Normandy Travel Guide


Courtesy of © Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images

Normandy Area Map


Thanks to its proximity to Paris, Normandy makes for an easy daytrip that's especially popular with travelers interested in seeing Monet's house and gardens or the D-Day Beaches. But if you only visit for the day, you'll miss out on Normandy's picturesque towns. Consider renting a car and exploring this rugged coastline town by town. 

Ideally located on the Seine, Rouen became one of France's greatest ports. When the Vikings settled and became Normans in the 10th century, Rouen became Normandy's capital. It's famous for its Gothic cathedral, half-timbered houses and Joan of Arc sights. The cathedral, famously painted by Monet, makes it instantly recognizable, and the town is simply a great place to wander.

It's easy to see why the picturesque port town of Honfleur captured the imaginations of the impressionists, who adored its charms and special light. The town, with its boat-filled inner harbor, half-timbered houses and flowers cascading from window boxes is simply magical. You can see many of the artists' works at the Musée Eugène Boudin.

Famous for Château Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart's fortress castle built on chalk cliffs sitting high above it, this Upper Normandy town on the Seine is a delightful place to visit. The town of Andelys is actually made up of Petit and Grand Andely. The Promenade des Près follows the Grand Rang canal, a link between the small and the large Andely, which leads to the Collegiate Church Notre-Dame, decorated with stained-glass windows of the 16th century.

Situated about 6 miles from the D-Day beaches, Bayeux was the first city liberated after the D-Day landing. It's also the closest city to the landing site not destroyed in the war. It is home to the famous Bayeux medieval tapestry, but other charms include its picturesque town center and gorgeous cathedral.

Its famous stark white cliffs draw visitors to the seaside, but the village is a lovely place to explore as well. The wooden covered market is a must-see. Many famous artists made the small town their base while they painted. Look for placards along the beach, which show places where Monet painted some of his most famous works.

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