Normandy – A Historic and Gastronomic Destination

Normandy – A Land of History, Beautiful Landscape and Rich Gastronomy:

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Caen Castle © Travel Signposts

Situated in the northwest of France, Normandy (Normandie in French) is a region blessed with stunning coastlines, windswept beaches and lush pastoral land.

The quintessential image of Normandy is of beautiful landscape, green pastures dotted with brown and white Norman cows, apple orchards, calvados, good food and plenty of beautiful creamy cheeses. But Normandy is also steeped in history, starting from the time of the Vikings to William the Conqueror to the Impressionist painters and to World War II, there is much to appeal to the visitor here.

Normandy D-Day Battlefields

Normandy’s 600 km coastline makes it an ideal place for driving, camping or cycling holidays. It is a very popular holiday region for the French people.  The coastline is dotted with memorials, cemeteries and museums which remind of the famous Normandy Landings in WWII. The Battle of Normandy, the D-D Landing beaches and the role that Normandy played continue to be of huge interest for visitors with many coming on battlefields tours.

Mont-St-Michel

Many visitors come to Normandy to visit Mont-St-Michel, one of the most enchanting sights in France. Once a place of pilgrimage, Mont-St-Michel became a prison after the Revolution, but today it’s a national monument and a much sought after tourist attraction.

Normandy’s Main Places of Interest

For administrative purposes, Normandy is divided into Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy) and Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy). The main places of interest in Normandy – Rouen, Le Havre, Caen and Cherbourg-Octeville are all top destinations for the traveller, each one full of history and interesting sights and attractions. Medieval castles, cathedrals and cobbled streets will take you back to medieval times.

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Mont-St-Michel © Travel Signposts

Caen, the capital of the Basse-Normandie region, is William the Conqueror’s city. Its magnificent castles and abbeys highlight Caen’s magnificent heritage.

Rouen, the capital of Haute-Normandie was once the largest and most prosperous medieval towns in Europe, Rouen is especially known for its cathedrals, museums, medieval houses and Joan of Arc.

Le Havre, the largest city in Normandy, is a World Heritage listed site. Le Havre is where impressionism took root and at the many museums visitors can admire paintings by Courbet, Monet Renoir and others. Outside of Paris,the Malraux Museum has the largest collection of impressionist paintings in France.

Cherbourg – Octeville, the largest city in the Manche departement, is a key location for more than 50 of the most prestigious sailing events. Cherbourg also has the largest aquarium in Europe at La Cité de la Mer.

Food, Glorious Food

No one goes hungry in Normandy! Normandy’s vast coastline provides an abundance of fresh seafood.  Meat lovers will want to try the succulent salt-marsh lamb, a Normandy specialty, as well as traditional black pudding.

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Normandy Cheeses © Atout France

For cheese-lovers like me, it’s Normandy’s world-famous creamy cheeses that keep me coming back for more – Camembert, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont l’Évêque are just some of Normandy’s famous cheeses.  Cider, another famous product of Normandy, is traditionally drunk with your meal and you can end it with shots of  Calvados, if you manage to develop a taste for this potent Normandy apple brandy.

Getting to Normandy

Normandy is just across the English Channel and is an easy weekend destination from England. Visitors have a choice of transportation to get to Normandy – by air, sea, train or road.

For international visitors flying into Paris, most of the major towns in Normandy are connected by rail. Getting from Paris to Normandy is easy on the SNCF. From Gare Saint Lazare, the Paris to Rouen takes 1 hour 30, Paris to Caen 1 hour 45 and Paris to Le Havre 2 hours.  More about Getting to Normandy >

There is a big range of  hotels in Normandy to choose from.   You can read hotel reviews and make your Normandy hotel bookings here >

Normandy tours from Paris and Bayeux >

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