Normandy

Mont Saint-Michel © BeBo86
Normandy is a land of dramatic coastal scenery. Granite cliffs give way to long stretches of pebbly beaches. The landscape is accented by the meanders of the river Seine as it approaches its estuary. It is a landscape which has witnessed some of the seminal events of Europe's long and storied history.

William the conqueror departed Normandy in 1066 to invade England. The intricate detail on the famed Bayeux Tapestry depicts cartoon scenes of the battle, notable both for their remarkable artistry and the bias in favour of the Normans. The old medieval city of Rouen (home to Monet's favourite Gothic cathedral) witnessed Joan of Arc tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1431. Cemetaries and memorials to the D-Day landings of 1944, the largest seaborne invasion in history, dot the beaches of the region.

The chic seaside resort of Deauville hosted the start of a different sort of empire. It was here that Coco Chanel started a fashion renaissance by opening her first boutique.

Today, Normandy is overwhelmingly agricultural and is appreciated by the gastronomically fastidious French for its excellent produce, particularly dairy and seafood. Normandy also has a reputation for producing great cider, the perfect accompaniment for the fresh fish and seafood coming off the boats each morning.




Attractions

Notre-Dame de Bayeux © archangel12

Bayeaux

This ancient Viking settlement is situated a few miles inland, between La Havre and Cherbourg, and was the first French town to be liberated in 1944 during World War II. Fortunately Bayeux was spared from too much war damage, and remains full of...  see full details



Omaha Beach Memorial © Gind2005

D-Day Beaches

Early on 6 June, 1944, the largest armada ever known left England's south coast and set off to liberate France. Shortly thereafter British, American and Canadian soldiers began landing on the Normandy beaches. Today, World War II veterans and their families walk along the...  see full details



Villa Strassburger © Kamel15

Deauville

Deauville is the only Norman holiday resort to have any delusions of grandeur. It is at the heart of the Norman Riviera which, in the late 19th century, was a particularly popular holiday destination with elite Parisians. Deauville is still known as the 'lady'...  see full details



Honfleur © Ian Parkes

Honfleur

Whether by accident or design, the quaint fishing village of Honfleur, just across the estuary from busy, bustling La Havre, has managed to make time stand still and presents its many visitors with scenes and experiences largely unchanged for 100 years or more. Honfleur...  see full details



Mont Saint-Michel Abbey © Ikmo-ned

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey

One of France's best-known attractions, the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, is situated on a rocky island just off the coast of Normandy and Brittany. It was founded in 708 by the Bishop of Avranches, who built a chapel here. Construction of the current abbey...  see full details



Rouen skyline © Frederic Bisson

Rouen

The capital of Normandy and a popular holiday destination, Rouen is also a centre of industry and commerce; it is the fifth largest port in France and the closest one to Paris, split into a right and left bank area by the River...  see full details


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