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Visit Normandy - guide to emblematic places and sites

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May 15, 2024


Visit Normandy – guide to emblematic places and sites


Visiting Normandy, nestled in the northwest of France, allows you to discover the perfect sanctuary for those who cherish nature, culture and the pleasures of the table. With its diverse landscapes combining sea, countryside, cliffs and hedgerows, not to mention its forests and marshes, this region promises a unique visual and sensory experience. Its rich historical heritage, ranging from crucial episodes of the Second World War – including the Allied landings and the liberation of France – to medieval times with figures such as William the Conqueror and achievements such as the Bayeux Tapestry, makes Normandy an open-air history book.

Mont-Saint-Michel, a masterpiece of religious architecture and the pride of Normandy, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, reflecting the grandeur of the region.

This guide offers a panorama of Normandy’s gems, ranging from renowned pearls such as Honfleur, Deauville, Etretat, the Caen Memorial and the D-Day landing beaches to hidden treasures such as the Pays d’Auge, Suisse Normande, the Cotentin and the Channel Islands. Tips for preparing your getaway, from choosing accommodation to developing your itinerary, are also shared. Ready to explore Normandy?

Let us guide you!

Visit Normandy, between historical heritage and natural wonders

Normandy is distinguished not only by its picturesque beaches and towns, but also by a wealth of remarkable sites, marked by history and endowed with exceptional natural beauty. Discover three emblematic destinations in Normandy below, inviting you on a journey through time and space.

Mont-Saint-Michel: a majestic must-see

Emblem of Normandy, Mont-Saint-Michel is revealed in the heart of a bay recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, evoking a mystical island during the tides, dominated by an ancestral abbey. This historic place is steeped in spirituality and legends, captivating millions of visitors from all over the world every year. Explore it on foot along the ramparts path or through a guided crossing of the bay at low tide.

Admire its remarkable architecture, a harmonious blend of Romanesque, Gothic and classical styles, and discover the museums that tell the story of the Mount and its inhabitants. Don’t miss the breathtaking view from its summit, offering a panorama of the bay and its spectacular tides, among the highest in Europe.

The D-Day Landing Beaches: immersion in world history

A major memorial site, the D-Day Landing Beaches underline the crucial importance of Normandy in the liberation of France and Europe during the Second World War. On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops stormed the Normandy coast, marking the beginning of Operation Overlord and a turning point in the conflict. Visit these historic beaches, as well as the many memorials, museums, cemeteries, and fortifications that honor them, to honor the memory of the fallen heroes for freedom and to grasp the full significance of this historic event.

The Alabaster Coast and its cliffs of Étretat: a living canvas

Named for the white sheen of its chalk cliffs, the Alabaster Coast stretches for 130 km, offering stunning landscapes that have inspired many artists, including renowned Impressionist painters. The cliffs of Étretat, known for their impressive shapes, such as the famous Porte d’Aval, continue to feed the collective imagination with legends, including the treasure of the kings of France, immortalised by Maurice Leblanc and his famous character Arsène Lupin.

Come and admire these cliffs from the beach or the paths with spectacular views, and let yourself be enchanted by the natural majesty of this unique place in the world.

Discover the cultural heart of Normandy

Normandy, known for its breathtaking landscapes, is also celebrated for its rich and diverse cultural heritage. We offer you an exploration of three emblematic sites that highlight the historical, artistic and gastronomic richness of Normandy.

Rouen: in the footsteps of Joan of Arc and the Impressionists

The historic capital of Normandy, Rouen stands majestically on the banks of the Seine. It was the scene of major historical events, including the trial and execution of Joan of Arc in 1431, as well as the place where Richard the Lionheart entrusted his heart to posterity.

This city is an architectural gem, with monuments such as its splendid Gothic cathedral, the astronomical clock, the courthouse and the church of Saint-Maclou. Rouen also captivated Impressionist painters, including Monet, who immortalized its cathedral, and Pissarro, inspired by the port and quays. Their masterpieces are exhibited at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, one of the most prestigious in France.

Giverny: Claude Monet’s immortal legacy

Giverny, a picturesque Normandy village and former residence of Claude Monet, is an hour from the capital. It was here that the Impressionist master brought his lush gardens to life, the inspiration for many famous paintings. A visit to Monet’s house will allow you to discover his studio, his personal collections and his living spaces.

The gardens of Giverny, with their famous water lily pond, the Japanese bridge and the flowered paths, offer an enchanted walk. The village is also home to the Museum of Impressionisms, which organises temporary exhibitions exploring this artistic movement and its legacy.

Normandy cheeses and ciders: a unique gustatory journey

Normandy is renowned for its dairy tradition, producing exceptional cheeses with quality labels. Among them, Camembert, Livarot, Pont-l’Évêque, and Neufchâtel, tasty with rural bread or crunchy apples.

