Normandy: what to do, what to see...

Normandy is home to one of the wonders of the Western world. A jewel of French heritage set on its own rocky island in an enormous bay: Mont-Saint-Michel. Normandy is a world of picturesque villages with cobbled streets and Gothic churches, all of which were sources of inspiration for Impressionist painter Claude Monet. But Normandy also has its eye on the future in hi-tech cities like Le Havre. Come on, let’s go... 

Visits you cannot miss in Normandy

• Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay
Originally, in 709, this rock was occupied by a simple little church. Over the centuries, an abbey, convent buildings, surrounding walls and a village were erected to make Mont Saint-Michel a spiritual and intellectual home, in addition to a place of pilgrimage. We must see it emerge from the bay, between sea and sky, to be seized by its majestic beauty.

• The planks of Deauville
This exotic wood walk is mythical! It dates from 1923 and borders the Art Deco style bath cabins, along the beach. How many stars have walked on these 643 meters! Joséphine Baker, Keaton Buster, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée in "A Man and a Woman", then the stars of the American Film Festival. Today, it is always the place to see and be seen.

• The landing beaches
On June 6, 1944, the beaches of Normandy were the historical theater of the great military operation, which mobilized an armada of boats and planes, to free France from the German occupation. Museums and cemeteries line this coast, from Sword Beach to Ouistreham, Juno Beach to Courseulles-sur-Mer, Gold Beach to Arromanches, Omaha Beach to Colleville-sur-Mer, Utah Beach to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, and to the Pointe du Hoc in Cricqueville-en Bessin.

• The Caen Memorial
This memorial retraces the period before and after 1945, reviving the D-Day, the Battle of Normandy, World War and the Cold War. A very useful dive in the heart of the 20th century.

• The cliffs of Étretat
They stand out from the Alabaster Coast, like three vertical limestone advances that plunge into the sea. The Manneporte, Courtine and Aiguille, which have inspired so many painters, are discovered since the strike, a boat or a path overlooking the Channel.

• Le Havre and its architecture post World War II
Destroyed at 80% during the Second World War, the city was rebuilt by the architect Auguste Perret, specialist in reinforced concrete. It is necessary to discover its achievements, calibrated and harmonious, like the town hall, the church St Joseph and its tower of 110 meters high, the apartment-witness Perret typical of the years 1950. The set is inscribed on the World heritage of Unesco.

• Notre-Dame Cathedral in Evreux
Built between the 10th and 13th century, the imposing cathedral retains both a Romanesque and Gothic style. We love its 70 dazzling stained glass windows, some of which are made with the famous Yellow Evreux silver salt.

• Gros Horloge and Rouen Cathedral
The Gros Horloge is a beautiful Renaissance pavilion, spanning the street and sporting a clock face. From the platform of the belfry, you will have a panoramic view of the roofs of old Rouen, and the Gothic towers of the superb cathedral which houses in particular the heart of Richard the Lionheart.

• The small port of Dieppe
Strolling on the port of Dieppe, it is plunged back into the luminous tables of Turner, Pissaro or Gauguin, all subjugated by the colors of the houses which are reflected in the water, and by the animation of the quays, between two departures to the peach.

• The pretty village of Veules-les-Roses
Plan a stop in this seaside resort of the Pays de Caux, with old-fashioned charm. It is nestled along the smallest river in France, the Veules, 1149 meters long! Between the sea and the countryside, the village and its mills seduced Victor Hugo, Paul Meurice and the painter Camille Marchand.

Essential activities in Normandy

• Discover Monet's impressions at Giverny
Installed in 1883 in a house in Giverny, on the right bank of the Seine, the painter Claude Monet was inspired by his gardens to paint his finest works, such as the series of 250 Nymphéas. Today, the village retains its impressionist touch, thanks to the many artists who live there.

• Get lost at night in the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey
In the summer, when night falls, you will like to go on the trail of the mysteries of the abbey ... Have you really seen the peregrine falcon nestling in the spire, or does your imagination play tricks on you? Regardless, the night route allows you to discover differently the architecture of places, the magic and more.

• In Étretat, golf cart and golf clubs are waiting for you
The golf of Etretat is perched at the top of the cliffs, overlooking the bay.
For 110 years, the course is demanding and the view is impregnable, especially from hole number 10!

• Put on your best hat to attend a horse race
Normandy is a breeding ground for horses and stud farms. Come and cheer on the champions at the gallop, racetracks of Deauville or Cabourg. Connoisseurs from around the world come to admire the finest thoroughbreds and the best jockeys. At your bets!

• Crack for Honfleur mussels and chips
In Honfleur , we enjoy strolling around the Vieux Bassin, lined with tall, narrow houses with slate roofs, criss-crossing the alleys of the medieval district of L'Enclos, visiting the Sainte Catherine church all in wood, and the Musée Eugène Boudin. And mussels and fries in Honfleur, it's true happiness!

• Feel exhilarated in front of the Cherbourg harbor
Imagine almost 4 kilometers of pier, in open sea, facing the city, to create an artificial harbor and defend against the English! A building started under Louis XVI and finished under Napoleon III, with several military forts. Today, this technical feat effectively protects the wearing of waves.

• Visit the Bayeux Military Cemetery
It is the largest British cemetery in France. A memorable place, which contains more than 4,600 graves of soldiers, of eleven different nationalities, killed during the Battle of Normandy, in 1944.

• Tour the Grand Dukes in Deauville
Deauville has always been a festive resort and it lives up to its reputation! To start the evening, head to an iconic bistro serving seafood, or a vintage-style brewery, or a grand hotel bar. Then head to the casino, where you can try your luck at roulette, poker and the 300 slot machines. Finally, you will dance in one of the discotheques of Deauville, much appreciated by the passing stars.

• Immerse yourself in the incredible collection of MUMA in Le Havre
In a concrete and glass building, inaugurated in 1961, the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art exhibits one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings, thanks to the donation of Hélène Senn-Foulds. An amazing place, that showcases the subtle hues of Renoir, Sisley, Pissaro, Degas ...

WHAT TO EAT

• Caen-style tripe
• Normandy scallops
• Teurgoule
• Cider
• Calvados
• Camembert
• Pont-l'évêque cheese
• Isigny creme
• Denneville oysters
• Trou Normand

WHAT TO BRING BACK

• An umbrella from Cherbourg
• A bottle of Calvados
• A marinière striped shirt
• Apple sugar
• All-butter biscuits
• Perry
• Fish rillettes
• Madeleines
• Pommeau

Getting to Normandy 

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