Explore Normandy and northwest France
  Le Choisel is a spacious holiday home ideal for a myriad of different holiday adventures. Pick the theme ​
 Ancient times in France
and use Le Choisel as the central base for your Normandy holiday exploration: 

   Historical facts from medieval times blend with ancient myths and legends in Normandy. 

Travel back into the mists of time and explore the region's fascinating links to William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Lancelot du Lac, King Arthur, dragons and witches.

Linger in the land of Lancelot​, Guinevere's legendary lover
Modern technology conquers the story of William's home
Fans of myths and legends know Sir Lancelot du Lac as the adulterous lover of ​​​​​Queen Guinevere, wife of the even more legendary King Arthur, but in this part of France they hold Lancelot as being a local hero.
    Le Choisel sits inside the region known as “Pays-de-Lancelot-du-Lac” (the Country of Lancelot du Lac) which teems with ancient sites that claim links to many of the tales within the Arthurian Legends. There are sites reputed to mark the beginning and end of the great knight’s life with the village of Banvou said to be the place where Lancelot’s father Ban de Banoic had his castle, and St Fraimbault-de-Lassay being held locally as the burial place of Lancelot.
    There are various “Circuits de Lancelot du Lac” and they pick up different elements of the legends and linked tales, from the hermit in the priory 

near Bagnoles de l’Orne with its waters’ health-giving properties, through ancient forests to the majestic landscape of ​​​La Fosse Arthur named after the great king himself. The Normans long ago thought that Arthur came to live here with his queen under the protection of the ‘genus loci’.
    Other places of note include the castle at Lassay-les-Châteaux (above), the abbey in Lonlay l’Abbaye, and the church of Notre Dame sous l’Eau in Domfront. The latter is near to the remains of an ancient ford over the river Varenne (pictured left) that could have inspired the story of the bridge under the water in “Lancelot and the Knight of the wagon”.
    The best thing about myths and legends is that no one can prove them, so it just lets your imagination take flight as you revel in the glorious scenery.    
Study French or English history and
one name features in both: ​​​William the
Conqueror. A short drive from Le
Choisel is Falaise Castle, William's
birthplace. 
    It is a MUST to visit and a fantastic 
example of blending ancient history
with modern technology.
    Taking a tour of the castle interior
entails you getting a handheld 
computer/tablet (pictured) loaded in
the language you want; when you
scan it over a key point in each room 
brings up 3d computer images 
of what the room would look
like. You totally forget that
the room is basically bare
ancient walls, because you
can see how it would have 
looked in all its regal finery.
   Different parts of the room
or different items in the
room have little icons which
as you line up with the
'target' icon on your screen
brings up full details of what you
are looking at; you can zoom in
for close up details of the friezes,
call up glossaries of words and
terms, etc, etc.
     In addition, each room has
screen images of various
characters from the castle's
history giving their own story
(with English sub-titles). The
work that has gone into blending
ancient and modern and using
21st century technology to bring
medieval times to life is quite
phenomenal and is guaranteed
to arouse an interest in English
history.
   The grounds within the outer
castle walls are free access and include a delightful herb and medicinal garden. Dotted around the grounds are pillars housing 3D scenes and written commentaries showing how life would have looked in that part of the
castle and grounds in William's time. 
Take a seat at the Devil's Table
For a picnic that could
make your hair stand on
end, try a hamper of
spooky sandwiches sat
next to ​​La Table au Diable
(the Devil's Table)!
    This strange structure is
a megalith built during the
Neolithic period  - somewhere around 3,300 and 2,800BC.
    In essence, it is a mass grave or vault able to accommodate the remains of several hundred people. The 12 metre-long burial chamber would have been covered with earth and stones with the entrance marked by a standing stone circle.
    One of the local legends tells of a beggar who saw the table covered with silver coins and reached out to grab a handful. As she did, she was thrown backwards onto the ground. When she awoke all the glittering bounty had disappeared!
William's tomb in Abbey aux Hommes, Caen.
    The site was excavated between 1989 and 1991, and ​​​​​​bits of bone were found, along with pieces of pottery dating it to the end of the Neolithic period.
    Today, it’s unearthed and the main chamber still has 4 large capstones balanced on top of 6 pairs of uprights at one end forming the 'table top'. The other end is open and invites ​anyone who dares to enter! 
    The Devil's Table is located near the village of Passais la Conception, southwest of Domfront. Head east  and you will find Mont Margantin, said to be the ancient home of the last practising witches 
    There is also a free film show running on a loop outlining the history of Falaise Castle and how it has changed over the centuries. This is screened inside a separate building within the castle grounds.
Meet Eleanor, queen consort to two kings
Eleanor of Aquitaine is described as being one of the wealthiest and most ​​​​powerful women in Western Europe in the Middle Ages.
    After inheriting the Duchy of Aquitaine from her father, William X, she was the most eligible bride in Europe. Little wonder, then, that she married two kings: Louis VII of France in 1137, and Henry, Duke of Normandy later to become King Henry II of England in 1152.
    Domfront Castle was one of many residences of Henry II and Eleanor. In 1161, she gave birth to a daughter, also Eleanor, who was baptised at Domfront.
    Today, in the grounds of Domfront Castle, you can see the remains of the Great Hall of the castle (​pictured). This would have been used by Eleanor’s court for banquets, dancing and merry-making.
    The queen is said to have split her time between her lands in
                           Aquitaine,
                           Normandy and
                           England, always
                           travelling with an
                           entourage of
                           learned persons.    
in France.
   Head northwest from Domfront and you can roam woods said to be enchanted, and you will find that fairy folklore is very popular here!

Does a dragon still roar from his rocky hole?
Dating from around 1050, folklore tells of a ferocious dragon who terrorised the area but who was pacified – as dragons seem to be - by the daily delivery of a ​​​young victim, aged between 10 and 20 years chosen at random from the population.
    Then the fateful day came when the randomly chosen victim was Mabile, the daughter of William Talvas, lord of Domfront.
    According to the legend, she prepared herself for sacrifice and the procession had reached the top of Mont Saint-Anne when a tall old man appeared on the rock overlooking the
Dragon’s Hole. He challenged the dragon and ordered him to disappear forever. Not taking too kindly to the demand, the dragon came roaring out of his
den and tried to fly up into the air.
His wings, however, couldn’t lift
his body off the ground and he
plunged off the rock face straight
down into the river Varenne.
     His fall dug a huge, deep hole,
now named ‘Fosse Tertière’.  As
you walk along the Voie Verte not
far from the ancient ruins in the
town of Domfront and pass the
“dragon’s hole”, is it just the
direction in which the wind is
blowing round the rocks and
through the trees, or perchance,
can you still hear him roaring?
 
Picture gallery around Le Choisel 
 
 
Accommodation at Le Choisel 
 
 
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