The Orne – for couples who are wild at heart, love nature, good food and the romance of the French countryside.
So many couples associate Normandy with the WWII landing beaches, ferry ports and the fashionable but expensive coastal towns of Honfleur and Deauville.
In their haste to find the perfect place to celebrate their special day they drive through Normandy en route South to look at other areas where they can create the fairy-tale wedding of their dreams.
But wait, let’s look a little closer?
If you are seeking a truly romantic setting that’s easy to get to, which is famous for its gastronomy and picturesque countryside, a Lower Normandy wedding should be on your list. It also offers very good value for money when compared to other destinations in France.
Lower Normandy, and more particularly the department called The Orne, is not just within easy reach of the Channel ports, it’s a short drive (two hours) from Paris and its international airports. It also has good rail links with the capital.
Travel time to a venue is an important consideration for couples because an easy journey means that site visits are simpler and both they and their guests will have more time to spend together. They will also arrive fresh and relaxed, ready to enjoy the celebrations.
On arrival in the area visitors will enjoy their journey as they travel through the pastoral landscapes passing apple orchards, chateaux and manor houses en route.
In the Orne, the seasons mark the passage of time and every season brings something special. In Spring, the orchards turn powdery pink with apple blossom and foals gamble in the smart paddocks of world-famous stud farms. In Summer, the fields are filled with crops of corn which ripple in the light wind to reveal poppies and cornflowers. Autumn sees the ancient beech and oak forests turn from copper to gold, and the locals start to forage for mushrooms as the apple harvest begins.
Monet and his fellow Impressionists immortalised the bucolic scenes, the changing seasons and local life when they flocked there from Paris in the 19th century and much of the area remains the same today. So, for couples looking for natural beauty, peace, seasonal variation, excellent food and easy access, Lower Normandy and the Orne in particular is worth exploring.
Fine dining is always at the heart of a Normandy wedding celebration offering a precious moment to spend time with friends and family. If wonderful food is important to you, then the Orne will appeal to all of your senses and for those couples who want to support sustainable local businesses it’s a good choice too.
The nearby fishing ports provide fresh fish and shell fish caught by small boats which are sent straight to the area’s fishmongers. The same fertile land grazed by the Normande cows, which produce the creamy milk used for Normandy’s famous cheeses, also supports a thriving economy of small producers who manage their land sustainably or to organic standards.
The chefs in the Orne are always proud to show off their imagination and skills using seasonal produce to create mouth-watering meals for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike!
The Parisians flock to local markets in towns such as Mortagne au Perche and Belleme every weekend to stock their city larders with local delicacies ranging from the usual vegetables, meat, dairy and poultry, to the more unusual Saffron, honey, artisan chocolates and snails. Whatever your taste in food, Normandy will be able to satisfy it.
As for romantic venues with a wow-factor there are plenty to choose from, but one of our favourites is Chateau de Courtomer. If you are looking for a picture perfect, spacious and private place to stay with friends and family to celebrate your Normandy wedding in style – this is it!
On entering the 350 acre estate over the moat, you will be transported back in time and the only sound you will hear is birdsong. One look at the neoclassical façade and it’s clear that the Chateau was built to entertain and impress – it does both!
It has been lovingly renovated and is carefully maintained by its American owner. Antiques and artworks abound and the Chateau, Orangerie and surrounding park offer endless opportunities for entertaining, dancing and capturing wonderful pictures.
Chateau de Courtomer is managed by a bilingual team with event management experience so communication is easy and organisation simplified. The venue can provide a list of vendors but nothing is imposed, leaving couples free to work with the team of their choice to create the Normandy wedding that reflects their style, taste and budget.
The minimum stay is for three nights which gives couples plenty of time for set up, to stage rehearsals, and the after party. Oh and we forgot to mention, with no curfew, you and your guests can dance till dawn! There is no corkage so you will be able to serve the best wines and champagne that France has to offer without having to worry about the bill!
For more information, including fabulous photos, visit Chateau de Courtomer’s website and if you like what you see, request more details and a bespoke quote from Beatrice.