Roadtrippin’ memories of Normandy, France

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

History, cider, crepes & art, what more could you want?

Who could resist a road trip around Normandy, well we certainly couldn’t.
 
Normandy was a region of France that we hadn’t really toured around much previously; we’d often headed south to visit the sun-kissed regions of Provence & Cote d’Azur or east to Champagne and Alsace.

This time we wanted to discover more about our close neighbours and the history that links us.

What Gary & I love about France is that no matter how many times we visit, we always leave wanting more, and Normandy was no exception.

Roadtrippin' around Normandy in our Audi, France

It was such an enjoyable break, particularly touring the coastline. However, to ensure that Normandy floats higher on your bucket list, we have chosen our favourite bits to share them with you.



Highlights


D-Day Landing Beaches – Visiting the historic beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno & Sword and the touching cemeteries, holds so many poignant memories.

The bay at Arromanches, Normandy, France

The Mulberry harbour at Arromanches-Les-Bains is particularly incredible.


Le Mont-Saint-Michel – This is one of France’s most visited sights, and it’s not surprising.

The causeway to  Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

When the rocky outcrop first comes into your view it is astonishing, it hard to believe how the abbey was ever built. Take a Medieval stroll along the lanes and the ramparts for free.


Rouen – This city is steeped in so much history, taking pride of place is the Gothic Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1063 in the presence of William the Conqueror.

Gros-Horloge, Rouen, Normandy, France

This city is also where Maid of Orléans (Joan of Arc), came to her untimely death. We found some lovely local restaurants here.


Beuvron-en-Auge – While we were driving the ‘Route de Cidre’ through the Normandy countryside, we came to the quaint village of Beuvron-en-Auge.

Just the prettiest place, Beuvron-en-Auge, Normandy, France

Having a wander amongst the half-timbered buildings and lanes was like stepping back in time.


Caen – The colourful city of Caen has a bit of everything, a harbour, pleasant relaxing squares, ‘his’ and ‘hers’ abbeys and of course a castle!

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

What more could you want, oh yes and some rather lovely bistros?


Jumièges Abbey – Not too far from Rouen are the ruins of Jumièges Abbey, we arrived late it the day, and there was hardly anyone around.

The huge scale of Jumieges Abbey, Normandy, France

It was fantastic with its imposing towers and birds soaring through the broken windows; it made it quite atmospheric just wandering around on your own.

Why not?

Embark on a French road trip adventure from your own doorstep, and discover the regions of France that you dream of. It is so easy to hop onto a Brittany Ferry and let them take the strain, while the thoughts of vineyards and sunshine sail through your mind.



Pleasures


Route de Cidre – If you are also planning a road trip around Normandy, this is one to add to your list.

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

As the 40km (25-mile) scenic route winds you through some lovely rural lanes and villages, where you can buy a bottle the local tipple to try once your car is parked up at the end of the day.


Giverny – If you are a fan of Monet like me, you may already know of the French impressionist’s colourful home in Giverny.

A bridge in the distance, Giverny, Normandy, France

Not only can you wander around his family home and walled garden it is also where he painted his iconic lily pond masterpieces.


Cider & Crêpe – Well what a combination.

Cidre de Normandy, Normandy, France

You’d struggle to better the experience of sitting at Honfleur’s harbour front enjoying the crêpe of your choice, washed down with a glass of sparkling cold cider.


Oeuf Cocotte – on this journey I discover this simplest of egg dishes. Whilst struggling to find a starter that appealed, Gary suggested I try an oeuf cocotte with bacon and red wine. It was delicious, which begs the question why hadn’t Gary suggested this before?


Étretat – The unforgiving white cliffs at Étretat, do draw a few crowds, so parking may be tricky in town.

The Cliffs at Étretat, Normandy, France

However, you can see why artists have been flocking here over the decades, as it is a beautiful view and worth the visit.


Alençon – Perhaps not prominent on the tourist map, but that was part of its appeal.

Maison D'Oze and Cathedral, Alençon, Normandy, France

Along with its impressive cathedral, Le Chateau des Ducs which was used by the Gestapo and a Hogwarts styled library, hidden behind the walls of a 17th-century Baroque church. To top it off it had some very reasonably priced bistros.

Our Advice

Arrive as early as you can to Monet’s home in Giverny, as it gets quite busy.



Treasures


Rouen Cathedral Light Show – This is certainly a memory that will remain with us. It may appear a simple concept.

However, the free light display of Rouen’s ancient history projected across the front of the cathedral was impressive. The show lasted around 15 minutes and charted through sight and sound the lives of William the Conqueror and Joan of Arc.


Discovering little villages – we came across Lyons-la-Forêt while we were touring, and couldn’t resist pulling up and enjoying some petit déjeuner.

Lyons-la-Forêt, Normandy, France

History – As with any place Gary & I visit, we are always in search of the local history and this region of France has so much of it.

Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, France

I found that the museum at Pegasus Bridge was indeed worth a visit, the incredibly touching military stories are not for the faint-hearted.



What I would do differently


Stay Longer – I know it’s a cliché, but we love France.



A funny moment


Seeing Gary’s face when I drag him around another cemetery.

Frank D Peregory, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Normandy, France



A slight disappointment


Honfleur – The disappointment was that we had visited Honfleur 10 years previously, and I wanted to match those memories.

The harbour at Honfleur, Normandy, France

However, it has become a bit of a victim of its own success. Although having said that it is a lovely town & perhaps we should have visited off season.



Point of Note


Rouen’s Cathedral Light Show – Only takes place during the summer months, so check the timings here.

Inspired to visit Normandy?

As you can see this region of France offers so much diversity. Why not give it a go.

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Roadtrippin’ memories of Normandy, France

Have You

Visited Normandy? Does our reminiscing bring back any memories for you? What’s your favourite place in France?

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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Roadtrippin’ memories of Normandy, France was last modified: February 6th, 2018 by Janis