When thinking of France, most people think immediately about Paris or Lyon, you must consider Normandy also on your France travel list. Normandy, France is a great place for activities such as horse riding, cycling, and walking. The mountains make it perfect for hill-walking trails with some wonderful views of the coastline.
Here’s a list of the 22 best things to do in Normandy, France.
- 1. Côte Fleurie
- 2. Barfleur
- 3. The Abbaye de Jumièges
- 4. The small village of Le Bec-Hellouin
- 5. Le Havre
- 6. Seaside Town of Trouville
- 7. Evreux
- 8. Dieppe
- 9. Arromanches D-Day Museum
- 10. The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy
- 11. Château de Caen
- 12. Château de Fontaine-Henry
- 13. Suisse Normande (Norman Switzerland)
- 14. Étretat
- 15. Fécamp
- 16. Giverny
- 17. Deauville
- 18. Omaha Beach Museum, Normandy
- 19. The Bayeux Tapestry
- 20. Coastal City of Honfleur, Normandy
- 21. Rouen – the Capital City of Normandy
- 22. Mont Saint-Michel
Best Things to do in Normandy, France 1-10
1. Côte Fleurie
The Côte Fleurie is in the Normandy region of France. It has incredible cliffs and beaches that are perfect for walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and sunbathing. Côte Fleurie is located in northern France between Cherbourg and Le Havre. From Paris, it takes about five hours to drive there.
Côte Fleurie beaches are clean and safe to swim on, but there can be strong undercurrents at times. There are also many rocky areas and a few historical sites to visit. The Côte Fleurie is a peaceful seaside location with a great deal of history, views, and activities. Visiting historic sights in the Côte Fleurie is a popular activity for visitors. The cliffs of the Côte Fleurie are up to 150 meters high. There are many coves on this coastline
Barfleur is a commune in the Manche department in north-western France. It is situated near the Cotentin Peninsula and La Hague, across the bay from Valognes.
The name Barfleur probably derives from Barba Fluvii which means ‘beard of the river’. The Norman port was sited as a shelter from the prevailing south-western winds, and the river that runs through it was ideal for loading and unloading vessels. A legend tells of a monk who came to Valognes in the 10th century after fleeing England with all his belongings on a wheelbarrow, which he then abandoned when he saw the rocky coast.
- The coat of arms of Barfleur is “Azure, a corsair’s head and bust proper.”
- Barfleur is the setting for Henry James’ novel The Princess Casamassima.
- The greatest ship that has ever been was made in Barfleur: la Normandie (1935). She was the world’s largest ship for 20 years, until the QE2 was built in Scotland (1967).
Barfleur can be reached by car or train. It is famous for its fine sand beaches which are considered to be some of the best quality in Europe (Les plages de sable fin de Barfleur…). There is also a campsite in the outskirts of Barfleur where visitors can relax and enjoy a mix of cultural events.
There is a variety of things to do in the city: walking around, going shopping for small gifts, eating in local restaurants run by locals with fresh produce from fishermen who have caught their catch earlier that day, etc.
3. The Abbaye de Jumièges
The Abbaye de Jumièges is a former Benedictine monastery located in the commune of Jumièges in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region. Today it is on the Unesco World Heritage Sites list.
The abbey was founded by Saint Philibert, abbot of Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme, in the early 7th century. It was built around the tomb of St. Philibert, who had been sent by Dagobert I to evangelize Normandy and died there on 22 August 640.
The abbey’s scriptorium soon became a renowned center of learning. It had a great library and scriptorium, which at the end of the 9th century was second only to that of the king. Among its most notable historical works was one by Adrevald, bishop of Avranches (died in 962), describing the French pallium; Saint Anselm’s biography of Saint Philibert; a life of the abbots Ermenfrid and Audoin, by Fulcoius, archdeacon of Angers (died in 1046); a history of Jumièges written about 1080 by an English monk named Richard; an anonymous history of Normandy written about 1075; and two catalogs of the library.
4. The small village of Le Bec-Hellouin
The small village of Le Bec-Hellouin (population: 201 ) is located in the Normandy region of France. Located about 40 km from Paris, the town is a popular destination for day-trippers and those looking to have a quiet moment away from it all. Le Bec-Hellouin is located in the Eure department and belongs to the Risle Valley Seine Normandie. It was established around 990 and celebrated its millennium in 1990.
