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14 unforgettable sights in Normandy – France

14 unforgettable sights in Normandy – France

  • Normandy is a region rich in history, gastronomy and natural beauty. From the white limestone cliffs to the green apple orchards with grazing cows - here are my top 14 sights in Normandy!
Mont Saint-Michel on a cliff in the sea

The Normandy region in northwestern France offers a large number of attractions through its colorful history and natural beauty. From the coast's white sandy beaches and limestone cliffs to the green hills with grazing cows – everywhere you are greeted by Normandy's world-famous gastronomy of fresh seafood, delicious cider and well-aged cheeses.

Discover historical sites such as Mont Saint-Michel and Rouen, visit the D-Day beaches, hike along the breathtaking coastline of the Alabaster Coast or walk in the footsteps of Joan of Arc in Rouen. Normandy has a lot of everything.

I have visited the area on several trips and always find something new to experience. Here are my favorites among all the sights in Normandy!

Seafood sales in Trouville. One of the sights in Normandy

1. Deauville & Trouville

During the middle of the 19th century, Paris flourished and it became popular among the city dwellers to go on holiday to the sea. The small fishing village Trouville-sur-Mer began to develop into France's first resort and attracted artists and later also international celebrities.

Deauville, the sister city of Trouville, quickly became synonymous with glamor and Chanel. Although the cities are close together, Deauville and Trouville-Sur-Mer have different atmospheres; Deauville is a bit more flamboyant while Trouville is more traditional and authentic. The beaches are fantastic in both resorts.

Read more about my visit to Deauville and Trouville at Deauville & Trouville-sur-Mer - Glamorous seaside towns of Normandy - France.

One of the sights of Normandy is the white beach of Deauville with a turquoise lifeguard tower.
Deauville with its luxury shops and half-timbered houses

2. Honfleur

In the charming harbor of Honfleuryou are met by narrow houses by the picturesque harbor Vieux Bassin, houses that are very reminiscent of Amsterdam's canal houses. The city has a rich history dating back to Viking era and has attracted impressionist artists such as Monet.

Honfleur became our favorite town during our trip in Normandy and is a place I would love to go back to.

Read more about my days in Honfleur in Honfleur - The medieval gem at the mouth of the Seine - France.

Honfleur's carousel down in the harbor glows at dusk
The tall houses of Honfleur harbor in the twilight light of a summer evening

3. Mont Saint-Michel

Mont St. Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of France's most visited tourist destinations. The place is famous for its medieval monastery from the 7th century, which rises dramatically above the sea on a cliff. The area is also known for its strong tidal currents and it's almost a little scary to stand and look at the sea when the high tide completely pours in over the dry sea bed.

A warning: During the summer months it is almost impossible to visit the place and I do not recommend anyone to go here during July and August. When we visited the place in July, it was impossible to get through the streets because of all the people. Plan your visit, be patient and expect everything to take a very long time.

Mont Saint-Michel on its rock with the church on top
Mont Saint-Michel on a cliff in the sea in dramatic light

4. D-Day memorial sites

Along the coast of Normandy lies a large number of monuments, war cemeteries, museums and memorials commemorating the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, also known as D-day. The monuments commemorate the many soldiers who fought and died to free Europe from the control of Nazi Germany. These are not fun places to visit, but they tell an important story that we need to reflect on and never forget.

Some of the most famous sites in Normandy are the landing beaches where the Allied forces landed on D-Day – Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach. The war cemeteries are also worth a visit, especially the large American Cemetary at Omaha beach, where thousands of white crosses tell the story of the war's losses.

5. The cider road

A nice way to experience Normandy is through its food and drink. A good day trip is the tour Route du Cidre - the four-mile long cider road that guides you around to some of the area's many cider producers. Along the way, you'll learn all about cider and calvados making, and along the way you'll pass farm shops selling Normandy's famous cheeses – Camembert, Livrot, Pont-L'éveque and Neufchatel.

Read more about cider on the road Route du Cidre - A journey along the cider route in Normandy - France.

Do you want to learn more about all the gastronomic experiences that Normandy has to offer? Read more here: Food and drink in Normandy - 11 gastronomic specialties to remember - France

Bartender pours calvados
Calvados farm sale

6. Rouen

Rouenis something as unique as a UNESCO-listed city because of its gastronomy. Here you'll find more than 250 restaurants and the entire Normandy treasure of high-quality ingredients, which is a particularly pleasant combination.

The city has several famous historical buildings, including the cathedral Notre-Dame is the most famous. The cathedral is France's tallest and has an impressive Gothic facade and beautiful decorations. Other attractions are Gros Horlage – a beautiful astronomical clock from the 14th century.

At the museum Historical Joan of Arc you can follow in the footsteps of Joan of Arc, and learn more about the story of the peasant girl who received religious revelations to lead the French army. A story that led to her being condemned and burned at the stake here in Rouen and later canonized by the Catholic Church.

