Normandy by night

Summer is the perfect time to experience all that Normandy has to offer after the sun fades on the horizon. From sound & light shows on cathedrals to firework displays over the sea, not forgetting open-air night markets or a taste of Rouen’s and Caen’s party scenes, there are just so many reasons to go nocturnal in Normandy!

Sound & Light Shows

It’s that time of year when the sun sets late, temperatures are mild, and it's perfect weather to watch an outdoor sound and light show.

Every summer, hundreds of thousands of spectators line the square in front of Rouen cathedral to watch the facade come to life. This season, your eyes are sure to light up when you see the spectacular visuals narrating the story of William the Conqueror. The second show features the myth around Joan of Arc, Rouen’s most iconic figure.

From 3 June to 23 September 2017 at nightfall. Free!

In Bayeux, the light show is displayed not only on the cathedral but also on the magnificent tree trunk at the centre of the square. In an array of vibrant colours, ten stories celebrating France’s journey to freedom and liberty are portrayed. Pure magic!

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at nightfall, from 11 July to 26 August 2017. Free!

Sées Cathedral in the south of Normandy will also run its annual Musilumières sound and light show on weekends throughout the summer, telling the tale of Sées, ‘city of light’. Get ready to travel back in time to 1209, the year the cathedral was built!

On Friday and Saturday evenings in July, August and September (see calendar for exact dates). €5-14€

New to Normandy this summer is the Perche Passion light show at the Manoir du Courboyer in the heart of the beautiful Perche Regional Nature Park. This action‑packed visual spectacle explores the history and heritage of the Perche region, particularly famous for its draft horses and delicious gastronomic fare.

On Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30pm from 14 July to 12 August at the Manoir du Corboyer. €6.50-€13.50

Nightlife

It may come as a surprise to learn that Rouen has the highest number of bars per capita in France! The city is a night owl’s paradise, and is the perfect place to keep the buzz going once the sun has set. Beer bars, pubs, cocktail bars, clubs playing every kind of music - Rouen’s night scene exerts a magnetic pull!

Ten miles away from Rouen, you will find France’s oldest nightclub: the Moulin Rose. Located at the heart of Belbeuf, a small village on the River Seine, the club is now ninety years old and is a real institution in the region.

Home to over 30 000 students, Caen is also a fantastic place to party. A great way to see and experience the city's nightlife is to head to the Rue Ecuyère for a pub crawl you won't forget! The street alone is home to twelve bars and pubs where the atmosphere is always warm, fun and inviting.

Small and compact, Dieppe is a pleasant place to have a drink away from the hustle and bustle. One used to say that there were as many bars in Dieppe as days in the year, and although that isn’t quite true anymore, there are still many places left to have fun in town, especially along the marina or in the quartier Saint-Rémy, surrounding the church that bears the same name.

Night tours, visits and trails

-The Mont-Saint-Michel: Experience Normandy’s most iconic landmark like never before. When night falls on the Bay, not only does the Mont-Saint-Michel light up, it also opens its doors to visitors for a unique night trail around the abbey.  The architecture takes on a poetic look thanks to visuals and audio with a mythic night creature storyline that echoes in each corner of the monument.

Monday-Saturday from 10 July to 26 August. Doors open from 7:30pm to midnight. Last entrance at 11pm.

Once the sun fades and the shadows touch the ground, you can also cross the Bay on foot or on horseback at night with a guide. An unforgettable experience.

-Cherbourg: During the summer season, the local tourist office organises several night tours of the town. Equipped with tablet computers, participants get to discover Cherbourg’s medieval history while the soft light of the street lamps reflects on the pavements, giving off an intimate and an enigmatic atmosphere.

On 15, 22, 29 July and 5, 12, 19, 26 August at 9pm. Free!

-Carentan-les-Marais: Located on the Cotentin Peninsula, Carentan-les-Marais is a beautiful place to visit at nightfall. Accompanied by a guide, visitors can discover the scenery and wildlife of the swamp in which the town nestles.

On 12, 19, 26 July and 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 August at 8pm.

-Montgomery Chateau, Ducey: Just a few miles away from the Mont-Saint-Michel, this remarkable 17th century building will open its doors to the public for nocturnal visits.

