Categorized | Discover France, Normandy

A regional guide to Normandy

Posted on 25 June 2009 by Dan Johnson

For many, Normandy will forever be linked to events from World War II, and there are poignant reminders throughout the region. But a heavy history shouldn’t take away from Normandy as a fascinating holiday destination, with golden prairies and wooded valleys, hidden fishing ports and 600km of coastline. 

From the ultra-modern Le Tréport to the Mont-Saint-Michel, the Normandy coast exhibits an astonishing variety of landscapes.

Calvados
The sunny skies look down on Domaine de Litteau siblu parc, which is located in Calvados, in Basse Normandie (lower Normany). Calvados is know as the ‘milk-cart capital’ of France, and it’s a beautiful, rural region, famous for its milk, cream and cheeses, apple orchards and fishing ports, such as Port-en-Bessin, with its charming fish market.

And when in Rome… try the apple brandy that carries the region’s name, or enjoy a glass of refreshing cider. Pommeau is Normandy’s own ‘aperitif’ and is made from a mix of cider and calvados using time honoured recipes.

Angling and abbeys
Slightly further south are the gorges of the River Orne, in an area known as ‘Suisse Normande’, a must visit for lovers of mountain sports and fly fishing. Anglers will also enjoy the Etangs (ponds) of Planquery, which are home to giant trout.

The absolute must see of this part of France is Mont Saint Michel, a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, linked by a causeway to the coast of Normandy. Enjoy these stunning pictures of Mont St Michel from the photo-sharing website Flickr.

Normandy history
But of course, Normandy is know for its incredible history. Visit Grandcamp, Port-en-Bessin and Arromanches and the D-Day landing beach of Omaha, which offer reminders of World War II, as well as being outstanding locations for family visits. There’s a 27-hole golf course at Omaha beach, with reduced green fees and savings on coaching courses available to those staying at Domaine de Litteau.

Bayeux’s American war cemetery is a sombre memorial to the past, immaculately maintained. The medieval town boasts an incredible 11th century cathedral and the famous tapestry, which depicts William the Duke of Normandy conquering England. Bayeux is also home to a large market selling regional produce, which takes place a couple of days each week.

Arromanches is a beautiful seafront town that played a huge part in the D-day landings as an artificial port, remnants of which are still visible. The 360o cinema perched on the cliffs above Arromanches depicts Normandy as it is now and was during the war.

For those who want to delve deeper into Normandy’s past there are many tours based on famous events, including D-Day, the Battle of Normandy, and from the story of Easy Company, highlighted in the Band of Brothers books and TV programme.

Is there more you can add? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

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