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Normandy Travel Guide

Magnificent coastlines, “chocolate box” architecture, and a rich gastronomic heritage make Normandy one of France’s most beloved regions. Start planning a trip to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

About Normandy

Normandy’s luscious, green fields span hundreds of kilometers to the west of Paris, all the way to the Atlantic coast. It is a fertile land, known for the orchards, rivers, hunting grounds, and farms that dot its valleys. The area has long supplied many culinary staples to the capital – various fruits, camembert, and livestock, to name just a few. 

Affluent and fertile, the region was no stranger to conflict over several centuries. Traversed by Caesar, it was given to Viking raiders who bequeathed it Normandy (French for “men from the North”). The following period – from the Middle Ages until the Hundred Years War – saw rule under English kings. Today it’s most commonly referred to as the site of the famous D-Day landings, where the Allied Troops stormed across the sandy Norman coast (known as the “landing beaches”) and effectively ended World War II.

Things to do in Normandy

Normandy has long been a popular destination to escape the bustle of Parisian life. The historical city of Rouen, the chic seaside town of Deauville, Monet’s garden, and the aforementioned landing beaches are all within easy reach from the city by car or train. The train service – which departs from the center of Paris – is one of France’s most popular routes and is used by scores of Parisians zooming off for a luxurious weekend retraite (“retreat”) or a quick Sunday afternoon on the beach.

La Route des Abbayes

For history buffs, the Route Des Abbayes (“Abbey route”) is a must. To the west of Rouen lies a string of medieval abbeys built along the Seine river which today remain in various states of preservation. Some have only their old walls left to admire, while others, such as Saint-Georges de Boscherville, offer beautiful gardens (take a guided tour to hear how the monks tended to them several centuries ago!). 

Monet's House and Garden

Little introduction is required for Claude Monet’s remarkable garden, which today remains cultivated according to his original design. Throughout the season (April 1 to November 1), a small and devoted army of gardeners ensures that its flower beds are nothing less than spectacular. Crowds are inevitable – we strongly recommend buying tickets online to avoid queues.

Omaha Beach & Arromanches Museum

There are several large museums dedicated to the D-Day Landings, but this smaller one in Arromanches is a favorite. This museum explains the landing operation in great detail and situated on the port, it directly overlooks the beaches where the troops first touched the Norman ground. American visitors should not miss the incredibly moving cemetery at Omaha Beach, just a short walk from the museum along the coastline.

Haras National du Pin

Normandy is the official home of French horse breeding, and this national stud farm, which is open to the public, is quite impressive. Check their website for a schedule of live demonstrations and guided tours of the spectacular stables.

Farmer's Markets

Normandy farmer’s markets are always worth a visit. Before visiting any town, check their market days using the website above. Be sure to pick up one of the famous local cheeses: Camembert, Livarot or Pont-l’Evêque.

Christian Dior Museum

On the Atlantic coastline near the Brittany border, Christian Dior’s childhood home has been transformed into a museum of his work. Visitors are free to walk about the house to enjoy both permanent and seasonal fashion exhibitions. The property also has charming gardens and a path leading directly down to the sea.


This seaside destination enjoys a sprawl of endless sandy beaches, where racehorses can be seen exercising in the early morning. A popular weekend and holiday destination for Parisians, this small, affluent town has designer-label shopping, a casino, a racecourse, and the annual American Film Festival. 


Wander around this stunning, ancient town. Despite its close proximity to the landing beaches, Bayeux remained largely untouched by the war and today is one of Normandy’s most well-preserved examples of typical local architecture. Don’t miss the cathedral and its impressive Bayeux tapestry. 

Mont Saint-Michel

One of France’s most picturesque historical sites, Le Mont Saint-Michel is the home to the former Benedictine abbey that sits majestically atop a rocky island, creating a captivating silhouette against the sky. For the best experience, consider visiting during the quieter periods, such as weekdays and in the winter months when visitor numbers are lower.

Shop for Antiques

Normandy is a haven for antiques. There are choice country fairs worth visiting – namely Grandvilliers, Crevecoeur, and Lisieux – which take place twice a year and cover the whole town. The most impressive specialists are: BCA Matériaux Anciens, Brocante de Balines, and Max Tetelin

Stroll through the Gardens

Home to some of the best gardens in France, take the time to visit all of the diverse green spaces throughout the region. Our favorites include: Jardin Plume, Jardin Agapanthe, Champ de Bataille, and Jardins de Castillon. We have mapped out a perfect 5-day itinerary to see all of the best gardens of Normandy here.

