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Vimoutiers - a rural idyll

If you are seeking a rural idyll in northern France, perfect perhaps for swapping the stresses of a London weekday life for peaceful weekends among the apple orchards and dairy farms of northern France, then look no further than the little town of Vimoutiers. Vimoutiers lies in the river valley of the River la Vie, the River of Life, in the Orne department of Basse Normandie or Lower Normandy. Certainly the river keeps the area well irrigated; the landscapes are of green pastures, dotted with peacefully grazing dairy cows, and pretty apple orchards, dripping with fruit in late summer.

A gastronomic paradise

Vimoutiers is an absolute paradise for those who love the delicious and typical Norman delights of apples, cider and creamy Camembert cheeses. For simple, locally produced fare, this area reigns supreme. As long ago as the 15th century, cheese and dairy production helped make the town prosperous. Today Vimoutiers offers you the opportunity to try these goodies, direct from their place of origin in many cases, or you can buy them in specialist farm shops as well as supermarkets.

Textile industry

Vimoutiers also used to be well known for making cloth. In the 17th century, Paul Creton, who was born in the town, introduced the "Cretonne cloth" and "Vimoutiers cloth", and the textile industry in the area took off. In 1867 a census showed there to be about 5000 weavers in the area!

Wartime tragedy

On June 14th, 1944, a bombing raid tragically hit Vimoutiers, destroying as much as 90 percent of the town and killing over 200 of its inhabitants. Since then, Vimoutiers has risen, phoenix like, from the ashes, to create what is today a very attractive and thriving community.

What to see in Vimoutiers

Life in Vimoutiers now revolves around a central square, where the dairy traditions of the town are celebrated by a large statue of a cow, as well as statues of one Mary Harel, who introduced Camembert cheese in the early 19th century, from the nearby town of Camembert. There are the remains of a 16th century Benedictine monastery in Vimoutiers too, and a beautiful 15th century church, the Church of Notre Dame. The stunning stained glass windows of this building are really worth seeing, as they are the work of Gabriel Loire, an acclaimed master of the art.

Amenities on offer in Vimoutiers

Vimoutiers is able to provide all things you need on a daily basis. There are banks, health care services, tabacs, boulangeries, boucheries, supermarkets, a library, schools and petrol stations.

A market and a cheesy attraction!

Vimoutiers is a market town, as are so many in France, and the excellent traditional market here takes place weekly on Monday afternoons, making the start of the week a little more cheerful than in many places. There is also a smaller market held on Friday mornings. The other big attraction in town is the Camembert Museum, where you can trace the history of Norman cheese making and learn the dark arts of the Camembert!

Festivals and fun

Vimoutiers has its fair share of fun to offer you. The Apple Festival, the Foire de la Pomme, takes place in October every year and is a real "must attend" event. The exhibits are fantastic, and entirely made of apples. You have to see it to believe it! The area also supports various events throughout the year, most of them associated with country life and local produce.

Country sports

As you would expect from a town set firm in its rural traditions, the most popular sports on offer here are country sports such as walking, horse-riding, cycling and fishing. Close by there is also an excellent leisure centre that offers not only the ever popular tennis and swimming, but also the slightly more unusual option of grass skiing!

How to get there

If you want to fly, the best airport to fly to is Paris Charles de Gaulle, where you will find a good choice of airlines and departure airports from the UK. The airlines servicing this airport include British Airways, Air France, bmi, bmibaby, flybe, easyJet, Jet2, Thomsonfly and Aer Lingus. The nearest ferry ports are located at Caen and Le Havre, although Cherbourg, St Malo and Dieppe are also within easy reach. If you prefer to travel by train, the nearest station to Vimoutiers is at Lisieux, which is not too far away. By road, the town is found on the D979.

Property prices and availability in and around Vimoutiers

Normandy is one of the few places left in France where it is still possible to find a really low priced property... especially here, inland, away from the better known resorts and seaside towns. Prices are beginning to rise, but a serious property search should throw up some exciting possibilities, ranging from little town houses for partial renovation through to beautiful half-timbered country homes.

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Vimoutiers AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Vimoutiers?

The town of Vimoutiers is situated in the north of France. It lies in the very north of the Orne department, slightly to the east of the centre, and close to the border with Calvados.

Vimoutiers Property Map


Lower-Normandy Guide

Lower-Normandy Property Map


Orne Guide

  Orne Map

Population: 4,418

Access: By air: Fly to Paris. By boat: The ferry ports of Normandy are all accessible. By train: The nearest station is at Lisieux. By road: The town lies on the D979.

Economy: The economy is rural, with Camembert, country tourism, apples and cider significant.

Interesting fact: Vimoutiers suffered a tragedy during the Second World War, with a bombing raid destroying much of the town and killing over 200 people.


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