Le Bec-Hellouin’s etymology comes from the two present cities: “Bec” (peak) and “Hellouin” (from the Norman “Helgi” which means “pretty, beautiful”). Inhabited since the Iron Age, Le Bec-Hellouin was a small hamlet that profited from agriculture. During the Middle Ages, it boomed when monks from Jumièges settled there in 1034. The abbey of Jumièges sent groups of monks to the hamlets of the region. The Abbey brought Le Bec-Hellouin its fame, which was confirmed in the middle when it built a new abbey in honor of Saint Martin.
The Normans destroyed this abbey during one of their numerous conquests around 990. Only ruins are left now. The construction of the abbey was continued by Bishop Fulbert of Chartres and Abbot Adam. Le Bec-Hellouin has a special place in history: It is believed that William the Conqueror, who would become Duke of Normandy and then King of England, was born here around 1028.
5. Le Havre
Le Havre is a major seaport in France. In this port city, there are many visitor activities to enjoy such as fishing tours, history museums, and restaurants. It can be reached from Paris within 2 hours by car or train.
How to reach there: Visitors going to Normandy France can reach Le Havre by car or train. By car, take the E15 highway from Paris. It is about 2 hours away. Then take the A131 highway to go to Le Havre. Visitors can also take the TGV train from Paris within about 2 hours to its final destination, the Le Havre train station.
Visitors can try fishing, history, and gastronomy activities in this port city. First of all, when in Normandy France, fishing is one of the best activities to engage in. Whether it is leisure or sport fishing, there are different kinds of fishing tours to choose from in Le Havre. For history lovers, there are plenty of museums in this port city. To name a few, there is the D-Day Landing Museum, the House of Honor and Memory of the Martyr’s Ghetto, a museum detailing WWII. As for restaurants, they are popular in Normandy France. There are several different types of restaurants to choose from such as Italian, French and even seafood ones.
6. Seaside Town of Trouville
Trouville is a seaside town in Normandy France. It is one of the two most popular destinations for tourists visiting nearby Paris, along with Deauville. It is situated on the coast of France, in the department of Seine-Maritime. Trouville is a city in Normandy, France, located on the English Channel at 47°57′48″N 0°45′49″W. The city is on the Normandy coast on the northwestern side on a peninsula at the mouth of the river Seine. Trouville is a popular tourist destination, and it has two golf courses. The population is about 9,309.
Trouville was founded in 1160 by the Viking, Wulflaf II. A castle was built on a rocky outcrop in the early 12th century. Trouville is accessible by car and bus, but there are no trains in the town. The closest train station is in Deauville. From Paris, it takes about two hours to get to Trouville by car.
Trouville’s economy relies largely on tourism. The city has about sixty hotels and large villas along the beach.
There are many activities to do in Trouville, including visiting the beaches, taking a boat ride on the river Seine, going shopping in Trouville, and going to one of the many restaurants in town. People can also go hiking on the cliffs along the English Channel, go to an amusement park called La Tete en L’Air Trouville, and go horseback riding.
Evreux is a commune in the Eure department of Normandy. It’s also its capital city. It’s located on the river Évreux, and the city is populated by 50,545 as of 2014. Every summer, there’s a music festival called Evreux Jazz Festival. It attracts many musicians and people from all over the world to France too.
Evreux is less than an hour away from Paris. The town is a good place for cyclists too because there are some biking trails that can be used to get around the city and the countryside as well as a small forest located near the city center.
The most important bridge in Evreux is called the Pont Gustave-Flaubert . It was built in 1885. This bridge has a high arch so that ships can pass under it easily.
People who want to go to Evreux from Paris can take a TGV to the Evreux-Valdahon station. From there, it’s an hour away by bus or train.
The closest airport is Paris-Orly which is 70 km from Evreux. Visitors would need to rent a car at this point in order to get around easily and visit all the landmarks around the city. It would only take less than an hour to get there by car, while it might be longer if visitors rely on public transport.
Evreux is great for people who want to relax in nature while still being near Paris and other places of interest in France. It’s also a decent biking trail around the town! Visitors can also explore the city walking because it’s not very big. Evreux will be a good place to visit for people who want to experience the French culture and traditions up close!
