This beautiful touristic town is situated just under 30kms from the seaside resort of Granville (of which we have spoken about here), and takes less than an hour to get to, the bustling city of Caen. It is also well situated to visit the town of Avranches – another wonderful touristic town, which also happens to be situated nearby to the sandy beaches of Carolles and Jullouville.
Not only is it a perfect location, it is steeped in history and tradition. It is most famous for its bell foundry, one of only 3 foundries in the whole of France. This was founded in 1865 and is renowned for its bells which are made for churches, ships and public buildings. They are also exported worldwide.
The famous Notre Dame Cathedrals’ (in Paris) bell was made by the foundry Cornille Havard in 2013, as it is renowned for its excellence. The town is nicknamed ‘les sourdains’ in English this means ‘The deaf people’. This is because during the 19th and 20th century, the noise from the foundry was so great, that many of its workers became deaf. Something that would be unimaginable today.
The process still remains the same, insofar as materials such as clay, goat dung and horsehair are used for the moulds. To this day, bells are still manufactured including aluminium boilers. A by product of this foundry (and one which the town is renowned for) is its copper pots and you can buy them in the local shops that line the cobbled streets, as a souvenir or indeed to use.
And you can visit not only the Bell foundry but the museum of a foundry worker, the lace makers house and the Norman furniture museum.
Did you know that the river Sienne also runs through Villedieu? Not to be confused with the river Sienne of Paris. The Sienne is a coastal river that rises in Calvados in the former municipality of Saint-Sever-Calvados, now called Noues de Sienne and flows into the harbour of Regnéville in the Manche.
It also boasts a very cute cinema which is run by volunteers and often has films showing in VO that is to say, Version Original. If you fancy watching a film in English. Just make sure the film was in English in the first place otherwise you could end up watching a Polish or another foreign language film! There are also some really nice art house films to watch.
Villedieu also has a train station. Perfect for hopping on to take a train to Granville or Paris. A train to Paris will take 2 hours 37 minutes whilst Granville will take an impressive 18 minutes should you wish to leave you car. There is also a bus service in Villedieu which isn’t always the case in some towns. You can catch the 306, for example, to Avranches. This will take you 28 minutes.
You will also find many good quality restaurants in Villedieu and a hotel. There is, of course, a weekly market and in the summer months Villedieu has open air music nights (normally on a Tuesday). There are often events which take place throughout the year and their impressive Tourist Office should be your first port of call, to discover everything on offer.
On the outskirts of Villedieu you have a range of bigger stores eg Lidl, DistriCenter etc. Whilst driving you cannot fail to notice the Président (home to the famous butter) factory. Also on the outskirts of Villedieu, on your way to/from Brécey, you will find an impressive Brocante that has lots of hidden treasures that you can rummage through and pick up something quintessentially French.
We hope you enjoyed this little insight into Villedieu and should you buy a property nearby well, congratulations!
These beautiful photographs have been provided to us by Sabina Lorkin. Sabina is a local, professional photographer who has been invited by various Mairie’s to photograph their town. For more information, you can find her website here https://anibas.fr/ or like and follow her Facebook Page, which has even more stunning pictures of our region. https://www.facebook.com/anibasphotography