Normandy, France is a superb holiday destination, situated in the north of France, this is a destination steeped in history, culture and tradition. Normandy is known for its excellent beaches, scenic coastline, and famous tourist attractions and holidays to Normandy are extremely popular and for great reason.
This part of France is a pillar of French cuisine with excellent cheeses, apple cider, wine and the most delicate scallops. Situated on the English Channel, Normandy hosts some of the freshest seafood on the European continent.
The history of Normandy is rich and significant, from the 1066 Norman invasion of England to the D-Day landings in World War Two, there are numerous unforgettable memorials along the coast remembering those dark battles.
Normandy has some of France’s most popular, must-visit tourist attractions with the Mont Saint-Michel Island and the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry telling the tale of the history of the nation.
Holidays to Normandy are a fantastic option, and this article will give you an insight into this iconic part of France.
Getting to Normandy
Airports in Normandy
There are numerous Airports in Normandy, but if you’re flying from overseas you will land in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport which is situated a two-hour drive away from Normandy. Flights to Normandy are available all day from Paris, but it’s just as easy to get the train or bus from Paris.
Flying to Normandy
Flights from Australia often take around 24 hours. Depending on which airliner you fly with, you will have a layover or a fuel stop in a country. For example, if you fly with Emirates, then you will stop in Dubai along the way. There are currently no direct flights to Normandy France.
How to get to Normandy from Paris
Getting to Normandy for Paris is relatively easy, and there are numerous options. It is possible to hire a car from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and drive; it takes around 2 hours depending on traffic, and it’s a short and easy drive.
Alternatively, you can take the train from Paris to Bayeaux or Caen. Trains run seven times a day from Gare Saint-Lazare and take around 2 hours. You should reserve your train beforehand here.
It is possible to make a day trip to Normandy from Paris. You can find day trips on here or plan your itinerary, but it will be a very long day trip. Many people would recommend spending a couple of days there.
How to get to Normandy from London
If you’re in London and want to head over the channel to visit Normandy, this is entirely possible, and there are numerous options.
A great option is to catch the Ferry to Normandy from Portsmouth, England. There is one Ferry company operating this service called Brittany Ferries, who run three ferries per day. It’s easy to catch the train from Waterloo Station to Portsmouth, and the journey only takes around one hour and 10 minutes.
Catching the train from London to Normandy is possible. There is one London to Normandy train per day from London St. Pancras to Bayeux. The journey takes around 6 hours on average, and prices vary drastically, it’s essential to book early to get the best price and because there is only one train per day.
Best Places to Visit in Normandy
Bayeux Normandy is an enormously popular town in Normandy; millions of people visit every year. This town is a gateway to the beaches of Normandy, and it’s the town that most visitors go to from Paris. It is, without doubt, one of the best towns in Normandy.
Home to Bayeux Tapestry, this town is steeped in grand history. The Bayeux Tapestry reveals the story behind William the conqueror and his conquest to invade England, resulting in him winning the battle of hastings and becoming the king of England in 1066. The Bayeux Tapestry is a must-see in Normandy and a notable piece of world history.
A popular museum in Bayeux is the Museum of the Battle of Normandy. This museum is an essential must-see for anyone intrigued by the most significant battle in modern history. The only museum in France that exhibits all of the military conflicts that took place in Normandy in 1944.
A famous landmark in this small town is the Bayeux cathedral, which is the original home of the Bayeux tapestry and a national icon of France. This cathedral is one of the best examples of classic romanesque, gothic architecture in Normandy, which is a symbol of the deep history of the area.
Home to the majestic Etretat cliffs, this is a must-visit in Normandy. Etretat is a small town on the coast of Normandy that offers some of the most picturesque scenery in Northern France. The cliffs of Etretat are world-famous for their chalky limestone shape and sharp rock formation, a simply beautiful part of Normandy. If you want to see Normandy Cliffs, be sure to head here.
Caen is the third-largest city in Normandy and is home to the Memorial de Caen, which is a must-visit in Normandy. The Memorial de Caen is a museum dedicated to expressing the fragility of world peace through the history of the 21st century.
The city was a focal point in the battles of Normandy, located next to the beaches of the D-Day landings. This museum is a striking reminder of the worst conflict in human history, exhibiting events up until the cold war with a comprehensive showcase of 20th-century European history.
Caen Castle was built by William the conqueror and was badly damaged during World War Two. However, today it’s restored and is worth a visit due to it’s incredible walls and architecture.
With one of the most picturesque harbours in Western Europe, Honfleur is well worth the visit if you’re in Normandy. Visitors will enjoy the scenic views of the old 16th century cobbled harbour that was adored by famous artists like Monet.
One of the main attractions in Honfleur is the Saint Catherine’s Church, built in the 15th century. The locals built this church entirely with wood that they collected from the local forest. That makes it the largest wooden church in France. Walking around Honfleur is like walking around the medieval times, which makes it one of the best towns in Normandy.
If you’re a fan of the genius artist Monet, then be sure to check out his home village of Giverny Normandy. Monet lived here from 1883 until he died in 1926, and the quaint village inspired many of his world-famous paintings.
In the village, you can visit the Foundation Claude Monet, which is a garden that inspired much of Monet’s works. It would be best if you also visited the house of Monet, to get a picture of what inspired this great artist.
The capital city of Normandy is Rouen, with a population of 660,000 people, was a city that was significant during medieval European times. Dominated by gothic architecture, the city is like stepping back into a time machine. Monet regularly painted the city and was an avid fan of the medieval gothic nature of the city’s appearance.
