You probably never heard of Aumale, because it is a small village with just over 2,000 in population. I wouldn’t have thought of visiting this place, if it is not for Walid’s work assignment in Aumale.
Where is it
Aumale is a commune in the Normandie region, north west of France. The Bresle river runs across the Aumale, before exiting at Le Treport into the English channel.
The train station in Aumale is currently closed down for major maintenance, at least until the end of the year. The nearest train station is Beauvais, which is about 1 hour drive away.
You’ll need a car to get in Aumale. From Paris, you’ll have to drive 2 hours north bound.
Aumale is a very small town. The places of interest are all within 400m radius of the town centre. So, you can pretty much explore the whole town on foot.
What to see
Butter hall (La halle au beurre)
Historically used by locals for agricultural trade. The space is big enough for up to 60 traders of butter and eggs to sell their produces. Today, it is mainly used for stage fairs, exhibitions and cultural events. There are occasional weekend markets usually on Saturday.
There’s a prison under the Butter hall which can be visited. The prison comprises of three sections, the first is a big room enclosed by iron bars and reserved for petty crimes, the second consists of barred wooden cages in which prisoners could not stand inside, the third is a deep dark pit which recalls the inhumanity of the Middle Ages. You can still see the rings, graffiti, initials on the walls.
Church of St Peter and St Paul (Eglise Saint Pierre et Saint Paul)
Half timbered and wattle and daub houses
These half timbered houses show double influences of Picardy and Normandy. Typical Normandy house has visible timber framework, whereas for a typical Picard house, only vertical and horizontal framework is visible, with the spaces filled with large areas of daub and wattle (sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw).
Some violent fires in the 17th century destroyed most of the ancient 16th century buildings. The only ones to survive till today are on Rue du Bailliage, and Rue des Tanneurs.
War Memorial (Monument aux Morts)
La Bresle river
What to eat
There’s probably only two boulangerie (bakeries) in Aumale. I prefer Au Panier Gourmand Sarl.
I also tried Crepes & Caux, which just opened a few days before. Ordered a set menu which consists of a savoury (galette) and a sweet (crepe). They weren’t the best I had, but it is still pretty good.
There’s another pizzeria, La Mama, that Walid frequents which serves decent pizza with vegetarian options.
Aumale is a really small town. You really don’t need to stay overnight, if you have no reasons too. It is nice pit stop if you are driving by, otherwise I recommend to check out Le Treport, which is about an hour drive from Aumale.
Le Treport is situated at the mouth of La Bresle river, where it meets the English channel. The seaside town is backed against 110m high chalk cliffs, and fronted with a gorgeous sea view.
There are plenty of food options along the seaside, most serve seafood the likes of moules (mussels) and local catches.