Pont L’Eveque – Introduction
Pont L’Eveque in the Calvados region of Normandy is mostly know for two things; its epic 2-3 day battle just after D-Day in WWII and its cheese. But both things are no longer there; the WWII battle is over and done and the Pont L’Eveque cheese is no longer made here. But nevertheless, the village is an interesting tourist attraction. As a foot note, the word “Pont l’Eveque” translates into English as “Bishop’s Bridge” one of the most important bridges to cross when going towards Paris from the South.
Pont L’Eveque is only some 4500 inhabitants spread out over 8 square kilometres. It is a Normandy type village that was very badly damaged towards the end of World War II, but to give credit to the community, it was rebuilt in style.
The 15th century Saint-Michel church, which lies alongside the Touques river, is the prime attraction. Very badly damaged during WWII, it has been restored to its original glory.
A walk through town, according to the Tourist Office’s plan, will take you about 1 to 2 hours. The plan is easy to follow, since we’re talking one street with a few deviations. So it’s a town that is simple to see. Most of the houses and buildings you will see have been badly damaged during WWII, but you will see that they have been very well restored. Let’s go for a small walk:
The Mairie (=city hall) is located in the hotel de Brilly, a 17th century town house. In the back, there’s a large public garden reaching up to the river.
The public library has been located inside the Hotel (= town house) Montpensier. The building was constructed in the 17th century. You can visit it during opening hours of the library.
This is the courthouse of the town, with the adjacent Dominican Monks convent and behind it the prison.
This is the fountain of the courthouse. I just put it there because I liked the photo… 😉
TheDominican Monks convent itself has a small garden behind it while to the right on the photo you see the courthouse.
The “Joyeuse Prison”, in English the Joyful Prison, was built in 1813. The jail stands right behind the courthouse but it no longer is a prison and can be visited daily. It received the name after a French movie was made about one of France’s notorious bandits who was in prison here and escaped.
When walking the tour of Pont L’Eveque, you can no longer distinguish which houses have been rebuilt after WWII. Normandy style houses have wood beams, bricks and a clay (torchi) fillings, but it’s almost impossible to see which ones are built as new.
The above building is part of the hospital complex of Pont l’Eveque. On the left is the chapel and to the right, a part of the hospice. The hospital itself is behind this building.
A small river, the Yvie, flows behind these former tanneries. The road that has these old houses is called “Rue Veille” (=old road), and you can walk through it to admire these original old Normandy-style houses. Just cross the small bridge and take your first right.
Towards the end of the main road, you will see several of these old houses, used as houses or as shops (yes, even a tattoo parlour).
Now for the walk back….
Changing to the other side of the sidewalk, you get to see the houses on the other side.
This is the 16th century inn “Auberge des Dominicaines”, which is now only a restaurant (so no longer an inn).
Here is the Saint-Michel church again as seen from the main street.
This is an obvious new building, made to look like it has been here for centuries.
Pont l’Eveque is a very cute town that is easy to visit. It lies just on the main Western North-South motorway (along the coast). A 1-2 hours visit is not uncalled for. You will see many photos of the WWII battles and you’ll be amazed at the reconstruction of the village.
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