Top Reasons to Visit Normandy in 2014
Normandy is easily accessible by plane, train or car. The region is just a two hour drive from Paris and its airports, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly and many of the main cities are only one hour away by train. Whether visitors plan a dedicated trip to a particular site or wish to travel throughout the whole region, Normandy remains the ideal destination with a mixture of France’s best countryside, heritage, culture, food and entertainment.
Home to world famous sites: The Mont-Saint-Michel, the D-Day Beaches, the Bayeux Tapestry, the Rouen Cathedral and Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny.
And also UNESCO World Heritage Sites not to be missed:
- The Mont-Saint-Michel, rightly called "The Wonder of the Western World,” is an international place of pilgrimage as well as a major tourist center.
- Le Havre was the first city in Europe to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in the 1900s.
- The "City of the Dukes," Alençon, owes its international fame to its UNESCO-listed "Alençon needle-point lace"
- The Vauban Tower on Tatihou Island
- The medieval town of Bayeux, with its cobbled streets, many restaurants and museums, is also home to the world famous Bayeux Tapestry listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Normandy is the cradle of Impressionism
Inspired by the unique light, the beauty and the mystery of Normandy, Impressionist painters set up their easels along the Channel coast and the banks of the Seine, in Rouen's Old Town and Monet's private gardens in Giverny. The Impressionist movement is named after Claude Monet's Impression, sunrise painted in 1872 in Le Havre.Giverny, where Monet lived for many years, has become a very popular place to visit for art lovers. Click here for more information about Impressionism in Normandy.
Normandy’s Important History – The 70th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
Normandy is a land that has largely been influenced by the sea. Linked to an important history ranging from the Middle Ages to World War II, Normandy invites visitors to go back in time to retrace the footsteps of William the Conqueror and to walk along the D-Day Beaches, the coast of heroes.
From March to August 2014, Normandy will mobilize to honor the Allied Forces who, with great sacrifice, liberated Normandy, France and the rest of Europe. A host of events, shows and celebrations will be offered to allow each and every visitor to relive this crucial part of the end of the Second World War. Through showing, evoking and explaining, this cultural and festive program hopes to promote understanding and remembrance. Please consult the D-Day 70th Anniversary website for more information about this important commemoration.
The World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy
From August 23rd to September 7th, Normandy will welcome 1,000 horses and competitors from over 60 nations. 500,000 visitors are expected to come and watch the eight disciplines of the Games which include Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, Reining and Paradressage.Seven of the eight disciplines will be held in the host city of Caen within a short distance of the Games Village. Fans of the Endurance event will travel to the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel and the Cross of the Eventing discipline will be held at le Pin National Stud. There will also be a horse-ball competition in Saint-Lô at the national stud farm and a polo match at the seaside resort of Deauville.Please click here for more information about the World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
Normandy offers a wide selection of accommodations, from luxurious 5-star hotels to outstanding and charming establishments in unique settings. The luxury hotels as well as small family-run inns all have their own unique character. Normandy invites visitors to find out more about the outstanding hotels and restaurants in the region, all carefully selected to guarantee authentic local charm, a warm welcome and a great choice of top quality cuisine. Pease click here for more information about accomodations in Normandy.
Normandy is home to five of the Plus Beaux Villages all of which are exceptional villages in their own right.
- Barfleur: a picturesque fishing and yachting harbor, home to France’s second highest lighthouse, Gatteville
- Beuvron-en-Auge: on the cider route, in the Pays d’Auge, this village showcases typical Norman half-timbered houses and geraniums hanging from the balconies.
- Le Bec-Hellouin: this medieval and delightful small village nestled in a green valley with multi-colored half-timbered houses is home to the Bec Abbey built in the 11th century where Benedictine monks still live today.
- Lyons-la-Forêt: in the middle of one of the biggest beech forest lies a typical Norman village with half-timbered houses around a central square with its covered market.
- Saint-Cénéri-le-Gérei: in this village, the stone bridge over the river Sarthe leads to an 11th century Romanesque church with beautiful frescoes and a 15th century chapel
Parks and Gardens
Normandy boasts over 100 gardens open to the public, many of which host special activities and events to enjoy. In Normandy, the water, the light, the colors, the gentle landscape and the rich diversity of its heritage all lend themselves perfectly to the gardener’s art.
Visitors can find out more about these enchanting places here plus many more in the Parks and Gardens brochures edited by the Normandy Regional Tourist Board, which is free to download from www.normandy-tourism.org