Domfront is one of the main towns in French Normandy in the Passais area. The town has a lot of character to it and is known for its pear trees and perry. Many consider it the best town to visit if you want to get a taste of what the Orne region in France is all about. And they mean this literally, too! Perched 230 feet atop the Varenne Gorge, the town enjoys a panoramic view of the Orne region below.
Notable attractions include the ruins of the town’s fortress. It was Sully, who served as one of Henri IV’s ministers, who organized the final destruction of the fortress. He only attacked it just as previous kings of France and England had done. The ruins today consist of a few stones that once belonged to the outer wall, the St. Symphorian’s Chapel, and a several lookout posts. These ruins sit in the middle of a public park.
Also make sure you stroll along the streets that lead to St. Julian. This church is constructed in the Neo-Byzantine style and features a cement bell-tower. Along the way are numerous private residences and half-timbered houses that remind people of the old days.
Another Domfront landmark is the Church of Our Lady on the Water. It is known as église Notre-Dame-sur-l’Eau in French. This church sits on the Varenne banks and was once a priory of the Lonlay Abbey not that far away. It was damaged in WWII, but has since been restored. However, some damage inflicted in the 19th century remains irreparable, namely seven bays were lost. The bays have not been restored, since the space is now used by a road.
Gaudez, René, Hervé Champollion, and Angela Moyon. Tour of Normandy. Rennes: Éditions Ouest-France, 1996. ISBN: 2737317185.
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