From iconic landmarks to charming towns, experience the best of Normandy in twelve incredible destinations.
Stroll beneath half-timbered façades and down narrow medieval alleys. Explore Rouen‘s churches, the riverbank and the Saint-Maclou cloister built around a 16th-century mass grave for plague victims.
Named after the Bec stream and the abbey founder, Hellouin, this Plus Beau Village has been rebuilt several times across the centuries. It was liberated by Canadian troops in 1944 and rebuilt again in the 1950s.
Haras Du Pin
Meet horses from many breeds and maybe catch one of the equestrian shows (April – Sept; limited programme Oct-Nov). Enjoy horse-drawn vehicles, a historic tack room, and a guided visit of the 18th-century château.
Visit the ducal castle, birthplace of William of Normandy, walk the 2km trail around the ramparts; and tour the Museum of Automata to see animated scenes from the Christmas windows of Parisian department stores.
Nestled in a bend in the Sarthe river and founded by the monk Saint-Céneri, this delightful village attracted painters Camille Corot and Eugène Boudin. Drop into their favourite watering hole, the Auberge des Soeurs Moisy.
This ruined hilltop fortress built by Richard the Lionheart at Les Andeleys has sweeping views over the river east of Rouen. Free to visit the ruined chapel; small charge for bailey and keep.
Discover the story of the famous cheese at the Maison du Camembert in the heart of this tiny village. Watch AOP cheese being made and finish with a tasting to compare handmade and factory-produced varieties.
Just eight miles from the ferry port of Caen-Ouistreham, William of Normandy’s ducal seat is well worth a stop for its castle, men’s and women’s abbeys, and eclectic mix of ancient and post-war architecture.
This village in the pretty Pays d’Auge flourished in the 14th century thanks to the resident Harcourt family. Restored covered market, craft barn, cafés and boutiques add a contemporary buzz to this Plus Beau Village.
Monet’s House At Giverny
Claude Monet lived in Giverny from 1883 to 1926. Visit his pink house with its distinctive green shutters, walk the paths of his beloved garden and stand beside his famous lily pond.
Surrounded by beech forest on the banks of the Lieure with half- timbered and pink-brick buildings; the substantial covered market is still in regular use. Composer Maurice Ravel was a frequent visitor to this Plus Beau Village.
Ecclesiastical ruins don’t come more atmospheric than Jumièges with its white towers nearly 50m tall. Abandoned in 1790, it was used as a stone quarry until bought by a private owner in 1853 and the State in 1946.
From France Today magazine
Lead photo credit : Le Bec-Hellouin in Normandy © shutterstock
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