Street in Rouen with shops and the astronomical clock

7. Giverny and Monet's garden

In the small village Giverny you will find the enchanting garden that inspired the famous impressionist artist Claude Monet. The garden is divided into two main parts: the famous flower garden Clos Normand, and the Japanese Garden.

One of the most famous places is Monet's lake with water lilies and wooden bridges, which has been the subject of many of his most famous paintings.

Read more in my article Monet's garden in Giverny - Normandy - France

Monet's garden in Giverny has a pink house with green shutters and in the spring lots of tulips bloom
In Monet's garden there is a green bridge with wisteria over a lake that Monet often depicted in his paintings

8. The Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeuxthe tapestry is not a tapestry, but a giant embroidered canvas that is considered one of the most significant works of art from the Middle Ages. It is believed to have been created in 1070 to depict the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England.

The canvas is 70 meters long and 50 centimeters high and can be visited in a museum in the city of Bayeux. Well worth a visit!

Read more

Detail with embroidery of boats and people on a copy of the Bayeux Tapestry

9. Bec-Helloin

Bec-Helloinis a cute village with well-preserved half-timbered buildings and the Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin. The village is on the official list of " The most beautiful villages in France” and is located in a picturesque countryside with many restaurants. Take a walk in the village, visit the monastery and buy some local specialties from one of the craft shops.

Half-timbered houses in a row in pink and yellow on a sunny day in Bec-Helloin
Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin
Street in Bec Helloin with half-timbered houses and blooming tulips. In the background you can see the Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin
Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin

10. Etrétat

Etretat is one of the coastal cities at Alabaster Coast – The Alabaster Coast. The town has one of France's most beautiful beaches with its dramatic white limestone cliffs and steep cliffs.

In addition to swimming, you can walk the hiking trail along the edge of the cliffs, go on boat trips along the coast and explore the area's seafood at one of the many restaurants.

Read about Étretat at Étretat – The White Elephant Rock in Normandy – France.

The beach, the sea and the cliff in Étretat
The beach, the sea and the via the cliff in Étretat

11. Château-Gaillard and Les Andelys

Chateau-Gaillard was built in the 12th century by the English king Richard the Lionheart as part of his defense against the French kings. The château is beautifully situated on a cliff by the Seine in Les Andelys and offers magnificent views of the Seine cliffs, villages and medieval architecture.

Château-Gaillard on a cliff overlooking the Seine and the countryside
Les Andalys with steep cliffs down towards the Seine and cute villages
Château-Gaillard seen from the inside

12. Beuvron-En-Auge

Postcard beautiful Beuvron-En-Auge is named one of the "most beautiful villages in France” and generously offers half-timbered houses and wisteria-adorned facades.

Surrounded by apple orchards and green hills, the village is a popular destination for anyone wanting to experience a typical Norman village in the countryside. For those interested in antiques, a large one is held antique market here every year in July. Just make sure you have plenty of room in your suitcase before you go here, because there's a risk you'll want to buy everything!

Half-timbered house in Beuvron-En-Auge by the square.
Antique market in Beuvron-En-Auge
Small stream in Beuvron-En-Auge with a flourishing bridge and a large half-timbered house in the background

13. Crème d'Isigny

The grains in Isigny-sur-mer graze outdoors 7 months of the year in lush nature and produce a cream-colored milk that turns into a thick cream called Crème D'Isigny – the queen of all cream. In the town of Isigny-sur-mer you can visit Caramels d'Isigny which makes heavenly colors and an even more heavenly ice cream from the magic cream.

Caramels d'Isigny
Ice cream from Caramels d'Isigny

14. Yport

Yport is an old fishing village and one of the smaller resorts along the Alabaster Coast. The high limestone cliffs on either side of the beach are the main attraction of Yport and make the village a warm and pleasant place to spend time in the summer months. The stone beach is clean and well maintained and lined with a large number of traditional beach huts in white and blue.

The village itself consists of a mixture of small fishing houses and larger 19th century houses that were built when Yport started to become an established seaside resort. A cozy place to stay for a few days!

The white pebble beach at Yport with the white limestone cliffs behind.
The white pebble beach of Yport with the blue and white bathing huts and the white limestone cliffs behind.

Read more about Normandy on my Normandy page!

Have you been to Normandy? Did I miss any of your favorite spots?

Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Been there - didn't like it!
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Not keen at all to go here!
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I want to go here!
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Been here and loved it!
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Read comments (6)
    • September should be perfect time! Wish I could go here a little more off-season too, especially to make another attempt at Mont-Saint-Michel!

  • Oh, I've wanted a trip here for a long time. I have seen St Michael's Mount on the other side of the English Channel, written about Battle and Hastings but never seen the Bayeux Tapestry and lived in the Viking city of York but never been to Rouen, Rollo's capital. This was a great post for me who loves beautiful villages and good food on my travels.

    • Normandy checks many boxes when it comes to good food, Viking history and beautiful villages! It's really quick to take the car from Skåne too, which is a big plus :)

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