Visit Pretty Villages

Pont-Audemer, also known as the “Little Venice” of Normandy, is undeniably charming.
Lyons-la-Fôret, with its pastel-colored architecture and immense forest, is classed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
Le Bec-Hellouin, positioned between Rouen and Lisieux is surrounded by a picturesque landscape of farmland and apple orchards.

Where to stay in Normandy

stay at

La Ferme Saint Simeon

One of the most luxurious hotels in Normandy. Set on a hill between Trouville and Honfleur, this 5-star hotel and spa is loved for its adorable architecture, stunning gardens and refined country interiors. It is also heralded for its Michelin-ranked restaurant, Les Impressionistes.

20 Route Adolphe Marais, 14600 Honfleur


A L'École Buissonnière

A delightful hotel tucked away in a former schoolhouse built in 1878. The rooms are cozy and beautifully furnished, and its convenient location allows you to see the whole town on foot. There’s a charming, sunny courtyard, and a delicious breakfast is served every morning.

4 Rue de la Foulerie, 14600 Honfleur


La Chenevière

This luxurious hotel makes the most of its beautiful 18th-century manor house architecture. It boasts generous grounds and spacious, comfortable rooms rounded off by delightful decor. You’ll be perfectly located for a visit to the landing beaches and Bayeux or a drive down to Mont-Saint-Michel.

Escures-Commes, 14520 Port-en-Bessin

stay at

Le Normandy Deauville

A traditional half-timbered building in the center of this elegant coastal town. Every room of this hotel is beautifully decorated in classic toile de Jouy print. Here, designer shopping and beautiful sandy beaches are at your doorstep.

38 Rue Jean Mermoz, 14804 Deauville


Le Flaubert Trouville

A charming 4-star hotel situated on the seafront, Le Flaubert looks out over the endless ocean where guests can watch the sunset from their private balcony. The rooms are spacious with an elegant nautical touch. Downstairs there is a chic, private bar for pre-dinner drinks, and breakfasts are served directly in the rooms.

Rue Gustave Flaubert, 14360 Trouville


Manoir des Portes de Deauville

An authentic, Norman manoir positioned just 10 minutes outside of Deauville, this small luxury hotel offers charming cottage accommodation on their grounds, with a modern relaxation area that includes a 2.5-hectare (6-acre) private garden, heated outdoor pool, and indoor jacuzzi and sauna. 

30 D677, 14800 Canapville

Where to eat in Normandy

eat at

Le Moulin de Connelles

This traditional hotel and restaurant sit along the river Seine, providing guests with an unparalleled picturesque dining experience. Situated halfway between Paris and Rouen, it is a great pitstop while touring by car.

40 Route d’Amfreville Sous les Monts, 27430 Connelles

eat at

Jardin des Plumes

A prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Giverny. Eat inside, or enjoy the outdoor terrace and gardens. Their haute cuisine and fine wines are a fitting end to a day of taking in Monet’s gardens.

1 Rue du Milieu, 27620 Giverny

eat at

Les Enfants Sages

Based in Le Havre port, Les Enfants Sages offers delicious and authentic French food. Open as a bar and tearoom during the afternoon, it is one of the most popular addresses in town.

20 Rue Gustave Lennier, 76620 Le Havre

eat at

La Regence Trouville

This little bijou (gem) of a restaurant is the most charming eatery serving high quality, local fare on the harbor. They offer mainly seafood, in a setting brimming with delightfully ornate décor. The service is kind and attentive, the food delicious.

132 Boulevard Fernand Moureaux, 14360 Trouville

eat at


A one-star Michelin venue, where you will not be disappointed. With prix-fixe menus offering from three to nine courses, this restaurant offers the unique opportunity to get a taste of Normandy cuisine blended with a touch of Asian influence. 

29 Rue Mirabeau, 14800 Deauville

eat at

Terrasse des Ammonites

It would be a shame to come to the coast and not have lunch on the shore at least once. Head down the private beach of the chic Terrasse des Ammonites and take your time over a local meal and a fresh cocktail with your toes in the sand.

39 Rue des Lais de Mer, 14910 Bénerville-sur-Mer

Complement Your Adventure in Normandy with our Curated Itineraries

Unlock a deeper exploration of Normandy with our expertly curated itineraries, designed to complement our comprehensive travel guides seamlessly.


D-Day Landing Beaches, Mont Saint-Michel, Monet’s Gardens, and iconic seaside villages are just some of the highlights in this ultimate guide to the Normandy coast.


Explore the chic Paris capital, the lush Normandy countryside, and the stunning Loire – a UNESCO World Heritage region.


Wander through Normandy’s luscious, green fields spanning hundreds of kilometers to the west of Paris, all the way to the Atlantic coast.

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