14 of Normandy’s delights, France

In Europe, Far, France, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Trip-Types by Janis0 Comments

Discover for yourself

Normandy truly is an intriguing region of France, not only is it synonymous for its mouthwatering flavours of cider & cheese, but the wealth of history that this north-western region holds is incredible.

The harbour at night, Honfleur, Normandy, France

Gary and I have visited a few times, and on each occasion, it never disappoints.

There are some large towns that I have chosen that may take a day or two to enjoy on their own, and others just a few hours. However, in my honest opinion, the best way to unearth these localities is on a road trip.

Our Advice

If you can jump in your own car, then all the better, but as Normandy is relatively close to Paris, it would also be easy to hire a car.

Start ticking them off

I haven’t listed these in any particular order, as they all deserve a visit in my view. Although, I have started off with one of France’s most iconic landmarks.

1

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Close up to Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

The ancient Benedictine Abbey perched high on a rocky island, is unbelievable when you first catch sight of it. You’d almost think that it was built for a film set and not that it had been inhabited by monks since the 8th century.

A view over the causeway, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

Wandering through the medieval lanes and along the ramparts is free of charge. However, I think the €10 to enter the Abbey is most definitely worth it, if only for the views beyond and the birds soaring below.

For more on our visit check out –
Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

2

Rouen

Cathedral of Notre Dame, Rouen, Normandy, France

Rouen’s striking centre piece is the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, consecrated in 1063 in the presence of William the Conqueror, and it also contains a tomb for Richard the Lionheart.

What I didn’t realise about Rouen, was that there were such a large amount of half-timbered homes and kept in such a wonderful condition.

Historical Streets, Rouen, Normandy, France
The Joan of Arc Tower, Rouen, Normandy, France

Unfortunately for the Maid of Orléans (Joan of Arc), Rouen is where her short heroic life ended and was burnt at the stake.

Why not read our post – Amongst the historical lanes of Rouen, France

3

Jumièges Abbey

The striking detail of Jumieges Abbey, Normandy, France

Jumièges Abbey is just 18miles/29kms outside of Rouen, so it’s possible to add as a detour. The 7th century preserved ruin was once a thriving abbey, but today you can take a wander through the Romanesque façade that towers above you and stroll amongst the crumbling windows.

Our post ‘The ruins of Jumièges Abbey, Normandy, France‘ gives a little more detail.

4

Bayeux

You’re correct, the home of the famous ancient tapestry, which is an amazing 230ft long and depicts the history through the Norman conquest.

Bayeux Cathedral, Normandy, France
Bayeux , Normandy, France

You couldn’t go without missing Bayeux’s eye-catching Notre Dame cathedral & its lovely winding waterways.

5

D-Day Landing beaches & cemeteries

The bay at Arromanches, Normandy, France

A day or two spent along the Landing Beaches would be ideal, as there are some very poignant places around Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno & Sword beaches, that time should be allowed.

The Omaha Beach D-Day Memorial, Normandy, France

However, if time is of the essence and only a couple can be visited, then I would recommend Arromanches, along Gold beach to see the astounding artificial Mulberry harbour and also, the extremely moving American Cemetery above Omaha beach.

We wrote about our expereinces in ‘The D-Day Landing Beaches, Normandy, France

6

Honfleur

A view of the harbour with plenty of pleasure boats moored up, Honfleur, France

For an idyllic picturesque harbour town then Honfleur would be a good choice. It may be slightly busy during peak times, but the quaint streets and quayside make this lovely place to visit.

Cidre de Normandy, Normandy, France

Take a seat by the harbour and grab a galette and a glass of cider.

For more on our stopover check out – ‘The call of Honfleur, France

7

Giverny

Now for the fans of French Impressionism, Monet’s home in the village of Giverny, will certainly be on your list.

Through the gardens to the house, Giverny, Normandy, France

Not only can you wander through his idyllic family home, but you also get the chance to stroll through his colourful walled garden and onto the magnificent lily pond, that was used in so many of Monet’s works.

For more from our day have a look at ‘Monet’s Giverny, France

Our Advice

Try to arrive early as the museum can get very busy.

8

Caen

Well not only does Caen have a Norman castle, but it also has two Abbey’s one for ladies – Abbaye aux Dames and one for the gentlemen – Abbaye aux Homme.

Abbaye aux Hommes from the town hall, Caen, Normandy, France

William the conqueror had both of them built, one for him and one for his wife. His tomb is in Abbaye aux Homme.

Statue of Louis XIV in Place Saint-Sauveur, Caen, Normandy, France

Caen is a lovely town to stroll around day or night, amongst it attractive squares and marina.

For our visit have a peek at ‘The Core of Calvados, Caen, France

9

Alençon

Now Alençon is a little off the tourist trail, maybe as it is nestled between two regional parks, however, it certainly has its own historical story to tell.

Maison D Oze and Cathedral, Alençon, Normandy, France

Not only was it the birth place of Saint Thérèse, and famous for its French Royal lace, but it also managed to survive WWII relatively unscathed, so has some wonderful architecture.
 
Alençon was also the first town to be liberated by the French Army under General Leclerc.

We’ve written a little more in ‘The making of a Saint, Alençon, France

10

Basilica of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

The Basilica of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Normandy, France

Sitting high above the town of Lisieux is the large white basilica dedicated to Alençon’s Saint Thérèse. It is the second largest pilgrimage site in France, after Lourdes and has more than two million visitors a year.

Looking up inside the Basilica of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Normandy, France
The Altar at Basilica of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Normandy, France

Regardless of your faith, it is an impressive piece of architecture and quite imposing in stature inside and out.

11

Étretat

The Cliffs at Étretat, Normandy, France

Artists old and new are drawn to Étretat for its amazing white cliffs, and to see how the extraordinary forces of nature has carved its way through the chalk, to form incredible arches.

Our Advice

If you are unable to walk to the top of the cliff, a wonderful view can be seen from the esplanade in the town.

12

Lyons-la-Forêt

The little village of Lyons-la-Forêt is like stepping back in time. It is idyllic, with its 18th-century timber framed covered market, still used as such today. Surrounded by little shops, boutiques and manicured half-timbered houses.

Lyons-la-Forêt, Normandy, France

We couldn’t resist stopping for petit-dejeuner in the little market square

13

Fécamp

The harbour at Fécamp, Normandy, France

Located on the north coast of Normandy, Fécamp also has some stunning views along its white cliffs. Although it is still a busy fishing port today, Fécamp is famous for its exotic Benedictine liqueur.

14

Beuvron-en-Auge

We discovered this little Norman village while we were driving along the ‘Route de Cidre’.

Along the high street, Beuvron-en-Auge, Normandy, France

Located deep in the Normandy countryside, and surrounded by orchards, Beuvron-en-Auge is amazing. Full of half-timbered homes, a covered market and just overflowing with flower displays.

Here you’ll certainly be able to pick up some mementoes of your Normandy trip.

We’ve a little more on this, and the Route de Cidre in ‘Beuvron-en-Auge, Normandy, France

Inspired to vist Normandy?

Does the history tempt you? Or the great food? The idyllic countryside, or the beaches?

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?

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Statue of Louis XIV in Place Saint-Sauveur, Caen, Normandy, France

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Have You

A favourite place in Normandy? We know there’s other great places, which will take us back sometime in the not too distant future. Or are you planning on going? what’s the draw?

About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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14 of Normandy’s delights, France was last modified: September 10th, 2017 by Janis