Photos: Clement Choulot
8 in the morning on the Longchamp racetrack, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. We get to know ours Mazda MX-5. Dressed in this gray color and a dark blue hood, our frame has allure. The Hiroshima brand holds with this model, which is similar to the name Roadster on the archipelago and Miata in the United States, a true cheapie born in 1989. At the Chicago show that year, the little japanese makes a splash ! We see in him the reincarnation of the charm of British mini-roadsters. The ideal car for a spring trip.
On the way to Normandy
We join the A13, well known by Ile-de-France residents who love weekends in Normandy. The soft top remains closed at the moment, the infotainment system plays music from our smartphone connected via CarPlay. We leave the boiling little crown behind us, then leave the motorway at Mantes la-Jolie in the direction of Évreux to join us county 830. We finally clear the canvas roof, which so far has isolated us from nature. We enter the Goms forest just after the beautiful town, the other name the capital of Eure. The story of this forest, which stretches over more than 20,000 acres, is enough to scare the little ones on a summer evening around a campfire.
A little over a century ago, the wolf came out to terrorize the locals. Such Gevaudans udyr, the creature claimed several victims nearby in the early 17th century. Now that the animal is a part of the region’s past, we enjoy the best of our little roadster in peace and quiet. No need to drive at high speed to appreciate the pleasure of developing hair in the wind. The birds continue to sing their concerto in the trees while they the 184 hp 4-cylinder hits the target.
Meadows invaded by herds of cattle and horses, which in turn taste the fresh grass, follow one another. We go into Calvados on the level from Orbecwhere those who are less busy will appreciate the gentleness of its historic heart, revealing beautiful arteries with half-timbered houses.
A lover of cannons
We have been driving for more than three hours now, allowing us to put our cavalry to rest under the bonnet. We stop at the Saint-Martin du Chêne stud, south of Lisieux, where we are welcomed Johann Langlais, administrator and master of the site. The schedule for this great horse lover is always busy.
The next task in his time, a mating right after our interview. It reminds us that here we are in a stud, to be differentiated from others dedicated to training or leisure. He explains to us the stages of a horse’s life from the breed of trotters, the site’s specialty. After growth and break-up in the first 24 months comes the training and qualification phase. From the spring of its second year of life, it enters into competition, for a career which can last up to 10 years. Then follows a fairly active sporting retirement for the best stallions and breeding mares returning to breeding for breeding.
The others find a profession oriented towards leisure. He adds that the place also serves as a rear base for horses in convalescence, in a peaceful environment to receive their care before returning to the race. Johann tells us the story of the star, “own boss”, from “own countess”, who comes from a long line full of successes that make the house brand and the stallion of the moment “Ready cash”. Like all trotters, he is hardened to being more resilient than a thoroughbred. This child of this saga starting with the breeding shop cobanna one of the eldest of the Countess, is promised, he says, a fine career. Gambling friends, you know who to bet on in the next fifth!
Our break at this high place for French horse breeding is coming to an end. This time we head east again to discover one of the wonders of this corner of the Pays d’Auge, just 10 minutes from the Saint-Martin du Chêne stud. Standing in front of us, the castle Cheeks at Fervaques. This beautiful set 14th – 16th century is the masterpiece of the Norman architect François Gabriel. In the early 19th century, it housed the author’s loves Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand and Delphine de Custine.
From the free exteriors, one discovers an impressive jewel which contains a bedroom by Henri IV, a dining room that has become the Community Chapel, or even a stunning Gothic staircase. Since 1995, it has been marked with the historical monument. In the property, two remarkable trees are the pride of the park. An old oriental plane tree from France and also a 200-year-old purple beech called “de Chateaubriand”. Today you can stay in this piece of history, which includes 150 rooms and apartments.
This chatelaine parentheses closed we are heading towards section 48 from the Touques Valley, towards the sea and our final destination. It is not uncommon to see bats flying over the roads, these breed in dozens in the surrounding cavities. Our MX-5 likes this Authentic Normandy. The beginning of the evening is approaching, so we ventilate warm air out into the cabin, to prolong this cozy moment despite the frost at the end of the day. Our little roadster has one of the best gearbox controls in car production. Mazda dominates its subject in this area and improves its driver with each gear change, where all gears are engaged. A pure pleasure!
The sun is getting closer and closer to the horizon, we are now only 18 km from Deauville, the seaside resort known for its film festival, its casino and of course its racetrack. Trotting team trainer on the beach where you can tread the boards on the promenade of the same name. Right here, MX-5 coexists with other mechanical beauties. The convertible at this time of year is not uncommon.
Today’s premium coupes, but also yesterday’s beautiful English cars rub against the streets, which fill up on sunny days. The star of the Côte Fleurie saw his success born during the propulsion of the Duke of Morny, half-brother of Napoleon III. He was the man who made Deauville a luxury resort for the capital’s high society. “What a monster, and what a beauty! We must build the realm of elegance here,” he declared in discovered the place in 1858.
After these long hours of driving through the stunning Normandy region, we finally park our brave Mazda MX-5. When we look back at him, we remember why the car turns out to be the best tool for travel. Facing the sun, which is disappearing to make room for the night, we realize that today it has made the connection between men with atypical activities, passionate in that their subjects constitute what makes the beauty of our culture. We have traveled miles on earth, but have also traveled in our history.
MORE INFO ON THE TOPIC:
Car: MAZDA MX-5
The Mazda MX-5 will be further improved in 2022. The manufacturer optimizes its handling thanks to the integration of KPC for Kinematic Posture Control. This system brakes the inner rear wheel when it detects slipping. Among the news, a new ecru color Platinum Quartz and a brown Nappa Terracota or White leather interior. In addition, its softtop version is now available with a black, red or blue softtop. The price list starts from € 29,650.
The hotel: The mansions of Portes de Deauville
Les Manoirs des Portes de Deauville hotel & spa is 10 minutes from the seaside resort. This 4-star establishment will seduce lovers of tranquility in a true oasis of peace with 27 rooms and suites in 9 cabins. Heated outdoor pool, jacuzzi and sauna, everything is available for a nice bracket in this charming place spread over 2.5 acres.
1- Longchamp Racecourse
2- Eure Valley
3- Conche Skov
4- Risle Valley
5- Orbiquet Valley
6- Kinnor Slot
7- Haras de Saint-Martin du Chêne
9- Palaces in Portes de Deauville
10- Trouville Nautical Club