Here are our top 10 reasons to visit the beautiful region of Normandy!
- The accessibility
Normandy is easily accessible. Brittany Ferries offer a range of daily sailings from Poole and Portsmouth into Cherbourg, Caen and Le Havre in Normandy. This means you can choose the routes and timings that work best for you and cut down on your driving time in France, ideal if you are travelling with small children and don’t want to spend a long time in the car. Travelling by ferry is also great for stocking up on French produce as there are no luggage restrictions!
Normandy is famous for its rich dairy produce and its cheese board is the one of the best in France! The best known cheese produced here is Camembert which comes from a small village of the same name in Orne with its own museum dedicated to this famous cheese! There are a huge variety of other cheese produced in Normandy that are well worth a try including Neufchâtel, Livarot and Pont-L’Evêque.
Apples are grown in abundance in Normandy and you will find many of the sweet dishes found here are based on apples including the delicious Tarte aux Pommes. Normandy boasts a wide range of apple products including cider, pommeau and calvados. Be sure to try a “Trou Normand”, a shot of calvados which is traditionally used to clear the palate between courses of rich Norman food.
- Le Mont St Michel
No trip to Normandy would be complete without a visit to Le Mont St Michel, the world famous island commune which is listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The bay of Mont St Michel has some of the biggest tidal variations in the world which create an ever-changing seascape providing stunning views as far as the eye can see. Be sure to visit Le Mont St Michel Abbey to see its stunning architecture and if you are lucky enough you may also see a service taking place.
Normandy has a wealth of history dating back to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings with the famous Bayeux Tapestry depicting the bloody battle and death of Kind Harold still on display in Bayeux. Normandy is also home to the D-Day landing beaches and there are many museums and memorials you can visit to remember the fallen servicemen and women of World War II including the Caen Memorial and the Bayeux Commonwealth Graves Cemetery – a very moving experience.
- The home of Impressionism
Normandy is considered the birthplace of Impressionism, with the art movement named after Claude Monet’s famous Impression sunrise painted in 1872 in Le Havre. Monet’s house and garden in Giverny is now a major tourist attraction with over 500,000 people visiting during the 7 months of the year that it’s open. Visit the pretty quayside town of Honfleur (birthplace of impressionist forerunner Eugene Boudin) or the stunning white cliffs of Etretat to see where these artists found their inspiration and or perhaps paint a masterpiece of your own.
Normandy is the ideal location for a family holiday with miles of sandy beaches to enjoy. Some of the best beaches for families are at Barnville-Carteret, Trouville or perhaps its upmarket neighbour Deauville which has been a favourite resort of Parisians for generations. Arromanches-les-Bains is also an ideal sandy beach for families, here you will also find a WWII Sherman tank perched on a ledge overlooking the seafront as a memorial to all the men that fought in and around Arromanches during the war.
Normandy is renowned for its unusual half-timbered cottages with thatched roofs that are seldom found in other regions of France mixed with a range of stunning medieval cathedrals and churches. Cities such as Caen and Le Havre have been extensively rebuilt after World War II and have their own unique architectural style which gives Normandy an interesting mix of structures contrasting the old with the new.
- Beautiful villages
Normandy is home to a plethora of picture perfect villages with their own unique style and charm, one of the best known is Honfleur, immediately recognisable by its tall narrow buildings and brightly coloured quayside. You will also find five of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France in Normandy; Barfleur, Beuvron-en-Auge, Le-Bec-Hellouin, Lyons-la-Foret and Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei, each of which are well worth a visit during your stay.
- The fabulous selection of Holiday Rentals!
Holiday France Direct has over 400 properties in Normandy available to rent for your next holiday in France, ranging from cosy cottages in the Norman countryside to stunning chateaux perfect for an extended family get-together. And, when you book with Holiday France Direct you get an amazing 20% off Brittany Ferries’ car and passenger fares with daily sailings to the ports of Caen, Cherbourg and Le Harve in Normandy.