From the Gothic fortress-island that inspired locations in The Lord of the Rings, to 17th-century Honfleur and the D-Day beaches, Normandy is all about history. If you are a history buff, you know this already. If instead you were a traumatized student who hated battle names and dates, this is your chance to experience history right in the spot where it happened — and to discover the past is gone, but not dead. But Normandy is more than history. The landscape varies from empty, windswept sand beaches to majestic seaside cliffs and peaceful hedged fields and farms. Gastronomy and art are also present, and even fashion — did you know Christian Dior spent his childhood in Normandy?

Explore Normandy

The best entry point for Normandy from abroad is Paris, which offers the most flight connections. In Normandy, places worth visiting are not particularly close to each other, and traffic is significantly better than in the capital or in the Riviera, so it’s a good idea to rent a car in Paris and do a road trip in Normandy. Drive yourself if you like, but of course having a chauffeur will allow you to relax and better appreciate the landscape. If you prefer flying a private jet, you can go deeper into Normandy by using airports in Le Havre, Caen and Saint-Malo in neighbouring Brittany.

Climate & seasons

Unless you like cold and damp weather, you will want to avoid winter. Come in any other season and you may find rain, but will most likely have some sunshine as well. In summer it doesn’t really get hot — maximum temperatures are around 23°C — but many French feel it’s warm enough for basking on the shore and a dip in the sea.

Where to go

The most famous site in Normandy is probably the monastery-citadel of Mont Saint-Michel — it’s an unique architectural jewel, and definitely worth a visit. If you like military history, you will be awed to stand on the windswept D-Day beaches just north of Caen, and walk among the soldiers’ graves at the WWII cemeteries. At Bayeux the famous tapestry tells of history much more ancient, and in the streets of medieval Rouen your heart will weep for brave Joan of Arc. Maybe you are more into art than history, and in that case you will want to visit Monet’s garden in Giverny — if you decide for a road trip, this can be your first stop as you enter Normandy. If fashion is your thing, don’t miss Christian Dior’s childhood home in Granville. And whatever your preferences are, do check out Deauville, the premier seaside resort in the region.

What to do

Travel along the coast to discover the impressive Étretat cliffs, the secret haunt of fictional criminal Arsène Lupin. Then stand on the landing beaches where thousands of real-life soldiers fought and died so that Europe could be free, and pay your respects to their bravery in the cemeteries where their bodies were buried. Go back in time to the days of the Normans as you admire the scenes woven in the 68-metre long tapestry of Bayeux, then roam the medieval streets of Rouen and Harfleur. Tour Mont Saint-Michel, then hover above it in a helicopter. Meet farmers, and taste and learn all about camembert cheese.

EliteVoyage Hotel Collection in Normandy

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