Le Breuil-en-Auge – Chateau du Breuil and Calvados Distillery
Located in the midst of the Calvados region (Normandy) you will find a pretty castle, the Chateau du Breuil, that has been since 1954 a distillery that transforms apples into Calvados (an apple brandy). Located in a 1000 people village, Le Breuil-en-Auge, the castle lies on the road leading to Lisieux.
The castle was built in the beginning of the 16th century and has been a cheese maker, chocolate and even an apple cider producer. Although the castle is private and can NOT be visited, you can see it clearly, and up close, when visiting the distillery.
That is because the distillery and castle grounds can be visited for €4.50 (including a sample of the product). You need to take a tour (you can not walk there by yourself), and tours can be done in French, English and German.
Even before you start the tour, you need to pass by the factory itself before parking your car. This is where the apples get stored and washed. You can see a pile of apples on your right on the photo.
Then you need to go to the two buildings that house the guides, shop, sampling bar (yes, you get to sample the calvados) and there is even a restaurant where you can eat food prepared with calvados.
When you start your tour, you’ll be walking past the castle, but the building will be seen closer and from a better angle later on.
Making calvados (and cider) requires a lot of water, which is in abundance here.
You will be taken into the distillery itself where they will explain the process of making the calvados.
They make some 400,000 bottles of calvados per year, and export to 52 countries. The Netherlands is their number 1 export country.
You are then taken past the castle entrance. On the left you see this building:
This is the part of the castle that is used to store the distilled calvados.
The apple brandy is stored in enormous barrels, rows and rows of them.
The barrels have dates on them for when they will be ready. The one above will be ready in the year 2041….
The roof of the building is like the Sainte-Catherine church in Honfleur: an upside down boat (that was the only way they knew how to build in those days).
On the way back you will able to see more details of the castle, like in the beginning there used to be a drawbridge and moat here…
You can also see that the river shown in one of the photos above culminates into a lake.
This is a nice and short visit. If you are driving to see the basilica of Lisieux, you will be passing by the castle. The visit itself lasts 30 minutes and it costs €4.50 and it includes a free sample of their calvados.
It’s time well spent.