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