Saturday, June 11, 2011

Normandy - Visit France

Situated 70 km north-west from Paris, Normandy's location offers three distinct coasts, from the ancient bay of Mont St  Michel, through Manche’s rugged coastlines, across picturesque Calvados and up to the Le Tréport fishing village in Seine-Maritime.

5 reasons to visit Normandy

>Its artistic heritage as the birthplace of Impressionism:Inspired by Normandy’s beauty, Impressionist painters set up their easels along the coast, the banks of the Seine, in Rouen’s old town and Monet’s gardens.

>Its pivotal role in the Second World War:
From Sainte-Mère-Eglise in La Manche to Dieppe in Seine Maritime, the coastline is dotted with memorials and museums to discover this powerful history at first hand.

>Its rich regional gastronomy:
For a taste of the sea, try freshly-caught herring or delicate scallops. Meat lovers will relish succulent salt-marsh lamb or traditional black pudding. As for Normandy’s world-famous cheeses – Camembert, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont l’Évêque – enjoy them washed down with a local cider.

>Its diverse landscapes and regional parks:
With 600km of varied coastline, verdant valleys, lush pastures and leafy forests, Normandy is ideal for outdoor adventures such as exploring by bike, on horseback, by boat or on foot.

>Its strong medieval, religious and cultural heritage:
From Rouen’s old market square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, to Richard the Lionheart’s impressive stronghold and William the Conqueror’s chateaux and abbeys, Normandy’s history and landscape holds the memory of many important historical figures.

Unmissable sights in Normandy
Although many areas of Normandy are worth exploring, the region boasts several major sights which should not be missed.
Mont-St-Michel with its abbey is a major pilgrimage and tourist destination, famous around the world. The various stages of construction have resulted in a unique architectural ensemble which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. 
Giverny and the Eure valley
The Master of Impressionism, Claude Monet, considered the light in this charming, traditional village to be truly unique.
Omaha Beach
If the Normandy landings nearly failed anywhere, it was certainly on Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer. The heavy losses suffered by American troops on D-Day earned it the name of "Bloody Omaha".


In the very heart of the D-Day beaches, Arromanches is renowned for its artificial "Mulberry" harbour.

Bayeux and Queen Mathilda's tapestry

Exhibiting one of the world's most impressive historical artefacts in an authentic setting is an art. Bayeux does this with respect, thanks to its unspoilt, varied and striking architectural heritage.

Le Havre

Le Havre is the only town in Europe to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the modern architectural style of its town centre. The architecture makes the most of the region's light, which inspired Claude Monet's painting Impression - Sunrise


A veritable open-air museum, Rouen is a delightful city with its attractive half-timbered houses, narrow paved streets and Gothic churches. 


A "Town of Art and History", Dieppe is a dynamic, lively port which is especially popular with seafood lovers. The town was the most important seaside resort in France 200 years ago, and it has retained a beautiful promenade along its seafront.  

Deauville and the Côte fleurie

Extending from Honfleur to Cabourg, and including Trouville and Deauville, the Côte Fleurie boasts a string of internationally renowned seaside resorts dotted along its coast.


This is a gem ! Honfleur is a key tourist destination in Normandy, and you too will certainly be enchanted by this lovely port, which has inspired so many artists.

Caen and the Memorial

With its ideal location just 2 hours from Paris and 10 minutes from the coast, Caen was the favourite town of William the Conqueror who built a castle and two abbeys here. Also of historical interest is the Mémorial de Caen, which is both a museum focusing on the Battle of Normandy and an international cultural centre dedicated to peace.
Cherbourg and the Cité de la mer
Vauban considered this site to be a "bold" location for a port. The site's open location has made it a flourishing port which is in total harmony with the sea. Don't miss the Cité de la Mer, which houses the largest submarine open to the public in the world.

Le Pin National Stud

Founded in 1715 on the order of the Sun King (Louis XIV), Le Pin National Stud (Haras du Pin) is also known as the "Equestrian Versailles".


Normandy's famous cheese, a gastronomic emblem par excellence, takes its name from the village near Vimoutiers, in the Orne region. 


With its romantic setting overlooking the English Channel, Étretat has inspired some of the world's most famous artists. The extraordinary vertical cliffs of the Côte d'Albâtre (Alabaster Coast) provide a striking contrast to the gently curving shoreline.

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