Normandy runs for 360 miles along the English Channel coastline of France from Granville and Cherbourg in the west to Dieppe in the east. Alternating between the craggy granite coastline of northern Cotentin to the long sandy beaches further south, it is an impressive area to explore from holiday gites in Normandy.
Historic towns such as Calvados, Rouen and Bayeux, which still showcases its famous tapestry of the Battle of Hastings, offer a pleasant day out browsing the old cathedrals, markets and medieval buildings. Deauville, known as “Paris by the sea”, has an excellent boardwalk and beautiful wooden buildings housing designer boutiques. Further inland are the ancient beech forests and the apple orchards which produce cider and the rich amber nectar of Calvados.
The wooded hillsides and meandering river valleys make this a wonderful area to enjoy peaceful walks or bicycle rides between the villages. From wooden gabled farmhouses to fine cathedrals, the area is a mixture of delightful architecture. The River Seine makes its way from Paris to the Le Havre offering boat trips, fishing and scenic walks. Along the Normandy coast there is excellent sailing with a host of sea festivals in the summer. The beaches are still a place of pilgrimage for war veterans with excellent museums in the area.
Normandy is true horse country and there are plenty of stables offering treks through the countryside.
Gardeners and artists alike will enjoy a day out in the charming village of Giverny, home of Claude Monet. See his lily pond, immortalized on his many paintings and enjoy his abundant flower garden before exploring the rest of this lovely art-orientated village.
A day out to Mont St Michel is a wonderful experience once you have walked across the causeway and up the steep incline to the terraces. The Gothic Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the 11th century and is well worth visiting.
Normandy has similar weather to the south coast of England with plenty of dry sunny days between May and October.
Gourmands are in for a treat with the bountiful fresh fish and fruits-de-mer which is the staple of Normandy cuisine, along with fresh vegetables and mushrooms. The rich dairy produce is made into Camembert cheeses, Neufchatel, rich butter and thick cream. Patés, lamb and chicken cooked in Calvados are memorable treats. Stock up with delicious fresh food on the markets to be enjoyed at leisure in your self-catering gite in Normandy.
Getting to Normandy holiday rentals is very easy. There are regular flights to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris as well as to Caen, Rouen, Deauville and Le Havre.
Ferries sail from the south coast ports of Britain to Caen, Cherbourg and Le Havre or take the Eurostar to Paris which has direct connections to the main cities in Normandy. A car is useful for getting around the area.