Domfront is a medieval town situated in the Orne (department number 61) region of Normandy. It is probably best know for the remains that are left of the medieval chateau, which sit at the top of the town and overlooks the lush Normandy countryside. Although at the time of it’s construction, in 1010, along with the creation of the town of Domfront – it was built to keep a watch out over the bocage and surrounding areas.
Did you know that Domfront was one of the first towns in France to have electrical street lighting? It hosts many agricultural fayres and puts on a spectacular Medieval Festival on the first weekend of August, every two years. This year (2023) is its 21st edition and some same it is by far the best in the region!
It is not surprising then, that Domfront is steeped in Normand history – the castle was ordered to be taken down in 1610 by Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of Sully. He was the Chief Minister of France and was tasked with the centralized administrative system in France. The tourist office in Domfront should be your first port of call, they will provide you with all the information you need and, of course, give guided tours.
In any event, you will be taken back in time walking along the pretty cobbled streets and amongst the typical wooden Normandy houses. And whilst you are transported back, you will also see that you are very much in the 21st century, as you will find all the amenities you would come to expect from a modern town. You can enjoy a glass of wine or cider in one of the many local bars and take in the charming atmosphere.
Another, must see is the town’s church église Saint-Julien – you cannot miss it as you pass the famous Normandy Bar. The church is in the heart of the town. What is so impressive and immediately eye-catching is the superb mosaic of Jesus Christ. Whether you are religious or not, it really is worth stepping inside to take a look at the workmanship that has taken place.
Domfront is also close to the Parc Naturel which has over 250,000 hectares – perfect for hiking, walking, horse riding or whatever you fancy! In particular, Fosse Arthour is a perfect place to walk with the family or partake in a bit of rock climbing if you so desire.
Turning to the surrounding larger towns, you are ideally placed to go shopping for groceries, home supplies etc in Flers which is 20 minutes away and has all the large well known retail outlets. It also has, arguably, the best all you can eat Chinese Buffet around. Another town that is not too far away – a little further, say 30 minutes, is Saint-Hilarie-du-Harcouet which we have spoken about here.
Yet another beautiful town to visit, is the famous Lonlay-l’Abbaye which, as its name suggests, is famous for its Abbey and biscuits
“More than a century ago, in the small Normandy village of Lonlay l’Abbaye, Virgile Fouilleul, the baker, in between batches of bread, used to gently cook shortbread in moulds made by the village carpenter. They were either sold locally or sent to soldiers on the front.” Extract taken from the biscuit factory’s website, detailed below.
Finally, if you are partial to the famous Calvados, then you should not miss the distillery of Comte Louis de Lauriston where you can also taste and purchase some delicious Normandy Cider.
We hope you enjoyed this insight into the medieval town of Domfront and all the relevant links are detailed below.