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A month in Normandy (Rouen): calling Normandy afficionados

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Hi wonderful Fodorites!

I recently changed my plans for the summer to spending one month in Normandy, taking French lessons, instead of doing a TEFL course in Prague (I know not at all the same things, but long story). I'll be in a little town called Rouen for my time in Normandy, with a home base there while I attend my french language courses 5 hours a day

I have found some great reccos for Normandy from both a French friend and stuff I've found on here, but am wondering in particular if any folks have specific reccos for restaurants (that are extremely memorable and excellent ), speciality foods or drinks (special cider producer or cider tasting place, etc)
AND reccos for how to get around affordably by train (tix are getting crazy expensive these days!). I don't understand whether I can go the places I need to go if I buy a Railpass of some sort or whether I'll end up having to buy regular tickets anyways?! I have to go to Avignon for a wknd ($150-$200 tickets RT right now on SNCF site) would love to go to Avignon for 2 wknds (i have research to do there) and maybe Paris one wknd. I've already purchased a $200 RT train ticket from London to Rouen so I'm getting a bit annoyed at how much I'll be spending on trains on this trip.

suggestions welcome and appreciated

Me: I'm a wine industry veteran and a pickie foodie. I love simple, but high quality ingredients. I love the outdoors, being active, being beautifiul scenic places and seeing old crumbling buildings :). I really really like not doing the big main stuff and just focusing on living like a local (thus the language lessosn and choosing a small town). I have no money really, but manage to travel well when I do travel due to renting apartments, packing my own lunch many days and eating outdoors (saving for 1 meal out per day) and being super savvy about transportation. I don't buy gifts or do luxurious things like rent a driver or tour guide. I do love driving and will take 1 opportunity to rent a car for a wknd during my trip (can't afford more)


Thank You

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