The leading cider-producing region in France, Normandy offers a variety of ciders, from the sweetest to the most brutish, ideal as an accompaniment to local cheeses, pancakes, galettes, and desserts. The discovery of the production of cider and cheeses is possible through the visit of farms, orchards and specialized museums.

Visit Normandy – The Hidden Gems 

Normandy, a land of richness and diversity, is full of hidden treasures ready to be explored by those looking to combine a love for nature with curiosity. We are going to introduce you to three little-known aspects of Normandy, which will seduce you with their authenticity and variety.

The “Most Beautiful Villages of France”: a preserved charm

The Normandy region is proud of its 14 villages labelled “Most Beautiful Villages of France”, true jewels where authenticity and heritage blend with a most pleasant living environment. Between half-timbered houses, Romanesque churches, castles, washhouses and mills, these places offer a real journey back in time. Gastronomy lovers will not be left out, with the possibility of tasting cider, calvados, camembert or teurgoule. Discover, among others, Barfleur with its fishing port, Beuvron-en-Auge and its flowers, Le Bec-Hellouin and its monastic atmosphere or Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, artists’ haunt.

Medieval Norman architecture: castles, abbeys and manors

The historic heart of the dynasty of the Dukes of Normandy, the region is dotted with medieval buildings that bear witness to its glorious past. Don’t miss the castle of Falaise, the birthplace of William the Conqueror, the castle of Caen, the former residence of the dukes, or the fortress of Richard the Lionheart in Gaillard. The abbeys are not to be outdone, with Mont-Saint-Michel, a major pilgrimage site, Jumièges and its intellectual past, or Saint-Wandrille, always animated by the monastic presence. Also discover the manor houses, such as Villers, the former home of Pierre Corneille, Beaumesnil and its book museum, or Vascoeuil with its art exhibitions.

Parks and gardens: breathtaking biodiversity

A true haven of greenery, Normandy invites you to discover its parks and gardens, real jewels of biodiversity. Let yourself be seduced by the beauty of the remarkable trees, flowers, exotic plants and sculptures, not to mention the animals that inhabit these places. Among these green spaces, the Parc de Clères stands out for its dual zoological and botanical vocation, while the Bois-Guilbert sculpture garden offers an open-air museum experience. The Vauville Botanical Garden, inspired by English gardens, and the Normanville Art and Essay Garden, with its contemporary touch, are also worth a detailed visit.


Normandy is a destination of choice for any traveler looking for unique experiences, combining history, nature, culture, and unsuspected treasures. This region promises to find what they are looking for, whatever their interests.

It is home to emblematic places such as Mont-Saint-Michel, the D-Day landing beaches, the spectacular cliffs of Étretat, Rouen and its rich heritage, Giverny and the villages classified as among the most beautiful in France. Normandy gastronomy, known for its cheeses, cider, pancakes, or even teurgoule, also promises great culinary discoveries.

The parks and gardens of Normandy, true oases of tranquillity and showcases of biodiversity, offer unforgettable moments of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Plan your trip to Normandy now to explore its many facets and enjoy all it has to offer. It’s an experience you definitely won’t regret!


What is the most beautiful place in Normandy?

The most beautiful place in Normandy is subjective, varying according to one’s tastes. However, a few destinations stand out for their popularity and beauty, including:

  • Mont-Saint-Michel : This UNESCO World Heritage island-abbey fascinates with its tides and unique medieval architecture.
  • The Alabaster Coast : Stretching for 120 km along the English Channel, it is known for its spectacular white cliffs and picturesque villages such as Étretat.

What are the three main tourist sites in Normandy?

The three main tourist sites in Normandy are:

  • Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey : A jewel of medieval architecture, located on a rocky islet and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The American cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer : A place of remembrance for more than 9,000 American soldiers who fell during the Allied landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944.
  • The cliffs of Étretat : Geological wonders created by erosion, offering breathtaking views of the English Channel, and a source of inspiration for many artists.

Where to go in Normandy for a day?

There are several beautiful destinations for a day out in Normandy, depending on your interests:

  • Emblematic landscapes : The cliffs of Étretat or Mont-Saint-Michel are unmissable for their spectacular views.
  • Historic Cities : Explore Rouen and Caen, with their rich cultural heritages, imposing cathedrals and captivating museums.
  • History of the Second World War : Visit the D-Day landing beaches and the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer for a moment of contemplation.
  • Nature and well-being : Enjoy the benefits of a spa or a bed and breakfast in the Pays d’Auge, known for its traditional architecture, local products and seaside resorts.

Where to land to visit Normandy?

Depending on your preferences and budget, various options are available to you to stay in Normandy:

  • Cities such as Caen, Rouen, or Le Havre combine culture, history and easy access to the sea.
  • A stay on the Normandy coast, in romantic places such as Honfleur, Deauville, Étretat or Mont-Saint-Michel, promises unforgettable discoveries.
  • Explore the natural beauty of Normandy by visiting the Cotentin, the Perche, the Suisse Normande or the cliffs of the Alabaster Coast.
Category: France, Normandie