Guided walks to Mont Saint Michel. Photo: Calvados Tourisme

We highlight some of the more popular activities, attractions and places to visit in the Normandy region.

Related articles: Great Travel Destinations, Normandy for Everyone
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FESTIVALS

Medieval Festivals: Head to Bayeux in early July and Crèvecoeur-en-Auge in mid-August for jesters and jugglers, knights and medieval craftsmen.

HERITAGE BUILDINGS

Abbeys Route: Hug the Seine for romantic ruins like Jumièges and the gardens of Saint-Georges-de-Boscherville and find abbeys throughout the region at www.abbayes-normandes.com.

Falaise Castle: Classic Norman tower castle extensively and sympathetically restored on a rocky outcrop on the edge of Falaise. A must-see medieval site. Costumed guides and special events during  holiday periods. Website: www.chateauguillaume-leconquerant.fr

Jumièges Abbey in the Seine Valley. Photo: Calvados Tourisme

Château Gaillard: Built by Richard the Lionheart during his fight to maintain Normandy’s independence from France, this atmospheric ruin stands 100 metres above a bend in the Seine at Les Andelys. Website: www.lesandelys-tourisme.fr/en

Vendeuvre: Elegant 18th-century château near Falaise with original decoration and furniture; miniature furniture museum; dog kennel collection and extensive formal gardens with fountains and surprise water jets.

VISITOR ATTRACTIONS

Cité de la Mer: Excellent interactive museum to Man’s exploration of the deep in Cherbourg’s Art Deco Gare Maritime. Includes dry dock visit to Le Redoutable submarine and unique exhibition on the Titanic, which called here two days before it sank.

Haras du Pin. Photo: Calvados Tourisme

ANIMALS

Haras du Pin: A must for horselovers. One of the most impressive branches of the French national stud network, also known as the ‘Versailles of the Horse’, offering tours and summer shows. There is a smaller branch too at Saint-Lô.

Animal parks: If you have children or just love animals, drop into Normandy’s zoological parks. Websites: www.zoodejurques.fr, www.cerza.com and www.zoo-champrepus.com

NATURAL HERITAGE

The Suisse Normande: Book activities from kayaking to paragliding; download and discover the flora and fauna of Norman Switzerland at www.suisse-normande-tourisme.com (French only) or www.normandy-tourism.org

Bay of Mont Saint-Michel: Splashing through the shallows around Normandy’s most iconic landmark is unforgettable but must be done with a registered guide. Times vary daily with the tide. Choose your guide via www.ot-montsaintmichel.com

SPORTS AND OUTDOORS

Long-distance cycle trails: La Vélo Francette begins in Normandy, at Ouistreham, and passes through three regions to La Rochelle; Véloscenic links Mont-Saint-Michel and Paris via the Regional Nature Park of the Perche and Normandie-Maine.

TOURING

For organised tours and custom trips La Compagnie des Terroirs will help you discover local cider, Calvados and cheese producers to savour the real flavours of Normandy.

From France Today magazine

Touring through the Pays d’Auge. Photo: Calvados Tourisme

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