What to see at the Normandy
Normandy is also know for its contrasting countryside which includes pastoral scenery and rugged coastlines. The region is a nice combination of old and new with its gothic churches, small fishing villages and architecture alongside elegant shops and restaurants. Normandy is also know for its superior Camembert cheese and churned butter.
Places to visit in Normandy
The most famous site in Giverny is the home of Claude Monet where he drew inspiration for his famous water lily paintings. Many artists came to Giverny inspired by the greatness of Monet.
Eure Valley tourist train:
Step back in time by taking a leisurely ride on the scenic steam train in the beautiful Eure Valley.
Rouen is a city of history and art. Its rich history is evident through its various architectural styles with the glorious Gothic Cathedral being as its crowning jewel. The Museum of Fine Arts has a wonderful small collection of Impressionist art as well as a larger collection spanning from the 15th to the 20th century. The city is also known for the story of Joan of Arc and here you can visit the museum of Joan of Arc.
The city was completely rebuilt by the architect Auguste Perret in the 1950’s after being destroyed in the war. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2005 due to its postwar architectural style. Le Havre is the site of the Musee Malraux which holds one of the best Impressionist collections outside of Paris.
The White Cliffs of Etretat:
On the other side of the Channel from England’s White Cliffs of Dover you will see the White Cliffs of Etretat. This stunning coastline is known as the Alabaster Coast and it stretches 80 miles between Etretat and Dieppe.
Caen is the site of the Memorial museum of the Normandy Landings. The city was largely destroyed during WWII.
The Normandy Beaches:
Visiting the D day landing beaches of Normandy can be a moving and awe inspiring experience. The 50 miles of shore line with beautiful sandy and quaint now peaceful villages were the site of the fiercest fighting of the 20th century 70 years ago. Omaha Beach, Juno Beach, Utah Beach were the scene of bloody conflict of WWII. Now you can view remnants of the war and pay homage to the many lives lost there at the monuments, museums and cemeteries that have been erected to commemorate the events.
Bayeux was the first town that was liberated after the D Day landing. It is in fact a good choice for a home base from which to visit the beaches. The town is a wonderful example of Norman architecture with buildings from the 13 th to the 18 the century. It is also where you can view the famous Bayeux Tapestry. This 68 meter cloth from the 11th Century depicts the story of William the Conqueror and the Norman invasion of England in 58 descriptive scenes.
You can visit the castle of William the Conqueror in Falaise which is 45 minutes south from Bayeux. The Castle illustrates the power of the Dukes of Normandy and is an impressive structure perched high on a rock. :
The seaside resorts:
You can vacation in one of the beautiful and historical seaside resorts in Normandy such as Deuville, Cabourg and Honfleur. In Honfluer be sure to visit the 15th century Church of St. Catherine which is the largest wooden church in France.
Mont Saint Michel
This amazing UNESCO world heritage site is one of the most visited in France. Here a medieval Abbey is built on a rock in a bay. The tides which have astounding variations can cause the rock and the Abbey to be surrounded by water in just hours.
The Pays d’Auge located south east of Caen is the quintessential countryside of Normandy with its gentle hills and beautiful valleys. Here you will see the typical cottages and manor houses. You can enjoy the specialties of the area such as the cheeses like Camembert and apple cider and of course the Calvados which is a brandy made from apples. The best place to taste these and other wonderful food of the area is in one of the farms called the “fermes auberges”.
La Suisse Normande:
You can visit the highest point in Normandy just south of Caen where you can climb to 1000 ft above sea level. This area is popular with hikers.