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With its 3500 hectares, it is the largest forest in Calvados, its perimeter reaches 28 km.

N. Plant

Originally, it was called forest of Touques, the name change was made at the time of the French conquest at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. It has known many owners over the centuries, passing into the royal domain, belonging to the nobility (Louise de Bourbon, Mlle de Montpensier ...), sometimes divided up and sold to various buyers. It was exploited by brioleurs who transported logs, bundles or ferns there, helped by their "mazettes", small horses equipped with a bell to locate them better 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 boar. They have since given way to foxes, hares and rabbits, as well as a few deer, wild boar and woodcock present in winter.

A 9,5 km hiking trail starting from the Town Hall of Saint-Gatien-des-Bois, accessible outside the hunting season, allows you to discover a small plot. 

N. Plant

Hiking in the forest

Our itinerary here

In the heart of the forest, Chalet Güttinger

This Swiss-inspired private wooden chalet, surrounded by an overhanging balcony-promenade, was built around 1820 by Ulrich Güttinger, leader of the romantic school of Swiss origin. The house provided Ulrich Güttinger with the calm he longed for. Located in the middle of lush greenery between rhododendrons and hydrangeas, there were many varieties of flowers, greenhouses, greenhouse, vegetable garden and orchard. Important horticultural festivals took place in this park established in full forest which made the admiration of all.

Frequenting the Salon de l'Arsenal, Ulrich Güttinger often received here the great literature and arts of his time who liked to come and relax: 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 very much like to see you. I am in the delight of the Chalet and its forest. It is now magnificent. All day looking at the sea which is very close to us, as the onlooker watches the water flow. I am dazzled by all these splendors ". Alfred de Musset, 1819.

Around 1950, the chalet housed some summer camps. Now abandoned, the remains of the chalet are walled up.