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.
“Le Havre” means port or harbor in French, and it’s an apt name for this city on the Normandy coast. Second only to Marseille’s port in size, Le Havre sits on the Seine estuary and has a long and interesting maritime history.
Normandy is justly famous among travelers for its WWII history, and each year almost a million people visit the coast to pay homage to the Greatest Generation’s heroes. Outdoor fanatics enjoy everything from cycling to land sailing. And foodies come for the cheese, the cider, and the Cognac. But what about the art lovers among us? Is there enough art in Normandy to excite the imagination? Why yes, there is!
About halfway through a 10-day vacation to Paris, many people start getting… well, not antsy, but they have the lay of the land and often they get curious about what else this fabulous country has to offer. That’s why adding a day trip to Caen from Paris is a great idea for any itinerary.
Bayeux is not simply a place to lay your head in between touring WWII monuments and memorials. It’s a thriving town in its own right, with a wonderful sense of its own history and traditions, and never shy about making new ones as well. Here are some Bayeux festivals not to miss if you’re in the area during these times.