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Normandy Travel Guide

Updated 18 May 2024 by Leyla Alyanak — Parisian by birth, Lyonnaise by adoption, historian by passion

Two back-to-back trips to Normandy in the space of a month made me fall in love with this region – and I have plenty of stories to tell, which I'll add below as I write them.

Next to Brittany and close enough to Paris for a weekend trip, Normandy has called people to it for centuries for its dramatic coastlines, profound history, and a delectable culinary scene. The Vikings may be long gone, but their presence is still here, subtly. 

Practical matters

  • Region: Normandy, France
  • Departments: Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne, Seine-Maritime
  • Best time to visit: Spring (April-May) or autumn (September-October) for pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Summer (June-August) is peak season with lively festivals and beach activities.

Map of Normandy

Must-see experiences in Normandy

  • D-Day Landing Beaches, and associated World War II memorials and museums, like the one in Caen
  • Medieval marvels like the towns of Bayeux (famous for the Bayeux Tapestry) and Rouen (Gothic cathedral)
  • Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a unique history
  • Rugged coastlines known for their beauty, great for hiking and sightseeing
  • Picturesque villages, harbor towns and historical homes
  • Swiss Normandy and its rolling hills, lush pastures, and traditional half-timbered houses
  • Enjoy the highlights of Impressionism, which was born here

The foods of Normandy

  • Fresh seafood takes center stage with specialties like moules (mussels) and oysters enjoyed in charming harbor towns along the coast
  • Normandy's four classified cheeses: Camembert, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont l'Évêque – all delicious!
  • Cider, the region's signature beverage, and Calvados, a powerful  apple brandy, best enjoyed as a digestif

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