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French Travel: 4 Top Places To Visit In Normandy

France is so chock-full of stunning landmarks it might be hard for visitors to pick a vacation spot. From the Loire Valley Castles to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, France accounts for many unmissable tourist attractions in Europe. But history buffs, culture vultures, and art lovers might look further north for their next trip. West of Paris, the Normandy region boasts a fascinating mix of world-class museums, stunning medieval monuments, and historic seaside towns. So, here are four places to consider for first-time Normandy visitors.

Mont-Saint-Michel

The UNESCO-listed Mont-Saint-Michel is one of these sights you need to see to believe. This epic ensemble of medieval architecture is arguably the best-known landmark in Normandy, although Mont keeps revealing new secrets. What was once a mere tidal island was turned into a place of worship in the 700s. Legend has it that Bishop Aubert of Avranches commanded the erection of a devotional chapel on top of the island in the wake of a vision of the Archangel Michael. As centuries went by, the chapel became a monastery and the island an almost impregnable fortress, resisting many British assaults during the Hundred Years’ War.

Nowadays, the Mont-Saint-Michel welcomes visitors into its steep cobbled streets, leading to the majestic abbey at its summit. Most areas of the abbey are accessible, including the cloister offering dreamy views of the bay. The most adventurous tourists might even cross the bay like pilgrims of old, provided they’re in the company of a guide.

Giverny

In the 19th century, visionary French painters gave birth to a new art movement. Normandy provided much of the inspiration for Impressionism. To this day, Claude Monet remains the enduring embodiment of the Impressionist aesthetic with infamous paintings such as the Waterlilies. And in the small town of Giverny, Monet spent the most prolific years of his life. The residence he lived in for 43 years is now a house museum displaying dozens of sketches and paintings.

Yet, the main draw might be the beautiful flowery gardens of the Clos Normand. In peak season, tourists can admire wisteria, daffodils, and roses. Arts enthusiasts also flock to get a glimpse of the eerie Japanese footbridge floating over an iconic water lily pond. The Museum of Impressionisms is another worthy addition to a Giverny day trip.

Honfleur

From the Rouen Cathedral to the white cliffs of Etretat, Normandy’s breathtaking landscapes inspired all Impressionist painters. But many historians believe Honfleur is the birthplace of the school of Impressionism. On the Seine estuary, the quaint harbor of the Quai Saint-Etienne gave Impressionism countless recognizable paintings. And the town hasn’t changed much since the days of Eugène Boudin and Paul Huet. Thus, visitors can wander its graceful port before meandering in picturesque back alleys to discover wooden churches and art galleries.

Honfleur’s location also makes it easy to enjoy some of Normandy’s nearby coastal gems, like the historic seaside town of Deauville. This lovely break along the Normandy Riviera boasts a charming sandy beach alongside a renowned race track and even an ornate casino. For travelers who can’t schedule a visit, though, the best online casinos provide a fine alternative. From the United States to India, gambling platforms offer an extensive catalog of fun-filled slots and timeless table games. Players can check unbiased reviews to pick the most reputable and safest online casinos. Experts also lay the groundwork for gamblers to access the juiciest promotions and bonuses.

Bayeux

The Bayeux tapestry may be the world’s most famous work of embroidery. This centuries-old canvas depicts the events leading to the conquest of England by the Norman troops of William the Conqueror in 1066. Commissioned by William’s half-brother, the very Bishop of Bayeux, the tapestry comprises fifty-eight scenes culminating in the Battle of Hastings. That the tapestry survived the turmoil of over nine centuries is nothing short of a miracle. But its state of conservation also captivates visitors, from its vivid colors to its exceptional 70-meter length.

Tourists may additionally visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral close by. The city of Bayeux itself deserves a visit, as it escaped most of the devastation and bombings that struck Normandy during WW2. Furthermore, Bayeux is the perfect place to stay for history buffs considering its proximity to many D-Day beaches and war museums.

About The Authors

Tobey Strickland

Tobey Strickland - Reiki Master. In the process of becoming a real estate mogul. Brewery aficionado. Netflix series critic who is semi-professional. Every day, I assist clients in locating their ideal dream house. After I finish my work for the day, you can find me at Crossfit, doing yoga, or meeting up with friends to listen to live music around town. I enjoy traveling regularly, whether it's relaxing on a South American beach or hiking through Asia's mountains. Now it's your turn. What are your favorite places to visit?

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