"Sainte-Opportune-La-Mare A Small Gem In Normandie" Sainte-Opportune-la-Mare by Adagio1


This miniscule village has a population of 385. If you are staying or touring through Normandie and are near the mouth of the Seine then do visit Sainte-Opportune-La-Mare a quaint little town on the D810 in Upper Normandy.

Each October they have an Apple Festival check out the date and don't miss this opportunity. The savoir-faire at this time is a memorable experience. When we arrived we were soon noticed as tourists and made to feel welcome by the various stall holders, even being taken to meet the local dignatories who introduced us to some of the fermented apple specialties. As I was driving I did not explore the enormous array of ciders available but bought enough to keep me happy for days.

Thatched Roofs

There are quite a few trails in this part of Normandy for example the "Grand’Mare Trail". This is about 5 km long and is marked out in yellow the banks of the nearby lake. I suggest you search for Sainte-Opportune-La-Mar sites on then Web to get more information from the local tourist offices.

Please ignore my erroneous spelling in the photos. Even though we were in Autumn the flowers around the many thatched houses were spectacular.

I advocate staying at a suitable town in Normandy for at least a few days making it a hub for forays into the beautiful and unspoilt countryside.

Making Cider

This was quite a process and went on for at least an hour. The local farmers bring in a magnificent Percheron mare to turn the huge stone crushing wheel that runs in a stone circular trough. The very ripe apples are spread around the trough and eventually the juice begins to run into the collection buckets, along with a few bees and wasps. To remove as many solids as possible thatch is spread out across the flow before it enters the collection bucket. Yes, this is the same thatch or reeds as used on the houses.

I am not too sure about the hygiene of this cider operation as it only happens once a year no one seemed to care. That's the thing I like about the French they don't seem to get paranoid about a little lack of hygiene (-:

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Simply provencial France at its unspoilt best
  • Cons:none at all
  • In a nutshell:One of those unexpected experiences that stay in your memory for a very long time.
  • Last visit to Sainte-Opportune-la-Mare: Oct 2005
  • Intro Written Jul 3, 2007
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Comments (3)

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    What a fun adventure. I've added it to my Normandy Travel Guide for a future trip. We love Normandy and we love apples. Thank you.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2008 at 1:12 PM

    wow and thanks - this is something I will put in my diary for 2009!wont be drinking their apple juice though!

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2007 at 8:35 AM

    I just love these towns. So quaint-looking, so French.


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