Green Travel Guide to Normandy, France
Written by Harriet O'Brien, Paul Bloomfield and Sarah Baxter
Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards
Foreword by Alison Weatherhead, UK & Ireland Marketing Manager, Normandy Tourist Board
My love affair with Normandy began just over twenty years ago when my husband and I moved to a bucolic corner of the southern Manche. This beautiful part of France is best known for William the Conqueror, the D-Day Landings, Monet’s water lilies and the Mont-Saint-Michel but if you head off the beaten track, there are lots of welcome surprises in store. As Normandy is just a stone’s throw from the south coast and 45 minutes by train from Paris, it is extremely easy to get here via ferry or train.
Cycling is a great way to get around and take in the sites and sounds of Normandy with greenways and quiet country roads in abundance. With 600km of coastline, you can take in picture perfect fishing villages, belle époque seaside resorts and dramatic landscapes far from the madding crowd.
And one of the real joys of Normandy is the excellent food and drink. Head to the nearest local market and picnic al fresco in the apple orchards on camembert and cider. Or relax and let someone else do the cooking at one of the many traditional bistros or michelin starred restaurants.
What our writers discovered in Normandy
French but not quite French, Normandy is a truly unique region, a place with its own distinctive character and flavour. Since the Viking ‘northmen’ invaded in the 9th century, the history of this area has been tumultuous, with evidence of key episodes (William the Conqueror’s campaigns; D-Day) still to be found in the Bayeux Tapestry and the landing beaches around Arromanches. The quieter moments in Normandy’s history are etched into the landscape, too: the abbey-island of Mont St-Michel, the countryside and gardens that inspired Monet, stately chateaus, farms and orchards tended as they have been for centuries. Visiting here provides an insight into Normandy’s heritage and culture, as well as some great places to stay and eat.
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our pick of places across Normandy
Google Map Key:
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Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat; Yellow = Attractions; Purple = Activities
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