Lyons-la-Forêt, Eure, Normandy
From the medieval market hall, on the vibrant square where Lyons-la-Forêt’s heart beats: shops, hotels, restaurants, and café terraces line the brick and timber-framed facades from one of Europe’s most beautiful “cathedral” beech groves. Possibly one of the highlights of gentle living in Normandy.
© Franck Guiziou / hemis.fr
Lyons-la-Forêt is a small village located 40km from Rouen, in the heart of one of the largest beech forests in Europe. Situated on the border of the English kingdom, it was in turn a military headquarters and a holiday resort for Saint-Louis and Philippe le Bel. Originally, the village was built around an 11th century castle, built by William the Conqueror and destroyed by fire. In the 16th century, Lyons-en-Forêt became peaceful again. From this period dates the great hall, magnificent and imposing on the main square of the village with its impressive and robust framework. From the 17th century onwards, artists settled in Lyons-la-Forêt, giving it a more worldly image. The houses of Isaac de Benserade, a poet at the court of Louis XIV, and Maurice Ravel are among the most beautiful in the village. As for the current town hall, it has a sumptuous wall hanging with fleurs-de-lis dating from the 18th century. The authenticity of this village undoubtedly seduced the director Claude Chabrol who, in 1991, chose this most beautiful Norman village for the filming of Madame Bovary with Isabelle Huppert.