Dieppe in Normandy France is a popular seaside port. It is situated on the English Channel and has a population of over 40,000 people. Dieppe has been well-loved for its sandy beaches and resorts since 1824 when Empress Josephine visited there with Napoleon Bonaparte. The town itself was known to be inhabited as early as the time of the Celts in 600 BC.
How to reach Dieppe
Dieppe is very well connected through road, rail, and air travel. The town serves as a crossroads between Paris, London, and the Normandy region of France. The railway station Gare de Dieppe is also on a direct line that connects the resort to a number of other towns and cities in the region. The nearest airport is situated 39 km away from Dieppe at Le Havre and the Ferry Port of Newhaven is just 50 kilometers from Dieppe.
The other popular means of travel to reach there are by road as well as by sea. There are many buses, coaches, and trains that connect Dieppe to the major cities in France, England, and Belgium.
Dieppe is only a 40-minute car ride from Paris by route A13 which also connects it with Rouen. The other towns in Normandy such as Etretat, Fecamp, and Mont-Saint-Michel can be reached through RN 13 or N 27.
Activities to do as a visitor
One of the most popular activities in Dieppe is to soak up the sun on the beach. The town has two popular beaches, one at St-Aubin-sur-Mer and the other at Toutainville. Deauville is only a ten-minute drive to the west of Dieppe and here one can do watersports such as surfing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding.
There are a number of museums and cultural sites to visit in Dieppe as the town has a rich history. The Palais des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle has a collection of art and historical items on display. The old harbor is a popular spot for visitors to take a boat tour around the coast. The old Dieppe fishing docks are also an attraction during low tide as visitors can see the remains of a Roman port that was discovered recently.
Dieppe is a historically important town that has seen many invasions over the centuries. The present-day Dieppe owes its existence to the treaty of Bapaume in 1818. This was when King Louis XVIII gave the town its present name and allowed it to start rebuilding its harbor and other public buildings.
Dieppe is a popular fishing port for an array of fishes such as sole, sea bass, turbot, sea bream, and mackerel. The town is, therefore, a popular destination for seafood lovers from all over the world.
9. Arromanches D-Day Museum
Arromanches D-Day Museum is a museum built in the shape of an old German bunker. It opened in 2000 and replaced the earlier museum in Port en Bessin which had been established by veterans. The museum is about the WWII Allied landings at Normandy and it is located in Arromanches France. Arromanches D-Day Museum is an official museum of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and was established by veterans as a private initiative in 1989. Arromanches D-Day Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of amphibious operations at Normandy and better known as Operation Overlord. Visitors to Arromanches D-Day Museum can engage in a number of activities, including visiting the photo exhibitions, viewing films, or playing war games. Arromanches D-Day Museum is not difficult to reach by car or bus from nearby towns like Caen.
- Arromanches D-Day Museum is an old German bunker in Normandy France, converted to a museum.
- The Arromanches D-Day Museum is an official museum of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- The Arromanches D-Day Museum is two kilometers south of the modern port city of Arromanches and in 2013 was the location of a temporary memorial with hundreds of small crosses in the sand, each representing a fallen soldier of the Normandy invasion.
- The Arromanches D-Day Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of amphibious operations at Normandy and better known as Operation Overlord. It opened in 2000, replacing the former museum at Port en Bessin which was established by veterans as a private initiative in 1989.
- The museum covers the history of the World War II Allied landings and subsequent liberation of German-occupied France, as well as the earlier Operation Torch landings in North Africa.
- Arromanches D-Day Museum is not difficult to reach by car or bus from nearby towns like Caen.
- Visitors to Arromanches D-Day Museum can engage in a number of activities at the museum.
10. The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy
The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy tells the story of the Battle of Normandy, including D-Day and the ensuing weeks. The museum is located in Bayeux in Normandy, France. The museum is centered on the objects and testimonies of men who fought during the Battle of Normandy.
The Battle of Normandy was a major military operation commanded by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) that started on June 6, 1944.
The museum is housed in two buildings, which are joined by a central exhibition hall. The main building was built in the 1930s as a memorial to the dead of World War I. It was remodeled as a museum to exhibit objects from World War II, including an armored vehicle and a glider. The memorial museum of the Battle of Normandy is a good activity to do as a visitor.
- The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy is split into two buildings, both located in Bayeux, France.
- The official address of the memorial museum of the Battle of Normandy is 51 rue Georges Politzer, 14400 Bayeux.
