travel guide

Historical Normandy

Normandy situated on the Atlantic coasts of France. Normandy has a historical past during the middle ages and also during the 20th century as being the place of heavy fighting during the second world war. In Normandy you can visit the invasion beaches of Omaha, Arromanches and Utah. Take a trip to the fabulous medieval Mont St. Michel, an abbey founded in the 8th century.  It is located at the junction of Normandy and Brittany and is built on a small island with a single street that climbs to the abbey. Caen, the capital of western Normandy, has, after its 1944 destruction, been rebuilt in a pleasanter style than Le Havre (which was also rebuilt after its destruction in the Second World War). The magnificent Romanesque abbeys, aux Hommes and aux Dames, still stand. There is a flourishing modern university, and a pioneering new municipal arts centre. Caen is one of France’s foremost boom towns, with double its pre-war population, and much new industry. To the east lies the smart bathing and gambling resort of Deauville, the impressive new suspension bridge of Tancarville, over the Seine; and Lisieux, with its new basilica to the memory of St Therese. To the west. is the little city of Bayeux, with its famous tapestry. 

Mont St Michel is one of the glories of France, an old Gothic and Romanesque abbey, perched high on the solid rock of a steep little island and joined to the mainland (except at high tide) by a causeway.The cobbled street is lined with shops and restaurants, most of which feature huge fluffy omelets made on an open fire before your eyes. Very good, too.  During Napoleanic times Mont St. Michel was used as a prison.  Normandy is one of the oldest and noblest of French provinces. In the Middle Ages it was a powerful independent duchy. It is a fertile agricultural region, famous for its apples, cheese, beef, and horse stud farms. The most typical scenery is in the green, hilly bocage country, South West of Caen, with its streams and orchards. But there is variety, too – from the sandy beaches and chalk cliffs of the North coast to the deep valleys of `Norman Switzerland’ and the southern forests.

Normandy is a land of gastronomy. The cooking is rich, using cream and cheese sauce. Some of the great dishes are sole dieppoise, canard an sang (from Rouen), escalobe normande (in cheese sauce), tripe (from Caen), omelette Mere Poulard (from Mont St Michel), chicken from the Auge Valley, and the cheese of Camembert and Pont L’Eveque. The region is also famous for its local apple cider and calvados, a heady apple brandy.
Rouen is the departure point for tours of both provinces of Normandy and Britany. The city was heavily damaged by bombings but is still the museum city, the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Deauville is one of the most popular beach resorts in France and The Normandy, Royal and Hotel du Golf are famous. There is a casino, horse racing, yachting, golf and polo. Paris shops have branches there.