In the 1870s the Notre-Dame de Rouen was the world’s tallest building. This impressive structure still stands right above the city’s skyline today. Monet used to capture the cathedral in some of his most iconic paintings, and he would paint images of the cathedral during different weather conditions. The cathedral is a fantastic thing to see if you’re in the city.
But the cathedral isn’t the only historic landmark; the city has the 12th century Gros Horloge which is an astronomical clock mounted in the 1300s and worth checking out.
Out of all the great cities in Normandy, this is a top city to visit.
Perhaps the most popular and visited landmark in Normandy is the Normandy Mont Saint Michel. Situated on the border of Brittany and Normandy, this tidal island is an ancient icon of France. The spectacular architecture of this island will blow you away. For centuries this was one of Europe’s pilgrimages and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 1979.
Mont Saint-Michel is a 1-hour 40-minute drive from Caen and Bayeux. The locals recommended getting a guided tour, especially if you want to walk around the island when the tide is out because this can be dangerous. The island is mythical, and you cannot miss the island if you’re visiting Normandy.
Brittany is the neighbouring region to Normandy; it is one of the most popular holiday regions in France. The coastline is a vast, beautiful stretch of blue waters and rugged coastline. The capital of the region is Rennes and just like Normandy cities, full of medieval architecture.
But if you visit Brittany the highlight has to be the rugged coastline, the Fort la Latte is a 14th-century fortress situated on the coast and surrounded by the most beautiful coastal scenery. Cap Fréhel is another excellent natural spot to see in Brittany with some of the best hiking spots in Northern France.
Brittany is a stunning part of Northern France. It could be a great option to visit during your time in Normandy.
Things To Do In Normandy
Golfing in Normandy
There are some Golf courses in Normandy. The Golf Club d’Etretat is a sensational golf course in Etretat that looks over the stunning chalk cliffs. At times it can get dangerously close to the edge of the cliff, but it sure does give golfers an incredible view as they play.
Another excellent golf course is at Omaha Beach, the famous beach that held the most fierce d-day battle is home to a beautiful 36 hole course that looks right over the famous beach with great views of the English channel.
Cycling in Normandy
If you’re looking for beautiful places for cycling in Normandy, you will not be disappointed. One of the most popular cycling routes is the D-Day beaches to Mont Saint-Michel route. This marvellous cycling route takes you past many of Normandy’s most endearing and iconic landmarks in one cycle. The path will guide you to places that marked the battle of Normandy. You will also get to see Chateaux, natural parks and small villages on the route.
Battlefield Tours Normandy
There are so many great battlefield tours to choose from in Normandy. It is possible to get a day tour to the Normandy Battlefields from Paris. A popular and highly rated tour is the Normandy D-Day Beaches & American Cemetery Trip with Optional Lunch from Paris, this is a great day tour from Paris that will take you to all the historical sights of the harrowing battles.
One of the best places to get tours to the D-Day beaches is from Bayeux, numerous fantastic tours from here will take you everywhere, including the American cemetery.
Cinema in Normandy
If you’re looking to go to the cinema in Normandy, there are many options. A very popular option is the Arromanches 360 Cinema, this shows archive footage of the D-Day landings with compelling footage from the frightening battles in 1944. The locals built the cinema on top of the cliffs at Arromanches. The nine-screen cinema shows the footage to pay respect to the 20,000 people who died in the area. If you’re interested in the battles in Normandy, this is highly recommended by people that have visited.
Markets in Normandy
There are various terrific markets in Normandy. Caen is home to many of these. The oldest one is the Saint-Pierre-Sur-Dives which has been operating since the time of William the Conqueror. The market is one of the oldest in France and is known for its produce and rich heritage.
Bayeux is home to some tremendous markets, a very popular one is held in Rue Saint-Jean on Wednesdays, just like the markets in Caen, this one an ancient market that dates back until the Roman era. Pretty incredible.
Food in Normandy
Cider route Normandy
Normandy is famous for many things, but the locals love it because of the brilliant cider. The Normandy Cider Route is known as the La Route du Cidre in the French language. It is a well-known route that showcases the cider of the region.
The cider route is 40km, and during the route, you will pass various quaint villages and head down some rural roads passing centuries-old mansions and distilleries. If you want to experience the local cuisine, this is one of the best things you can do in Normandy.
Cheeses of Normandy
Normandy is home to some of the best French cuisine in the country, and it’s notorious for phenomenal cheese. The cheeses of Normandy is loved by the people of France, with three of the country’s favourite cheeses created in the area, namely Camembert, Livarot and Calvados’s pont-l’évêque. You can find these cheeses throughout Normandy in shops and restaurants.
Seafood in Normandy
Located on the English channel means that Normandy is home to some of the most incredible fresh fish in France. The fish ranges from Scallops, mussels, lobster and clams, and it is some of the best fish in the country, and there are plenty of seafood restaurants on the Normandy coastline.
Accommodation In Normandy
Accommodation in Normandy varies hugely, one of the most popular types of accommodation in Normandy is a holiday home. Holiday cottages in Normandy are available throughout the area and are particularly popular around Mont Saint-Michel.
A very popular option is B & B’s in Normandy, you can search for these on Airbnb, booking.com or Agoda. These vary in price drastically from budget prices of 50 Euros per night to 500 Euros per night. There is a wide range of budgets in Brittany.
Hostels in Normandy are popular for travellers on a budget, and it’s possible to find dorms around the area, but there aren’t a lot of options. Popular places to find a hostel are Bayeux or Caen.
Accommodation in Normandy booking options
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