On 20, 27 July and 3, 10 August at 9pm. 5€

-Mesnil-Geoffroy Chateau, Ermenouville: Don’t miss these two candle-lit tours of the chateau, where Victor Hugo and Antoine de Saint Exupéry stayed back in their days.

On 26 July and 9 August at 9:30pm. 12€/6€

Night markets

Favoured by tourists and locals alike, night markets are always bustling with life by sundown, and are a great way to spend a summer evening hunting for local produce and crafts. There is bound to be a market to discover close to where you are staying in Normandy:

-Allouville-Bellefosse: 11 August on the Place Paul Levieux – 5pm to midnight

-Argentan: 7 July on the Place du Marché – 6pm to 11pm

-Caen: 14, 21, 28 July and 4, 11, 18 August along the Bassin Saint-Pierre – 5pm to 11pm

-Cany-Barville: 13 July and 5 August on the square in front of the town hall – 5:30pm to 11pm

-Dieppe: 8 July and 5 August on the Quai Henri IV – 4pm to midnight

-Ferrières-en-Bray: 21 July on the square in front of the church – 5pm to 10pm

-Honfleur: Every Wednesday in July and August on the Cour des Fossé - From 5:30pm

-Luc-sur-Mer: Every Monday in July and August on the Rue de la Mer – From 8pm

-Ouistreham: 5, 12, 19, 26 July and 2, 9, 16 August on the Avenue de la Mer – 5pm to 11pm

-Saint-Valery-en-Caux: 11 July and 8 August on the Place du Marché – 4:30pm to 11pm

-Verneuil-sur-Avre: 13 July on the Place Saint-Jean – 6pm to 10pm

-Veules-les-Roses: 18 July and 10 August on the Rue Victor Hugo – 5pm to midnight

-Villers-sur-Mer: 12 August on the seafront promenade – 5pm to 10pm

-Yvetot: 7 July and 4 August in the town centre – 6pm to 11pm

La nuit des étoiles

The Nuit des Etoiles is an annual national event in France, with free astronomy-themed outings taking place all over the country. From 28 to 30 July, the cosmos will be particularly visible with plenty of constellations and planets on display. Astronomy clubs will open their doors to the public and organise various events in the following villages and towns:

-Banneville-sur-Ajon: 29 July from 9pm to 11:30pm - Chapelle Saint Clair, chemin de la Chapelle Saint Clair

-Goderville: 28 July from 9:30pm to 1am - Locaux de la Com. Com. Campagne de Caux, ZA route de Bolbec

-La Hague: 28 July from 8pm to 1am - Planétarium Ludiver, 1700 rue de la Libération

-Louviers: 28 July from 9pm to 1am - Stade Maxime Marchand

-Normanville: 29 July from 5pm to 3am – Arboretum, rue du Robichon

-Harcourt: 29 July from 7:30pm to 1am - Domaine d'Harcourt, 13 rue du Chateau

-Saint-Martin-du-Bec: 29 July from 10:30pm to 1am – Sports field, route de Croismare

-Sotteville-les-Rouen: 29 July from 9pm to midnight - Maison Pour Tous, 2 rue Sergent Major Thiremberg

-Toussaint: 29 July from 8:30pm to midnight - Salle de l'Epinay, rue de l'Epinay

Festivals

If music festivals usually start mid-afternoon, everyone knows that it’s only once the sun has set that the buzz really kicks in. With over 40 events taking place this summer across the region, Normandy is the perfect place to catch your favourite band playing live and enjoy festival fever in the warmth of a summer night:

-Beauregard Festival:

Iggy Pop, Foals, Placebo, Editors, Phoenix and Echo & the Bunnymen are all hitting the stage at this festival set in the beautiful grounds of Beauregard Castle, just ten minutes from central Caen.

From 7 to 9 July

-Green Horse Festival:

In the heart of the Norman countryside, Mauquenchy racecourse will welcome Roger Hodgson from Supertramp, Martin Garrix, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike and many more for the first edition of this promising festival.

From 7 to 9 July

- Mozaïque World Music Festival:

Take a voyage of musical discovery around the world in Le Havre this July! Over five days, 200 musicians will be performing in 40 concerts, with music ranging from jazz, blues and soul to rock, reggae and Latino. What’s more, international stars, local legends and new talent will be playing side by side in the most serene of surroundings: Le Havre’s impressive Hanging Gardens.

