When people think of the “beaches of Normandy,” it’s usually associated with the pivotal events of World War II. But although that era of history is understandably recognized with all the respect it deserves in the region, the fact is that Normandy was around long before the war, and is still thriving today. So if you have a visit to Normandy on your list of things to do during your next trip to France, don’t forget to take in the beautiful coastal villages of Normandy.
Rouen is a town made famous by the painter Claude Monet, and rightly so; his studies of the Cathedral of Rouen are beloved worldwide, and visitors come from near and far to see the majestic church he found so inspiring. But there is another attraction in Rouen that goes largely unnoticed, even though it is steps away from the train station and is arguably of more historical significance: the place where Joan of Arc was imprisoned and then burned at the stake.
A Normandy winter is not particularly harsh, although the weather can be fickle. However, unlike a major capital like Paris, the region does tend to close down during the winter months as far as tourists are concerned.
From before the days of William the Conqueror to the watershed events of WWII, Normandy has a long and fascinating history. In fact, some visitors find the idea of trying to pack in all the sights and monuments simply too overwhelming, and skip a trip to Normandy entirely.
Because of the popularity of the WWI monuments of the Normandy beaches combined with the paucity of vacation time of the typical visitor, much of the Normandy coast gets overlooked. And that’s a shame, because there are so many elegant villages in Normandy that have history, style, and are tons of fun for a day trip. Here are our picks – adjust your itinerary accordingly!
It can be a bit of a long day, and climbing up to the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is not for the faint of heart – literally. But if you’re going to be in Normandy and have extra time, I absolutely recommend, without hesitation, a Mont Saint Michel day trip from Bayeux.
Many visitors to France use the charming town of Bayeux as a base from which to explore the many WWII sites in Normandy. But the region around Bayeux offers up delightful surprises for the visitors as well, and are not nearly as crowded as, say, Versailles or Fontainebleau, even in the high season. A fine example of this is the Château de Balleroy.
Never heard of the Cotentin Peninsula? It played a major part in the Allies’ D-Day invasion of France, and today is the perfect mix of history and natural beauty that gives a vacation itinerary good geographical focus. And with the convenience of Bayeux as a base, you’re sure to have a relaxing time as well.