• Mont-Saint-Michel

    A magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery

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  • Honfleur

    Ports don’t come any prettier than Honfleur on the Seine’s estuary.

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  • D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

    In World War 2 the liberation of Europe began on the Normandy Beaches on 6th June 1944.

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  • Cycling in Normandy

    Free spirits will love the green ways, quiet country roads and biking fun all over Normandy.

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Must-see sites

   
Le Havre

At the mouth of the Seine, the major port of Le Havre is a model of concrete grandeur. Devastated in World War II, with to the boldness of its reconstruction, it’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss Le Havre’s great waterside art museum, or the seaside pleasures of its marina and long pebble beach. And remember Le Havre is an important cross-Channel ferry port.

Honfleur

Ports don’t come any prettier than Honfleur on the Seine’s estuary. Glorious historic houses jostle for position on the quays, as do galleries and restaurants. Packed with cultural sights, Honfleur has a wealth of attractions to delight its many visitors.

Mont-Saint-Michel

A magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery, the Mont-Saint-Michel counts among France’s most stunning sights. For centuries one of Europe’s major pilgrimage destinations, this holy mount is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is its breathtaking bay.

Rouen

Rouen, stretching beside the Seine, is Normandy’s cultured, historic, gastronomic, vibrant capital. Monet’s canvases of the cathedral have made it the best-loved building in town, but many other glories stand out, including fine museums and the church dedicated to tragic visitor Joan of Arc.

Giverny

The dreamy water-lily ponds created by the supreme Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, gave him his greatest artistic inspiration and have made this little Seine-side village celebrated across the world. Also visit Monet’s other gardens, and his house, with many Japanese prints. In addition, the Giverny Musée des Impressionnismes spreads the artistic net wider.

Deauville

An internationally renowned resort, Deauville oozes style. Glamorous events abound, from prestigious horse races and polo to the annual Deauville American Film Festival. Golf and thalassotherapy sea-water pamperings are easily to hand. Enjoy the elegant hotels, boutiques and restaurants, not forgetting Deauville’s greatest pull, its magnificent beach.

Le Haras du Pin

The Haras du Pin is the oldest, most aristocratic, most striking national stud in France. Founded by Louis XIV, its bears the nickname of ‘the equestrian Versailles’ well. In its idyllic setting in southern Normandy, in a region renowned for its centuries-old horse-breeding traditions, the stud stages equine events.

Bayeux

Bayeux boasts a fabulous historic centre as well as its world-famous, UNESCO-listed tapestry depicting the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The city had the great good fortune to be swiftly liberated by the Allies in June 1944, but its war museum and British cemetery recall the sacrifices made in these parts.

Caen

Soaring church towers have embellished Caen’s skyline since William the Conqueror’s time. The castle, now home to major museums, was a key medieval Norman fort. In World War II, D-Day operations kicked off just down the Orne River, British airborne troops famously securing the vital Pegasus Bridge. Caen’s vast war museum is now also dedicated to peace, and the Orne used by yachts heading for Caen’s central marina and lively centre.

Etretat

Nature has carved fabulous shapes out of the white cliffs at Etretat. The extraordinary site drew Impressionist painters aplenty. The picturesque resort was also chosen as the setting for the stories of a favourite French children’s character, gentleman burglar Arsène Lupin. Another startling attraction is the cliff-top golf course.

La Suisse Normande

‘Norman Switzerland’ is not a mountainous area, but a delightful, steep, wildish stretch around the Orne Valley south of Caen. Here, go messing around in boats, hiking or rock-climbing, or simply marvel at the gorges from a gorgeous riverside restaurant terrace.

Château Gaillard

A medieval military masterpiece, Château Gaillard went up for Richard the Lionheart on chalk cliffs dominating a great meander in the Seine. The castle may be in ruins now, but the two fine villages below have developed down the centuries, merging into one to form Les Andelys.

Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

Cherbourg, one of France’s great Channel ports, is closely linked to French naval history, and to transatlantic adventures – the Titanic even made its final stop here on its fateful journey, as recalled at the Cité de la Mer, one of the port’s main tourist attractions.

Dieppe

With its deep harbour protected by white cliffs, Dieppe has long been a favourite for cross-Channel visitors. As to daring Dieppe sailors, they explored the globe. Learn about the town’s maritime connections up at the cliff-top castle, down at the Cité de la Mer, and in a theatre dedicated to the tragic Allied Dieppe Raid of 1942. For sheer pleasure, head for the beach, quays and restaurants.

Lisieux

The religious city of Lisieux draws vast numbers of Catholics. In fact, it is considered the second most important pilgrimage town in France, thanks to its 19th-century saint, Thérèse Martin. Thérèse’s fame also explains Lisieux’s extravagant 20th-century hillside basilica, outdoing the medieval cathedral.

Jumièges

Magnificent abbeys were built beside the Seine between Rouen and Le Havre in medieval times. None was more powerful than Jumièges. Its imposing ruins reflect the centuries when monks ruled life and spirituality along the majestically meandering Lower Seine.

Bagnoles-de-l'Orne

Built beside a romantic lake, hiding in magnificent forests, this charming thermal spa town nestles in the Normandie-Maine Regional Nature Park. With an elegant casino and racecourse as well as its renovated thermal spa centre, Bagnoles-de-l’Orne makes for a deeply relaxing break.

Alençon

Honoured by UNESCO, as well as by a museum in town, Alençon is particularly proud of its unique lace-making traditions… as it is of its many extraordinary women. The town has architectural highlights too as one-time capital of a little duchy and as historic capital of the southern Norman département of Orne.

The D-Day Landing Beaches

An amazing armada of Allied troops, British, American, Canadian and more, landed on Normandy’s beaches on 6th June 1944 to begin the liberation of Europe from years of Nazi occupation. The planners of this crucial event for European freedom codenamed it D-Day. Follow the Normandy coast, going from above Caen in the east to close to Sainte-Mère-Eglise in the west, to learn all about this most daring and world-changing of naval operations.

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