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France Travel Guide

Normandy Overview

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Map of Normandy, France including Basse and Haute Normandy (Lower and Upper)














D-Day Invasion     

More Normandy

To many travelers Normandy defines only the  well-known  invasion beaches and associated battles of World War II.   In fact, Normandy offers a diverse blend of landscapes and attractions, but most travelers are drawn to the 400 miles of beautiful coastline that hugs the English Channel, or Le Manche as it is known in France.   We will cover both the invasion beaches, as well as the other treasures of Normandy in this section of our Guide to the Best Places to Visit in France.

Coastal Normandy is equally attractive on calm, sunny days or when the weather turns stormy.  The best time to visit is from late spring to early fall.  Be prepared for rain in any season. 

Normandy, France (see map) is defined by two administrative areas called Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie) and Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie).  Haute-Normandy includes the d鰡rtments (Franceୡin administrative units) of Eure and the Seine-Maritime.  Basse-Normandy is comprised of the d鰡rtments of Calvados, Manche and Orne. The Seine meanders through this area on its way to the Channel (Le Manche), hugging Rouen and entering the ocean near Le Harve.

France's  two "Normandys" extend from Le Tr鰯rt and Eu in the north to Mt. St. Michel and Alencon in the south.  Paris is approximately 85 miles east of Rouen, which is approximately 160 miles northeast of Mont St. Michel  (approximately 200 miles west-southwest of Paris).

Normandy's major cities are: Rouen (the capital of upper Normandy, population 550,000), Le Harve (population 300,000), Caen (the capital of lower Normandy, population 200,000) and Cherbourg (population 120,000).

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Normandy࣯astal areas attracted the gentry of Europe. Many of today's  beach resorts  date from that time and most of these areas are past their prime, but remain attractive to many travelers.


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The shoreline of Normandy, France is varied but often rugged and beautiful


Normandy is known for its cider and, of course, the apple-brandy Calvados, for which the d鰡rtment Calvados is named.  In addition, the liqueur Benedictine is made at the Palais B鮩dictine, 110 rue Alexandre le Grand, BP 192, F飡mp.   See their website  for information about visiting.



How To Use This Guide                                                                               
  We present our list of Best Places to Visit in Normandy in two sections.  First, we focus on the D-Day Invasion Beaches, followed by guides to three of Normandy's premier attractions:  Bayeux, Rouen and Mont. St. Michel. 

Note: The 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion will be observed in 2014.  There will be many celebrations and we urge you to consult Normandie Tourisme  for the dates and times of events.

Our overview of the D-Day Invasion is accompanied by a map that shows the location of the featured World War II sites.  The locations, marked with red  starburst symbols, are  clickable hotspots that will take you to the section of our Normandy Guide section covering that location.  We have repeated the map (at a smaller size) on every page of the D-Day section  to help you find the information on the places you find interesting.  In addition, we have added a Google map showing the destinations we describe  so you can more easily calculate distances and routes between locations.  Links to the routable map of Normandy are shown by this symbol .

There are eight pages in our Normandy Guide.  Clicking the link at the end of each page will take you to the next page in the sequence.  If you are looking for a particular place, use the links above and to the left.

Continue to the next page of our Normandy Guide for background on touring the Invasion Beaches.

If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index or Googling ThereArePlaces.

For more information on the wonders of Normandy, visit the official website of the Normandy Tourist Board by clicking their logo below.

                    Click for the official website of the Normandy Tourist Board

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