A Guide to Normandy: Everything You Need To Know
Apr 14, 2024

A Guide to Normandy: Everything You Need To Know

A Guide to Normandy: Everything You Need To Know
Julien Mainguy

French and based in Vancouver since 2014, Julien Mainguy is the co-founder of Best of France. Passionate about the cultural difference between Canada and Europe, he is leading numerous projects to create awareness, help people grow, and bring communities together.

Have you ever wanted to visit Normandy? As one of the most popular regions in France, Normandy is famous for its history, culture and architecture. You will also want to see its unique hills, footpaths, meandering rivers, and many kilometres of coastline.

Normandy's famous cliffs
Normandy's famous cliffs

Explore this diverse and beautiful region which was an inspiration for many painters and the site of the three-month battle during WWII that led to the liberation in 1944! Discover all the secrets Normandy has to offer, from its history to its famous residents, and make sure not to miss anything you need to know to appreciate this wonderful region!

A Region Full of History

Normandy has plenty of history and culture for exploration. One of Normandy's coastal cities, Le Havre, is known for being rebuilt so successfully after WWII that it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Notable activities in the city include the MuMa Museum (André Malraux Museum of Modern Art) and the Bains des Docks, a recently constructed swimming pool and spa with several large pools. Normandy will also amaze you with its ancient castles and manors throughout the region; there are many reasons why Normandy will continually surprise you.

Normandy was the setting of one of the most significant battles in modern history, which led to the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation in 1944. You can visit the Normandy beaches central to the allied invasion of Nazi-occupied territory in France during WWII. The battle was launched on June 6th, 1944 and was called 'Operation Overlord,' named after the Allies' lodgement as they arrived on the continent. Between 500.000 and 75.000 people are known to have lost their lives during the entire invasion. The Battle of Normandy is an event that will never be forgotten and is a testament to the courage of every person who fought in it. Many memorial buildings and cemeteries can be visited in the region.

You can also look back into time to experience what this area was like by going on a guided tour or a self-guided bike ride through Normandy to learn about its history and heritage. You will be surprised to discover the variety of tours to discover the region in authentic ways.

Explore Normandy's rich history by taking a tour of the iconic Mont Saint-Michel, France's only tidal island. The Mont Saint-Michel lies a kilometre away from the coast and has approximately 30 inhabitants. The island has consistently ranked as one of the best places to visit in France. You should also visit the village of Falaise, which was affected by heavy bombardment during World War II. Normandy has many hidden wonders waiting to be discovered. Whether you are interested in the area’s history or culture, Normandy offers plenty of reasons for a great visit.

Mont Saint-Michel

A Region Full of Beauty

Normandy is one of France's most beautiful regions, with hills and valleys explorable by foot or through country lanes that run through Normandy's countryside. Taking the car and getting lost on one of Normandy's many village roads may well be one of your most enjoyable moments there.

You can even go on bike rides along the paths near Le Havre, where fields meet expansive ocean views at every turn; it will take your breath away to explore this diverse landscape from coast to coast.

The Normandy coastline stretches hundreds of miles while inland rivers meander through verdant marshes and bare rock faces. Normandy also boasts spectacular meadows, forests, and fields of wildflowers. Normandy is an area where exploration will never cease to amaze you!

Normandy is made up of towns just waiting to be explored. From Isigny-Sur-Mer on the west coast, famous for its oyster farming heritage, Vernon on the Seine River featuring historic homes dating back centuries and Caen with its Norman-style churches and tiled roofs. Do not forget to visit Alençon, known for its lace-making tradition listed in Unesco's cultural heritage or Bayeux, where you can see a tapestry depicting the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Whatever it is that you like, these are only five recommendations, but Normandy is a place that has a little of something for everyone!

Enjoying the Normandy Region 

With its beautiful coastline views that give you a constant feeling of a holiday, you can have Normandy all to yourself. The region is a perfect place for those who want an immersive experience to inspire them. Normandy is famous for its rocky hills on its coast.

Normandy offers unforgettable moments for visitors by discovering of local cuisine in small villages surrounded by hillsides, by looking over apple trees blossoming during springtime and by watching how cheesemakers work their craft in the wintertime--and don't forget Normandy's famous Normandy butter! Famous Normandy cheeses include Camembert, Livarot, Brillat-Savarin and Neufchâtel. Wouldn't you want to taste a local cheese freshly from a French cheesemaker?

Normandy has been home to some famous people too, such as ex-president François Hollande, novelist Gustave Flaubert, Formula 1 racer Pierre Gasly and singer Edith Piaf. She used her voice to sing about France like no other artist. Edith Piaf is the author of the famous song 'La vie en rose.'

As Normandy is home to many different architectures, the region has lots for you to see. Normandy's history dates back centuries. One of the most popular destinations for Catholics is the medieval Basilica of Sainte-Thérèse in Lisieux.  This place is considered the second most important pilgrimage site in France and is known for its domed edifice close to 100 metres high. Normandy has churches from all eras (even those with a Romanesque style rarely found in France) as well as some lovely castles that date back to the middle ages. You can always find guided tours that will show you the best castles to visit in Normandy.

Castle in Normandy
Castle in Normandy

Normandy's cuisine

Normandy also boasts exceptional cuisine: Normandy butter is sweet but salty; Camembert cheese comes in styles mild or sharp depending on the season; calvados drinks come cold or hot after being heated over charcoal embers until their alcohol level reaches 60% and Normandy cider is sweet and fruity.

There also exist creamy foods like white buttercream or typical dishes like the crêpe Suzette. Normandy even has its variation of the baguette perfect for sandwiches, just in case you need a quick lunch. Normandy's food provides the perfect balance for your appetite.

Crêpe de Normandie
Crêpe de Normandie

Normandy also offers a unique selection of seafood to try. Normandy cream served with fresh fruit or Normandy butter on top of celery root soup; all these specialties are waiting for you to enjoy!

Normandy Cuisine has found success all over the world, and rightfully so. But there has never been a better place to eat a crêpe Suzette or drink calvados than in Normandy itself. The self-guided Calvados experience is the perfect place to bring your family or your colleagues.

Whether sooner or later, we hope to see you soon in Normandy.