Normandy sites and attractions
20 Feb 2020 13:40
Steeped in history, famous for cheese, cider, seafood, and incredible coastlines, Normandy is blessed with many fantastic local attractions, to explore. The jaw-dropping Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO world heritage site and a highlight of the region.
Local beaches and coastal walks
The Normandy coastline is beautiful, with miles upon miles of long sandy beaches. The main three local beaches are Dragey, Carolles and Jullouville, so for families looking for a bit of R&R, a trip to the beach is perfect for an impromptu picnic, beach games or just to chill out.
There are some lovely coastal walks for keen ramblers; an excellent route around the local area starts at the beautiful beach of Carolles and continues on to the town of Jullouville. From here you’ll be able to take in the magnificent view of the Mont Saint-Michel.
Le Mont St Michel
The world-famous attraction is listed as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Frances’ most popular landmark outside Paris, the island commune is topped with a breath-taking medieval monastery and is one of the major pilgrimage shrines in Europe. There is no other place in the world where the tides differ to this extent creating an ever-changing seascape and stunning views across the bay. This is a great activity for the family to do together and is part of our holiday programme where our friendly guide will introduce you to the excitement of quicksands during the walk across the bay.
Cuisine & beverages
World-renowned for apples, seafood and acclaimed dairy and cheese products, Normandy is a food and drink lover's dream.
There are 800 types of apples in Normandy, some grown in ancient orchards dating back to the 8th century. The 25-mile long Cider Route allows you to sample beverages, whilst experiencing cathedrals, ancient villages and bustling cities. Our Château de la Baudonniere has its’ own working 17th-century cider press from which we produce our very own Calvados.
French markets are a staple of French culture and are always lively colourful affairs, selling local produce, French ‘fashion’ and accessories, and plenty of seasonal fruit and veg. The vendors are typically very friendly, so there is no better place to practise your French and pick up souvenirs.
Normandy is famous for its cheeses, which are enjoyed all over France and worldwide. Renowned specialty cheeses include Camembert, Pavé d’Auge, Livarot, Pont-l’êvêque, Neufchatel, Boursin, Brillat-Savarain, Goats cheese and Brin de Paille often named after their village or town of origin.
If you are interested in cheese we recommend visiting La Chèvre rit’ an educational farm producing goats cheese and always a popular choice for families. The farm is located approximately 25 minutes’ from our Normandy centres. Here you will have the opportunity to pet the animals (goats, donkeys and many more) and learn how goats’ cheese is made. http://www.la-chevre-rit.fr/
Normandy’s 600km of coastline is populated with large ports and picturesque fishing villages bringing in of some of France’s finest seafood. The cold Atlantic waters serve as the ideal breeding grounds for clams, mussels, scallops, and oysters with regional dishes readily available at colourful harbourside restaurants along the coast. You can also sample the local delights at our seafood extravaganza evening which includes langoustines, oysters, lobster, snails and is an optional extra at both the Château and La Grand'Ferme.
Normandy is steeped in history dating back to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, and is home to the Bayeux Tapestry, D-Day landing beaches, and many museums and memorials remembering the fallen service men and women. Legend has it that during the Hundred Years’ War, the Neufchatel cheese was moulded into the shape of a heart by young Norman girls who used it to declare their love to the English soldiers they offered it to.
The Bayeux Tapestry
Go to the entrancing city of Bayeux to uncover the mysteries of the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry depicting the events leading up to the defeat of King Harold by William the Conqueror, including the Battle of Hastings. Aside from the tapestry, don’t miss the magnificent medieval cathedral.
Arromanche & Normandy landing beaches
This makes for a full day out for the family by combining the beautiful Normandy coastline with a variety of interesting historical sites. Arromanches was at the heart of the D-Day landings and as such has superb museums with emotive and informative displays. One of these museums features a 360° cinema with unreleased footage from war correspondents filmed on D-Day. Our programme offered by La Grand'Ferme includes a trip to Arromanche.
La Cite de la Mer
La Cite de la Mer in Cherbourg is a spectacular ocean museum located in the former 1930’s transatlantic liner terminal. The centre has the largest submarine, 3 floors of multimedia displays and 17 stunning aquariums. You can relive the Titanic from her stopover in Cherbourg to the night of the shipwreck, explore an iconic collection of deep-sea diving equipment and a virtual adventure – “Walking into the Depths”.
Normandy is renowned for picturesque towns and architecture with a distinctive style.
Built on a headland and nicknamed Monaco of the North, the old town has narrow cobbled streets with houses built from local granite. The upper town is surrounded by ramparts dating back to the 15th century with a fishing and sailing port below. Granville offers panoramic views towards the islands of Jersey and Guernsey to the north and Mont Saint-Michel to the south.
Known for its arts and crafts, Villedieu-les-Poêles is a quaint little town around 25 minutes’ from the Château. Steeped in history, with copper and metalworking dating back to the Middle Ages. A visit to the town's Bell Foundry, Copper Workshop and Pewter Museum is recommended together with the Tuesday morning market.
Avranches is a small market town sitting on the top of a granite hill, towering over Mont Saint-Michel and is just 10 - 15 minutes’ drive from both of our centres in Normandy. Steeped in history, the town has many religious buildings, a keep, ramparts and the historic monument of “Grand Doyenne” dating from the 12th century (a rare urban mansion from the Romanesque period).
These are just a few of our favourite attractions and there are many more to discover. Some form part of our programme and others are options for you and your family should you want to opt-out from our activities from time to time or even extend your stay in the region after you holiday with us.