About Normandy

WWII History

A major draw for tourists in recent years are the Normandy beaches, site of the D-Day landings in 1944 during and a crucial phase of WWII.

The main beaches to visit are still best known by their code names – Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Juno Beach, Gold Beach and Sword Beach. There are many museums and memorials along the coastline to spend time at, but some of the major ones to visit are the American Cemetery and Memorial near Colleville-sur-Mer, the D-Day museum in Arromanches and the Mémorial de Caen.

William & Richard

The other major period of history that has left its mark on Normandy is the reigns of William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart in the 10th and 13th centuries.

You can follow in William the Conqueror’s footsteps, visiting his birthplace at the château in Falaise and the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen which he founded in 1063 and was later buried in. Don’t miss the Bayeaux Tapestry displayed in a dedicated museum in the town of Bayeux which depicts the Norman invasion of 1066.

Harbours & Coast

The best ones to visit are Dieppe, the first seaside resort in France and a fashionable destination in the 19th century; Le Havre,  heavily bombed during WWII, has a number of interesting museums to visit; Honfleur with its beautiful colourful houses; Granville, especially in February with its eccentric carnival.

Deauville is an upmarket resort with a race track, casino and annual film festival that attracts Hollywood stars, and Trouville-sur-Mer with a large beach, lively town and a famous fish market.

Mont-Saint-Michel

A kilometre off the coast of Normandy, along the border with Brittany, is the iconic Mont-Saint-Michel. An UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of France’s most-visited attractions, Mont-Saint-Michel is a must-visit.

The Normandy coastline was a favourite with France’s Impressionist painters, particularly Étretatwhich has been depicted in many Monet paintings. Étretat is part of the Alabaster coast, known for its dramatic white cliffs.

Eats & Treats

Seafood is a popular local speciality in Normandy, particularly scallops and mussels. The main local drink is cider, made from the numerous orchards found in Normandy, which goes rather well with the other local speciality, cheese.

In fact, you will recognise a number of the town names in Normandy because you are used to finding them on your cheeseboard – Camembert, Livarot and Pont l’Evêque cheeses all originate from the towns of the same names. As well as cider, the local drink is calvados and apple brandy that originates from the department of Calvados (not difficult to see how it got its name!).

Walk, Cycle or Ride

The Normandy countryside is worth exploring whether you are on foot, on a bike or on horseback. Try the area known as Suisse Normandie in Calvados and Orne, a landscape hugely popular with hikers and horse riders. There are plenty of bridleways through the countryside to explore on horseback and if you are interested in horses pay a visit to the Haras du Pin stud farm in Saint-Lô. If you want to combine exploring and drinking then try following the cider route which covers a trail of 40 kilometres including villages and local producers.

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“The Highlight of our trip. Highly recommend, it is a wonderful, tranquil location… Just wish we could have stayed longer!”
Anita, TripAdvisor review
The huge open living room is a delight, comfortable and full of interest and books. Bedrooms are vast and wonderfully comfortable.
Guest, Alistair Sawdays
A wonderful, tranquil location, a few minutes of the town of Aunay-sur-Odon and within half an hour of the D-Day beaches.
Matt, TripAdvisor review
  • 4 double rooms, 1 twin room
  • Wifi in all rooms
  • Close to all Normandy sights and cities
  • Fine-dining by owner and chef Clive.
  • Large grounds to explore and relax in
  • 3hr30 from Calais | 2hr40 from Paris