- The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy was built in the 1930s as a memorial to World War I.
- The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy houses over 6,000 artifacts related to the Battle of Normandy.
- It is open daily between 9:00 AM and 6:30 PM (from 1/3 to 31/5) and between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM (from 1/6 to 30/9).
- The museum is closed on public holidays.
How to reach there: Travelers can take a train from Paris to Bayeux, which takes about 90 minutes and costs around 35 Euros. The train station in Bayeux is located about 1/2 mile from the museum.
What to do as a visitor: As a visitor to the museum, there are guided tours of the grounds in French and English available. Visitors can also see exhibitions, which show artifacts related to World War II. Exhibitions are also available to see in English, German, Spanish, Polish, and Japanese. There are also activities for children.
Best Things to do in Normandy, France 11-20
11. Château de Caen
One of the most prominent tourist attractions in Normandy is Château de Caen. The castle sits on a hill overlooking the city of Caen. It is one of the most impressive castles in France. Many think it is better than even the Château de Versailles because of its relative seclusion and beautiful location in Normandy. Château de Caen was the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It is located on the edge of a cliff, with the valley below filled with green grass and running brooks. The hill where Château de Caen is located was inhabited in ancient times. A Gallo-Roman fortress stood there until the 3rd century when it was abandoned. Then, in 1060, a monastery was built at the site by William the Conqueror. In 1066, after having been crowned King of England, he returned to Normandy and instructed his half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, to build a fortress on the site.
The château was damaged in 1124 when Henry I of England attacked Normandy. Further damage was inflicted during the Hundred Years War. It was completely restored at the end of the 15th century by Georges d’Amboise, Bishop of Avranches and Archbishop of Rouen. Georges d’Amboise modernized the castle with Italianate features such as castellation and ordered the construction of a moat.
The château was later attacked by Protestants in 1562 and again in 1639 when it was besieged by the French army. It was converted into a barracks during the 18th century and used as a military prison by Napoleon Bonaparte. It was returned to the family of its original builder in 1816 when it was purchased by Marie-Gabriel-Florent-Auguste de Choiseul, Duc de Dino. The château remained in his family until 1870 when it was passed on to his daughter who married into the House of Savoy. Then in 1910, the castle was purchased by the Comte Léon de Laborde who restored it.
The Château de Caen has a horseshoe shape and four large towers which overlook a central courtyard with a square fountain in it. The moat is now dry but used to be filled with water from the River Orne, which flows nearby. The château also has an Italian garden filled with fountains, which was built in 1810.
Things to Do in Château de Caen
This castle is a popular tourist site in France and is visited by thousands. Many people come to explore the history of this architecture and take pictures of the prominent towers which can be seen from miles away. Activities for visitors include visiting the museum (which has artifacts dating back to the 14th century), touring the historic rooms, and exploring the surrounding park.
The château has also been used as a location for films including ‘A Very Long Engagement,’ ‘Les Misérables,’ and ‘Evil Under the Sun.’ The castle also offers a medieval adventure park, which is a large area filled with activities meant to entertain children aged 3-10.
Château de Caen is located outside of the city of Caen on a hill overlooking the city. It is open year-round, except for the first of January and December 25th. Admission prices are €12 for adults, €8 for students and €7 for children. The adventure park is open from May 1 to September 30 and costs €17.50 per person. There is a special discount rate of €33 for the adventure park and castle combined. The Château de Caen is such an important piece of architecture that it was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
12. Château de Fontaine-Henry
Facts about Château de Fontaine-Henry in Normandy France
- The Château de Fontaine-Henry is located in the town Fontaine-Henry in Normandy France.
- It was built between 1550 and 1559.
- The Château de Fontaine-Henry is home to a collection of tapestries which were commissioned by King Francis I of France.
How to reach there and what activities to do as a visitor
By car: Château de Fontaine-Henry is located 1000km from Paris by car.
Activities to do as a visitor
As a visitor, you can visit the Château de Fontaine-Henry’s gardens, park and museum.
13. Suisse Normande (Norman Switzerland)
Suisse Normande (Norman Switzerland) is a small region on the northwestern side of France. It is located in Upper Normandy and borders Brittany. Although is it called ‘Suisse Normande’, its topography looks nothing like Switzerland.
