Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen#5 in Best Things To Do in Normandy
The sprawling Museum of Fine Arts features paintings, sculptures, drawings and objets d'art that date back to the 15th century. Throughout the 19th century, generous donations made the museum home to one of the largest impressionist collections in France, with paintings by masters such as Monet, Sisley, Caillebotte, Pissarro, Degas and Renoir. Other highlights include works by Perugino, Veronese, Rubens, Caravaggio, Velázquez, Ribera and Poussin.
Recent visitors praised the museum's collection of impressionist works and the impressive range of styles represented here. For many, viewing Monet's paintings of the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Rouen was a particular highlight. However, reviewers advised going in with a plan, as the museum can be a little hard to navigate.
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It's free to visit the permanent exhibits. The museum is a five-minute walk from the Gare de Rouen station and the Palais de Justice station. For more information, visit the museum's website.
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#1 D-Day Beaches
World War II's successful Operation Overlord took place on the coast of France. Although there were heavy Allied casualties, this invasion turned the tide in the war and helped lead to the fall of Nazi Germany. Today this piece of coastline, which includes Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah beaches, is collectively known as the D-Day Beaches.
Visitors can tour the approximately 50-mile stretch of sand and pop by a number of museums, memorials and cemeteries that are spread out alongside the coastline either with a tour or on their own. If you're driving yourself, start in the town of Arromanches, which hosts two museums that help provide context for the battle sites. The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and the Pointe-du-Hoc bomb craters are also especially moving. If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, recent visitors recommend going with a tour guide to fully appreciate the area's historic importance and receive a comprehensive overview. If you're visiting in June, you'll likely come across several ceremonies and reenactment groups commemorating the anniversary. Thanks to Normandy's unpredictable weather, you'll want to dress in layers (no matter the time of your visit) and bring rain gear, according to past visitors.
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