From 19 to 23 July

-Cabourg Mon Amour:

Taking place on a beautiful sandy beach, this intimate festival caters to the indie crowd, who will enjoy Jacques Greene, Loyle Carner, Parcels, Cigarettes After Sex and Shame this summer.

From 28 to 30 July

- Jazz en Baie:

This August, the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel will come alive with the sound of music, as the Jazz en Baie festival returns for an eighth time! Watch international artists Gregory Porter, Imany, Incognito and many more play late into the night, in stunning surroundings around the bay such as Christian Dior’s home and gardens in Granville.

From 2 to 13 August

Street Arts

Normandy will host 12 festivals this summer, with 700 shows featuring comedians, fire-eaters, acrobats, jugglers, tightrope walkers, and much more! Enjoy a street party with a difference no matter where you are in the region, and make the most of the hundreds of free shows and performances taking place in the following places:

-La Fête du Cirque (Saint-Romain-de-Colbosc): from 2 to 4 June

-Les Plateaux Ephémères (Mondeville): from 3 to 4 June

-L’Archifête (Petit-Couronne): from 24 to 25 June

-Viva Cité (Sotteville-lès-Rouen): from 30 June to to 2 July

-Éclat(s) de rue (Caen): from 8 July to 2 September

-Côté cour, côté jardin (Bernay): from 11 to 15 July

-Les Sorties de Bain (Granville): from 6 to 9 July

-Royal de Luxe city-wide street parade (Le Havre): from 7 to 9 July

-Les Virevoltés (Vire): from 3 to 12 July

-Summer Fridays (Bagnoles-de-l'Orne): from 14 July to 18 August

-Les Faltaisies (Falaise): from 22 to 29 July and 5 August

-La rue Bucolique (Cap de la Hague): from 11 to 13 August

Night Events

-La Nuit des Soudeurs (the night of welders): A festival celebrating the fine art of metalwork, sculptors flock to the seaside resort of Granville every year for La Nuit des Soudeurs. Sculptors are given a theme to base their sculptures on and at the end of the festival, their work is auctioned off to the public. With art, music, food stands and exhibits, festivities go on until 2am on the Saturday night, and the glow of the forges on the port makes for quite an atmosphere!

On 5 and 6 August at the port of Granville. Free!

-Summer nights at Cabourg Hippodrome: With races, games and concerts taking place at the Hippodrome every Tuesday and Friday night throughout the summer holidays, it’s well worth spending an evening at the races! Children can also enjoy a whole host of activities including stable visits and photos with the horses.

On Tuesdays and Fridays in July and August. €17

-Late-night theatre at the Château Gratot: An open-air performance of Percival, Knight of the Grail which takes place against the atmospheric backdrop of the Château Gratot. The play follows Percival, a knight of the Round Table, on his quest to find the Grail.

On 25 and 26 July at 9:30pm. 12€

Fireworks

Everyone loves fireworks! The best time to watch a kaleidoscope of colour light up the night this summer is around Bastille Day on 14 July (France's national day), when fireworks will set off in villages, towns and cities all across the region:

-Auffay: 13 July at 10:30pm

-Aumale: 14 July at 11pm

-Cabourg: 15 July at 11pm

-Cany-Barville: 14 July at 11pm

-Deauville: 14 July at 11pm

-Dieppe: 13 July at 11pm

-Evreux: 13 July at 11pm

-Foucarmont: 13 July at 11pm

-Grandcamp-Maisy: 13 July at 11pm

-Gournay-en-Bray: 17 July

-Honfleur: 14 July

-Houlgate: 14 July at 10:30pm

-Le Tréport: 13 July at 11pm

-Neufchâtel-en-Bray: 14 July at 11pm

-Rouen: 14 July at 11pm

-Saint-Sever-Calvados: 13 July at 11pm

-Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives: 13 July

-Verneuil-sur-Avre: 13 July at 11pm

-Villers-sur-Mer: 14 July at 10:30pm

-Vire: 14 July at 11pm

-Yport: 14 July

-Yvetot: 13 July at 11:30pm