With its 3500 hectares, it is the biggest forest of Calvados, its perimeter reaches 28 km.

N. Plant

Originally, it was called Touques forest, the change of name was made at the time of the French conquest at the beginning of the XIIIth century. Over the centuries, the forest had many owners, passing into the royal domain, belonging to the nobility (Louise de Bourbon, Miss de Montpensier...), and was sometimes divided up and sold to various buyers. It was exploited by the "brioleurs" who used to transport logs, faggots or ferns, with the help of their "mazettes", small horses equipped with a bell to better locate them at night. Today, several private owners share the forest, mainly for wood production or as a hunting area. Before the Revolution, its fauna consisted of wolves, deer, roe deer, fallow deer and wild boars. They have since given way to foxes, hares and rabbits, as well as a few roe deer, wild boars and woodcocks in winter.

A 9.5 km hiking trail starting from the Saint-Gatien-des-Bois town hall, accessible outside the hunting season, allows you to discover a small piece of it. 

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Hiking in the forest

Our itinerary here

In the heart of the forest, the Chalet Güttinger

This private, Swiss-inspired wooden chalet, surrounded by a balcony with an overhanging roof, was built around 1820 by Ulrich Güttinger, a leader of the Swiss Romantic school. The house offered Ulrich Güttinger the peace and quiet he so much desired. The house was set in a green setting with rhododendrons and hydrangeas, and featured a wide variety of flowers, greenhouses, a hot-house, a vegetable garden and an orchard. Important horticultural festivals took place in this park established in the middle of the forest, which was admired by all.

As a frequent visitor to the Salon de l'Arsenal, Ulrich Güttinger often received here the great literary and artistic figures of his time who liked to come here to recharge their batteries: Victor and Adèle Hugo, Alfred de Musset, Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Alexandre Dumas, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, Frédéric Chopin? "I am writing to you from the Chalet de Guttlnguer, where I have been for two days and where I would like to see you. I am in the delight of the Chalet and its forest. It is now magnificent. All day long I look at the sea which is very close to us, as the onlooker looks at the water flowing. I am dazzled by all these splendors". Alfred de Musset, 1819.

Around 1950, the châlet housed several vacation camps. Now abandoned, the remains of the châlet are walled up.


Contact us:
+33 (0)2 31 14 40 00

Our tourist information offices :

Résidence de l'Horloge
Quai de l'Impératrice Eugénie
14800 Deauville
See opening hours

Place Jean Mermoz
14640 Villers-sur-Mer
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32 bis avenue Michel d'Ornano
14910 Blonville-sur-Mer
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40 rue du Général Leclerc
14113 Villerville
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20 Place Lemercier
14800 Touques
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Promenade Louis Delamare
(behind the first-aid post)
14800 Tourgéville
See opening hours