Suisse Normande stretches across only about one hundred square kilometers and has a population of only about 15,000 people. It is quite popular with tourists who come to enjoy its beautiful countryside, appreciate some of the best dairy products in France, and hike on some of the most breathtaking trails in Western Europe.
Suisse Normande is a great region for hiking, cycling, climbing, and many other outdoor activities. It is a perfect destination for those who love being in nature and getting away from the busy life of large cities. Suisse Normande is also famous for its local products, especially cheeses with unique flavors.
The main town is called Lisieux, which used to be the capital of the region during the Middle Ages. Today it is one of Normandy’s most important cultural hotspots, with a university and many other schools. It is also the birthplace of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux, a French saint who has recently been canonized.
Suisse Normande is easily accessible by car, bus, or train. Getting to and from Paris only takes about one hour by train or bus.
The commune of Étretat is in the Seine-Maritime department of Normandy, France. It is located about 129 miles northwest of Paris. The commune of Étretat covers a surface area of about 5.18 square miles with a population of 9,328 people.
Étretat is one of the most photographed coastal areas in France. Le Coquillage (the shell) is the symbol of Étretat.
Étretat is a popular tourist spot in France and there are many activities you can do as a visitor. Étretat is also known for its natural limestone cliffs that are 30 meters tall.
The town is most famous for its spectacular natural limestone arch and the two natural arches known as Génie (the genius) and Venus, which are located on the outside wall of the Étretat Church.
Étretat was once considered too small for tourism and that is why Paris was originally considered as the tourist destination. However, due to Étretat’s beauty of its coastline and its architecture, the town was eventually got publicity and became a major tourist attraction in France.
Étretat is also famous for its fresh seafood. The town is known for its fresh seafood especially oysters, scallops, and lobsters taken from the rich sea bed of Le Havre and Fécamp. You can buy fresh seafood from the central market and enjoy them at one of the many restaurants nearby.
To get to Étretat, you can take a TGV train from Paris Saint Lazare Station to Le Havre. From there, you can take a bus or taxi to Étretat.
Fécamp is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France. It is a subprefecture of the department. It is situated at the mouth of the River Seine and lies on the coast to the southwest of Le Havre. The inhabitants of the town of Fécamp are known as Fécampais. Fécamp was the capital of the Merovingian/Frankish dynasties. Since it is in Normandy, Fécamp has some beautiful beaches.
Fécamp is in France (GMT+1). By virtue of the fact that it is in the same time zone as most of the United Kingdom, France is an excellent holiday destination for British citizens. It also means that visitors to Fécamp will be able to enjoy the city without any jet lag.
The town of Fécamp is easily reached with direct trains running to Paris, Le Havre, and Rouen. There are also flights to Le Havre from Paris.
Fishing is very popular in Fécamp, with many fish markets around the area selling fresh catches for people to cook at home.
Giverny is a little town in the heart of Normandy, France. It is famous for being the place where Claude Monet spent most part of his life. Monet was a French impressionistic painter, and he liked to paint water lilies gardens. This is why Giverny became his favorite location for painting, and today it is the place where his home and garden have been turned into a museum.
Giverny has beautiful landscapes, different styles of houses and is also famous for its traditional franc-manger. Monet’s Garden can be reached by car or bus, and there is also a train station in Vernon, which is only 8km away.
There are a lot of activities to do as a visitor: explore the garden, admire Monet’s house and its water lilies paintings, visit the gift shop and the museum shop. The most interesting for those who really like arts is the possibility to attend the temporary expositions which are usually held in the summertime.
There are also a lot of events organized by volunteers who work with the museum, so you can participate in some workshops or discover more about Monet’s life through thematic tours. If you are fond of music, you might enjoy the jazz festival which is held in Giverny every year since 2003. In summer there are a lot of festivals and events, but if you want to enjoy the beauty of Giverny in winter, it is still possible. The garden is illuminated at night, so you can admire it in a different way.
There are many hotels in the surroundings of Giverny, but if you want to stay in a beautiful place, I suggest you consider the Hotel Manoir du Casino. The interior is very nice and it has a lovely green garden.
Deauville is a very popular destination in Normandy France, located on the north coast of the country. It is known for its wide, sandy beach and its horse racing track. Deauville is a popular travel destination because it has a wide, sandy beach and a horse racing track. The beach is routinely named one of the best beaches in France. It is home to several tournaments, like the World Superbike Championship and the Tour de France.
