Normandy is a region in Northern France. It has recently been united into one region, but until 2015 it was divided into two separate regions: Upper and Lower Normandy. To the southeast, the Normandy area borders on the Ile de France, the Paris region, and towns and villages in this area have developed due to their proximity to the capital.
Normandy is a prosperous agricultural area, specializing in dairy products, fruit (especially apples) and mixed farming. The most famous regional products are the cheese Camembert, and two drinks, Cider and Calvados, the spirit distilled from Cider. Normandy is also famous for its racehorses, and the region has many top breeding stables.
Normandy has many sights to take in, and it has something for everyone.
If you are interested in natural beauty and unique landscapes, Normandy has one sight you will definitely not want to miss: The White Cliffs and Arches in Etretat. Etretat is famous for its three natural arches and white chalk cliffs that tower high over the Atlantic Ocean. These natural wonders are freely accessible, as is the white pebble beach below. Claude Monet and other famous Impressionists frequently painted the arches and cliffs in the nineteenth century.
Another popular sight in Normand is Mont Saint Michel. It is the world famous medieval abbey built on a rock in the bay. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of France's most visited historic monuments.
Normandy is divided into five regions:
Calvados is a post-card-pretty town with lots of traditional maritime tradition and a lively university city and is also where you can explore the D-Day landing beaches.
Eure is where you will find Richard the Lionheart's castle, as well as Giverny with Monet's famous home and garden.
Manche is up near the English channel and is where you will find Mont St. Michel and Coutance's splendid cathedral.
Orne is where you will find the former lace capital on the edge of the pretty Ecouves Forest and the Fairy tail Chateau.
Seine-Maritime is a traditional harbor area with many restaurants and shops as well as a Medieval center.
There is plenty to do in Normandy. You can visit the landing sights of the D-day invasion, see the popular cemetery for the many soldiers who died, or take an all day tour to see all of the WWII historic sights.
Visit Giverny where you can see the home of the greatest Impressionist, Claude Monet, and the Giverny Museum of Impressionism - formerly the Museum of American art. There are also beautiful gardens to see in Giverny, so there's plenty to do here.
Visit the Historial Jeanne d'Arc where you can learn all about the heroine and the events that earned her fame as well as her condemnation. It is not really a museum, but is more of an immersive theatre experience where you walk through medieval corridors and watch (and hear via headphones) the dramatic retelling of Joan's visions, her victories, the trial that sealed her fate, and the mythologizing that followed in the years after her death.
Food and Dining
Normandy has many great options when it comes to food and dining. Its fine cheeses are one of the most popular foods of the area. But it is also world renowned for its quality apples, which many use to create Cider and Calvados, the more adult version of Cider. It is also popular for seafood dishes, due to its close proximity to the ocean.
There are a few dishes to watch for if you're in Normandy. They are traditional Normandy selections and are pretty popular in the area. One of these dishes is the Agneau de pre-sale, which is lamb from local hills covered by seawater. Another dish to look for is Teurgoule, which is a rice pudding made from full fat milk, flavored with cinnamon and baked in the bread oven. One other dish to watch for is Tripes a la mode de Caen, which is Caen-style tripe: Tripe braised in Cider and Calvados.
A few restaurants in Normandy to watch for include: Le Grand Sapin, which features a traditional Norman cuisine, La Pave d'Auge, which features some of the best dairy dishes in Normandy, and Le Pily which is a great option for seafood lovers.
Normandy is located close to Paris
, so the easiest way to get to the area is into the Paris international airport, or, for the western part of Normandy, flying into the Rennes airport is a good option.
There is a train from Paris into the Normandy region, so if you fly into Paris, there is easy access to the region. Many of the larger towns are connected by train, as well as bus, and there are also a few bus options into smaller towns and villages, but, if you want to be free to really see the most of Normandy, a rental car is your best option.