Normandy offers visitors a heady mix of history, great beaches and even better food. This versatile region of Northern France is as much fun for families as it is for couples seeking a romantic break away. If you’d like to find out more, read our suggestions for must see Normandy.
Mont St Michel
Mont Saint Michel is a coastal castle located on a tidal island. The place was orignally the site of an abbey and later served as a prison. In the past, at low tide, pilgrims could walk across the causeway. However, would-be invaders would be stranded as the sea rushed back in, making this spot easy to defend. Today’s visitors can pass safely over a bridge but the landmark is as impressive now as it has ever been.
Bayeux is most famous for its mediaeval tapestry. It depicts the 1066 invasion of England by the Normans and itself dates from the 11th century. However, this pretty town has more to offer. Its cathedral, Notre Dame, is as imposing as it is beautiful. The old town is packed with cobbled streets and half-timbered houses which lend themselves to unguided strolls. It is particularly pleasant to amble along the banks of the River Aure, once buzzing with the sound of tanners and dyers going about their work.
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Normandy boasts mile upon mile of gorgeous beaches but one part of the coastline that you shouldn’t miss are the cliffs at Étretat. Coastal erosion has sculpted arches in the chalk; the breathtaking needle-like stack is known locally as the Aiguille. Inland, check out the clifftop gardens, known for their splendid sculptures. The Clos Lupin Museum, located in the home of novellist Maurice Leblanc, and the historic covered wooden market are also worth a visit.
The World War Two memorials and cemeteries
A series of monuments and memorials commemorate the 1944 Normandy landings. Pay your respects as you visit the graves of the fallen in the area’s World War Two cemeteries and the beaches which claimed so many lives.
Pretty Honfleur sits at the mouth of the Seine, the river which links the coast to Paris. The Vieux-Bassin (old harbour) is a delight to explore, with its 16th to 18th century houses and colourful boats. Claude Monet loved to paint the scene and perhaps you’ll be inspired to take a souvenir image home with you. Another must see is St. Catherine’s Church, constructed by shipbuilders in the 15th century with vaulted timbers. Check out the famous “Greniers à sel” too, built in the 17th century. They stored salt, which was used to preserve fish.
We think you’ll love Normandy as much as we do – why not get in touch and let us tell you more about this remarkable area of France?
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