Updated on 21 January 2021
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2020 has been an unsettling and challenging year and we know that many of you have had to postpone your trip to Normandy. Nobody knows what the future will hold, but one thing’s for sure – we’ll be ready to welcome you back to this beautiful part of France as soon as you are ready and able to travel again. In the meantime, here are ten good reasons to visit Normandy in 2021:
1. it’s EASY TO GET TO
If you live in the UK, simply hop on the ferry and a few hours’ later you’ll be in Normandy. Our beautiful part of France boasts four ferry ports linking us to Portsmouth, Poole and Newhaven. You can travel in the comfort of your own car and enjoy lots of space and fresh air once on board! If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you can take your bike too.
If you’re travelling from the US or Canada, Normandy is just an hour’s drive from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. You can also catch a train from Paris Saint-Lazare station and 80 minutes later you’ll be in Rouen!
2. IT’S HOME TO France’s finest market
Last June, Dieppe’s famous Saturday-morning market was officially voted France’s finest market. Over a million people voted and Dieppe won by a landslide! Held every Saturday morning from 8am to 1pm, this market’s vast array of tempting treats, whether hoisted from the sea or harvested from the land, is an absolute must for any lover of fresh local produce. It’s only a mile away from the ferry terminal and the train station too!
3. It’s a foodie paradise
Normandy is a foodie treasure trove with its four emblematic cheeses – Camembert de Normandie, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont-L’Evêque – and apple-based drinks such as calvados, cider and pommeau. Seafood is plentiful, however if you prefer meat dishes, roasted salt-marsh lamb from around the Mont-Saint-Michel is a must. There are 28 Michelin-starred restaurants in Normandy, and many famous eateries such as La Couronne in Rouen, which is France’s oldest inn.
4. IT’S FULL OF NEW EXPERIENCES
Want to try something out of the ordinary? Take your pick from our unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences – a selection of sights and activities that are exclusively available in our region and which enable visitors from all over the world to experience Normandy to its full potential, and engage with local people, places and traditions.
5. IT’S HOME TO France’s favourite hiking trail
In November 2019, the GR21 hiking trail was voted the nation’s favourite walk. Among the nominees were eight of France’s most-loved hiking trails frequented by thousands of walkers all year round. Linking Le Tréport to Le Havre, the GR21 crosses a number of different landscapes and towns along the beautiful Alabaster Coast. Lace up those walking shoes and see for yourself!
6. IT’S THE PERFECT PLACE TO TAKE IT SLOW
All too often, travel involves rushing from one airport to the next, cramming in sight after sight, and keeping to a tightly-packed itinerary. In Normandy, you can take time to appreciate taking things slow, and go for quality over quantity. Cycling for instance is a great way of soaking up the local atmosphere and traditions and, with over 310 miles (500km) of greenways, you can combine fresh air with sightseeing. Saddle up and conquer Normandy on two wheels!
7. IT’S hosting the FINISH of the 2021 Fastnet Race (7-15 aUGUST)
For the very first time, the port town of Cherbourg will host the final stage of the Rolex Fastnet Race in August 2021. More than 400 boats will leave the port of Cowes on August 8th and follow a route finishing in Cherbourg located in the west of Normandy. With the town welcoming hundreds of sailors and promising a wealth of entertainment for its visitors, watching the finish of this popular ocean race looks set to be a real visual spectacle.
8. IT’S brimming with culture
2021 will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Gustave Flaubert, one of the major figures of French literature, who was born and spent most of his life in Normandy. Many events will take place across the region throughout the year to celebrate the life and work of the writer.
Normandy is of course the birthplace of Impressionism, and the inspiration for countless numbers of artists. Even if you missed the 2020 Normandy Impressionist Festival, you can still take time to explore all of the sites where the Impressionist painters set up their easels.
9. It’s GREAT to visit ALL YEAR ROUND
Explore Normandy’s major visitor attractions in the spring before the crowds arrive, make the most of our numerous outdoor events and light shows in the summer, visit our many mouth-watering food festivals in the autumn or, once winter hits, enjoy the magic of the festive season at one of our Christmas markets. There is always something going on in Normandy!
10. IT’S A land of peace, liberty and reconciliation
On 6 June 1944, Normandy became world famous for the part it played when Allied troops broke through Nazi defences to liberate occupied France in WWII. Today, Normandy has many sites, museums, monuments and events which commemorate this key period in modern history. In 2021, we’ll be celebrating the 77th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy with a varied programme of events, including the Normandy World Peace Forum and the opening of the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, which will both take place in June.