A Weekend Walk at Mont de Cerisy
On Sunday, Saari and I met up with some friends for a dog walk around our local country park of Mont de Cerisy. In Normandy country parks are somewhat lacking, perhaps because there is so much other countryside to discover so Cerisy is a bit of a local gem.
The 96ha park is perched on a granite hill between Vassy and Flers and accessed up a narrow road from the village of Cerisy-Belle-Etoile. A new car park is a great improvement as previously you just parked on the grass in a rather random manner and I always worried I'd get stuck when it was wet. From the car park it's a short walk across some grassland into the 70ha of woodlands where there are plenty of paths to discover. You can either chose your own route, as we did, or follow the really quite challenging exercise trail. Be warned though, this is not aimed at young children although Ben gave it a good go when he last visited Cerisy.
Below the car park is a newly improved play area but because as we had the dogs we didn't head that way. A challenging crazy golf course is open in the summer and hopefully by then, the bar/restaurant will also have re-opened. It makes a nice place for a cool drink, simple meal or ice cream but is currently looking for new owners.
Mont de Cerisy has some interesting historical features. Above the car park is the ruins of a large manor house which I would guess was built around the 1800s. I have not been able to find out anything about its history so will have to dig a bit deeper and see what I can come up with. There are also the much older remains of a chapel, dedicated to St Jaques. The chapel was first built in the 10th century, then rebuilt in 1643 before being destroyed in the time of the French Revolution.
Although the park can be visited all year round it is in May that is should look its best when all the parkland rhododendrons are in flower. I have yet to go at this time of year so you'll have to imagine what these large shrubs would look like in full flower. They are celebrated here in the Fête des Rhodos, on the last Sunday in May.
Festival des Bichoiseries
On the last weekend of June the park comes alive with this family friendly festival which includes a children's dance, street theatre, concerts, face painting, balloon twisting and much more besides.
Entry into the park and parking is free although for the weekend of the Bichoiseries Festival there and a 10€ parking (even for those only wishing to use the park, not going to the Festival).
GPS - 48.797345, -0.628962
Have you been to Mont de Cerisy or do you know of any other country parks in Normandy?