views in a typical Norman style for €85,000.
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Vire is located in the Calvados department of the Basse-Normandie region. It is situated just south of Caen and St-Lo.
Access: Ferries will take you to Ouistreham (Caen), Cherbourg, Le Havre and St-Malo. You can travel by TGV to Caen, or fly to Dinard or Rennes.
Economy: The economy in Vire is mainly based in tourism, however, the production of the ancient local speciality 'Vire Chitterlings' is still prominent today.
Interesting fact: It was one of the first towns to be liberated after the Second World War, although it was nearly destroyed by the retreating Nazi's.
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