I’ve already mentioned the “Visites Chocolat” that take place on Sundays at the nearby Château de Carrouges, but there is a much older and widespread chocolate-making tradition in Normandy.
In Alençon there are several excellent chocolate makers, the most scrumptious of which (in our opinion, at least) are “Pedro” and “Chocolats Glatigny”. The chocolate shops are concentrated in Grande Rue and the adjoining Rue St Blaise.
The Chocolatier Pedro is one of those in Grande Rue, next to the Place de Madeleine and the fabulous Notre Dame church (of which more another time). Perched on the wall near the shop is a tiny statue which is known as “Le Petit Negre”. The origins of the curious statue are unknown, but he seems appropriate next to a chocolate shop. The chocolate shop also has a tearoom where you can sample the chocolates and cakes made on the premises.
Both Pedro and Glatigny are “artisanale” chocolate makers – scrummy but rather expensive. But as an occasional treat, they are irresistible.
Both do occasional demonstrations of chocolate maker’s art, but their workshops are not open on a regular basis. However, a little further away at Bayeux (a town well worth a day trip if you’re staying near Alençon) there is the “Drakkar” chocolate factory, which is open to the public. You can also buy their chocolates on line at chocolat drakkar bayeux . “Drakkar” means longboat, a common symbol in Normandy, harking back to when it was settled by the Vikings, the Norsemen from whom the region takes its name.
Chocolate shops in Alençon:
Au Carré Croquant, 113, Grande Rue 61000 – Alençon
Au Péché Mignon, 57, Rue Saint Blaise 61000 – Alençon
Chocolats Glatigny, 44, Grande Rue 61000 – Alençon
Pedro, 39, Grande Rue 61000 – Alençon
Aux Friandises d’Alençon, 27, Grande Rue 61000 – Alençon