Deauville is located on France’s north coast and reaches Normandy place between the River Touques and River Dives. It is neighbored by Trouville-sur-Mer, which is only a one-hour train ride away.
Deauville is reachable by train, car, or bus. From there, visitors can take a bus to the center of town, which is only a few blocks from the beach. A popular activity in Deauville is horseback riding along the beaches, which are located near the center of town.
18. Omaha Beach Museum, Normandy
One of the most recognized beach landings during World War II was Omaha Beach, Normandy France. The coastline at this location is an area where parts of the Allied invasion of Europe took place on June 6, 1944. This day would go down in history as one of the most important battles during World War II. Today, Omaha Beach is home to many World War II memorials, museums, monuments, and cemeteries which serve as a reminder of the historic events that occurred on this day.
The Battle of Normandy ended with Allied victory over Nazi Germany. The successful amphibious landings initiated the Allied liberation of Western Europe. Code-named Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, the landings involved more than 156,000 troops crossing the English Channel on 6 June 1944. The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history, with nearly 5,000 landings and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers.
The Omaha Beach Museum is dedicated to the Battle of Normandy and its history as well as the history of Omaha Beach. The museum is located in the town of Colleville-sur-Mer, just a few meters away from the Omaha Beach memorial. The museum is also near the American cemetery of St Laurent, which overlooks Omaha Beach with its 9387 gravesites filled with American soldiers. The museum’s guide speaks fluent English and is available to share his knowledge about the museum, Omaha Beach, and the D-Day landings. There are many items that can be found in the museum, which include weapons, uniforms, and war equipment.
Many activities are available for visitors while visiting the Omaha Beach Museum. You can see a 15-minute film about Normandy and World War II. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase a variety of souvenirs related to the museum’s history. Visitors can also walk through a replica of a bunker and a World War II beach hut that shows what life was like during that time. You can read a variety of books about Omaha Beach and World War II, as well as see the museum’s propaganda posters. You can also see an American landing barge that is on display outside, as well as read the various names of the soldiers who are remembered on the monuments.
The museum first opened in 1994, at which time it contained only a few items to showcase.
19. The Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry is a very old embroidery from the 11th century. It depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
The tapestry is 230 feet long and is believed to have been commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother, for the opening of Bayeux Cathedral in 1077. It tells the story up to the events immediately before William is crowned, and appears to have been designed so that viewers would understand the background to the events depicted. It is not clear if it was ever used for its intended function, but it certainly formed a model for later embroideries depicting the life of Jesus.
- King Edward the Confessor dies on 5 January 1066 without an heir, throwing the English succession into doubt. Earl Harold Godwinson is the most powerful noble in England and is crowned king, but Duke William II of Normandy also claims the throne. Threatened by William’s growing power, Harold turns to the King of Norway for support, but with little success. The Norwegian king is fighting his own battles against the Viking king Harald Hardrada of Norway, and they offer only a meager force of around 300 men to fight alongside Harold’s forces.
- Harold’s troops defeat the invading Harald Hardrada and his Norwegian army at Stamford Bridge, near York. However, Harold has to march quickly south to meet William, who has landed in Sussex with 7,000 men. Harold defeats the invading Norman army at the Battle of Hastings. Harold is killed, and William marches on London. After harrying the south-east of England, he eventually gains control of the capital, crowned as King of England on Christmas Day.
20. Coastal City of Honfleur, Normandy
Honfleur is a coastal city in Normandy, France. It is located on the northern bank of the estuary of the Seine across from le Havre. The town is in the Pays d’Auge, of which it is a subprefecture. Honfleur is the second largest city of the Seine-Maritime department, after Le Havre and before Deauville. The town was founded around 1000 AD by the Duke of Normandy, Richard II, who built a castle in Honfleur.
Honfleur is a popular tourist destination both in summer and winter, as it is located only 35 kilometers from the busy tourist destination of Deauville. Honfleur is best known for its old, beautiful picturesque port, characterized by its houses with slate-covered frontage built of brick and flint.
The city is a subprefecture of the Seine-Maritime department. It is the seat of the arrondissement and of the canton of Honfleur. The subprefecture extends over 515 hectares and is the third-largest commune of the Seine-Maritime department. Honfleur is, from the very early days of its history, a port. The natural harbor formed by the estuary of the Seine on the Sainte-Honorine island has been in use since antiquity.
