Normandy was named one of the best 19 destinations to visit in 2019 by Airbnb and a top 10 region in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019. The region has everything you could ever think of-seaside scenery, peaceful green landscapes, cathedrals, museums, vineyards, gardens, and lots of cheese-all wrapped up in a dreamy package. It’s no surprise this region inspired Monet.There’s nothing more that you can ask for!
Normandy is in the northwestern part of France, and it is divided into Haute- (Upper) Normandy and Basse-(Lower) Normandy. Rouen and Le Havre are part of Upper Normandy, and Alençon and Saint-Ceneri are part of Lower Normandy.
It’s easy accessible by train from Paris, and it’s definitely recommended to take some time to explore this part of the country! Don’t sleep on Normandy. Paris is one of the most stunning places you will ever see, but it’s equally magical to escape from a country’s biggest city and explore that country’s more rural parts. Normandy will deliver!
Vikings came to Normandy in the 800s, and Charles the Simple gave these Normans the region near Rouen. William the Conqueror was born in Normandy in 1028 and became the Duke of Normandy at eight years old. After being victorious in the Battle of Hastings, he ruled England.
During the Hundred Years War, French icon Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen and the French were victorious in 1450.
Monet, the famed Impressionist painter, painted Rouen’s cathedral in the 1800s.
Normandy suffered under Nazi occupation, and cities like Le Havre and Caen were bombed, causing innocent civilian deaths. Nazi-occupied France was liberated by the Allies after soldiers landed on Utah and Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944.
Normandy has a fascinating history, and you have the opportunity to visit sites that chronicle important historical stages. Marvel over Château de Falaise, never forget the courageous Allied soldiers when going to the Normandy beaches, and see the Rouen Cathedral. It’s all waiting for you here in Normandy.
Why You Should Visit
Normandy appeals to every type of traveler, so pick up your camera and start exploring.
I’ve mentioned above that Normandy is perfect for history lovers. Art lovers will be happy in the Caen Museum of Fine Arts and Alençon’s Museum of Fine Arts and Lace.
You don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy Normandy’s gastronomy. Indulge in cheese and see how the iconic Camembert cheese was created in the village of Camembert. The cider, wine, and seafood in Normandy are out of this world. France’s dairy selection is amazing and is a little different than the United States- French grocery stories have a whole aisle dedicated to just cheese and yogurt. Dairy in France is super fresh, and Normandy happens to produce A LOT of the country’s dairy! The fresh croissants and baguettes-along with other mouth-watering pastries in the cafes- are hard to beat.
Those who love the outdoors will feel right at home on the public beaches open for swimming. There are also opportunities for biking and horseback riding. There’s nothing like walking around in the gardens of Saint-Ceneri-voted the prettiest village in all of France-and having a picnic in Saint-Leonard du Bois. For those who relish peace and quiet, Normandy villages are for you.
Architecture lovers will love walking around the streets of Caen and Alençon. But in all honestly, you don’t have to be a certain type of traveler-or even a seasoned traveler-to fall in love with Normandy. Everyone will find it hard to believe that this is real life when they see the historical cities and ethereal villages. Wherever you choose to go, Normandy will uplift and relax your soul.