The population of 25,265 inhabitants (on 1 January 2013) is mainly formed by commuters, attracted by the dynamism of the local economy and its shops.
Honfleur was a cathedral city until 1802 when the bishopric of the region was transferred to Le Havre. Today, Saint-Romain’s church, still standing on the square in front of the Honfleur town hall, attracts numerous tourists. The 15th-century building was originally a market hall, then a tobacco warehouse from 1889 to 1901. The 15th-century belfry facing the cathedral was built as a grain tower.
Honfleur is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a small medieval port”. The 17th-century playwright Pierre de Marivaux and the 19th-century composer Camille Saint-Saëns were born and grew up in Honfleur.
Best Things to do in Normandy, France 21 and beyond
21. Rouen – the Capital City of Normandy
While Rouen is the capital city of Normandy France, when someone says ‘Norm andy’ in France, they are most likely referring to the northern region and not the capital.
Rouen is a historic town located in Normandy France just north of Paris. There are many day trips from Rouen that can be done through car, shuttle, or train.
One of the many day trips that are possible from Rouen is to visit some of the beaches of Normandy. The seaside town of Deauville is an hour away from Rouen by train and offers several beaches to enjoy the water, patisseries and of course, gambling.
Another great day trip is visiting Le Havre which is about an hour and a half by train and bus. Le Havre has the second largest port in France and has an amazing museum called The Oceanographic Museum of Le Havre. This museum is an aquarium and museum all in one which displays many marine animals, such as manta rays and sharks. They also have a 4-D movie theater and Planetarium!
Thirdly, Rouen itself is quite interesting. The capital of Normandy has many religious structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral, Basilica of Saint-Ouen, and the Sainte-Trinité church. However, the most impressive of all is the Rouen Cathedral which is part of one of France’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Fourthly, Rouen is famous for its gastronomy. It has some of the best eats in all of France including galettes, crêpes and of course, Normandy butter!
Fifthly, Rouen is home to the Rouen Faucons team in Ligue 2. Rouen Faucons play in the Stade Robert Diochon.
Lastly, Rouen is home to some very prestigious artists and writers, such as Gustave Flaubert, who wrote the book ‘Madame Bovary’ and is also honored with a statue in the center of town.
Rouen is easily accessible by car or shuttle and offers many day trip opportunities for those looking to get out and enjoy this historic town.
22. Mont Saint-Michel
We all know that Normandy is a place in France, but did you know that Mont Saint-Michel is also located in Normandy? Although the area around Mont Saint-Michel is lovely in itself, the main attraction here is of course the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey and Mont Saint-Michel Monastery. This marvelous sight of an island is accessible by foot or with your car, but more on that later.
First of all, it is important to know that if you plan to visit Mont Saint-Michel, then it is best to do so during the day. This majestic site is best seen during the daylight hours when it is fully lit up. It is very pretty at night too of course, but it lacks the full impact of seeing it during the day.
The Mont Saint-Michel Monastery is amazing to see, but what’s even more lovely are the stores and restaurants that can be found around the area. The bridge to cross onto the island is very old, so finding accommodations on Mont Saint-Michel itself may be tough, but it is definitely possible.
Getting to Mont Saint-Michel is not too difficult either. The bridge that is used to get on the island has been there since 1879, so it is very sturdy and safe unlike old bridges in other parts of Europe. Although the bridge is modern, it is still very nice to view.
It can take around an hour or so to get here from Paris, especially during rush hour. If you have a car, then it’s very simple to get here from Paris as you can just follow the signs for Mont Saint-Michel and cut right onto the bridge that gets you to this lovely island.
Out of the list of the Best Things To Do in Normandy, France, you can pick and choose which ones you want to cover depending on your preferences and how much time you have available on hand. We’d recommend doing all of them!
Normandy is a beautiful region of France with so much to offer. Do not ignore Normany when planning a trip to France. You won’t regret adding these locations to your itinerary!
- Paris: 41 Best Things To Do in Paris – The City of Lights
- Nice: 20 Best Things to do in Nice, France
- Normandy: Ignore These 22 Best Things to do in Normandy, France at Your Own Peril
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Note: The hours of operation, ticket prices, and admission criteria of museums, parks, etc. may change from time to time. For the most updated information, we recommend checking the official website of the attraction directly prior to your planned visit.
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