Normandy France Travel Guide - A Vagabond Life
The name Nomandy France comes from the times when the Vikings who were known as ‘northmen’ settled in the area. From then until the modern time of today this northern region has a vast and incredible history.
Archaeological discoveries and cave painting show that humans were present in the Normandy France region in prehistoric times. Initially populated by Celtic and Belgic tribes, it was conquered in 98 AD by the Romans. After the fall of Rome in the 5th century, the Franks became the dominant group in the area and built a number of monasteries.
The region was badly damaged during the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion, the Normans having more converts to Protestantism than other peoples of France. In the 20th century, D-Day, the 1944 Allied invasion of Western Europe, started in Normandy. In 1956 Normandy France was separated into two regions, Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy, in 2016 the two regions were joined and became known as Normandy France.
Normandy France Table of Contents
Normandy France Map
Normandy France Travel Guide
Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel sits on the border of Brittany and Normandy is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the most visited tourist site in France after Paris. Built in 709 it stands on an outcrop of granite rising from the middle of a bay. The buildings that currently stand date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, and include the gothic Benedictine Abbey, the houses that went with it, and the defensive fortifications.
On June 6 1944 the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious operation ever to take place, by July 4th 1 million men had landed on the beaches. It is estimated that more than 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded, or went missing during the battle. There are a number of war cemeteries in the area.
The Bayeux Tapestry is a famous tapestry that tells the story of the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and culminating in the Battle of Hastings. The tapestry is nearly 70 metres long and consists of fifty scenes with Latin captions. It is believed that it was commissioned by Bishop Odo in the 1070s. The tapestry is now exhibited at Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Bayeux.
Bayeux was founded in the 1st century BC by the Gallo-Romans, the city was largely destroyed during the Viking raids of the late 9th century but was rebuilt in the early 10th century. While under the rule of Richard the Lionheart Bayeux was a wealthy and prosperous town however from the end of his rule until the end of the 100 years war the town was repeatedly pillaged. In the town you will find the stunning Cathédrale Notre Dame which dates from the 13th century and the very famous Bayeux Tapestry.
Rouen sits on the banks of the Seine River and is the capital of Upper Normandy. It was once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe. Originally founded by the Gauls it has a very long and fascinating history. Captured by the English in 1419 and then [/lgc_column]returned to french control in 1449, it saw the execution of Joan of Arc who was burnt for heresy in 1431. Rouen was almost entirely rebuilt following damage in WW2.
Deauville is located on the Norman Riviera and was extremely popular with upper class Parisians in the 19th century. Deauvilles beach the Plage de Deauville is very popular and the town is famous for its wooden promenades along the fine sandy beach.
Caen was home to William the Conqueror. The town has retained its ramparts which can be walked upon and gives an excellent view of the city. From the walls you can see the church of St-Pierre which has had its 14th century façade reconstructed, the churches Renaissance stonework has survived intact at the church’s east end.
Chateau de Caen was built by William the Conquerer in 1060. Part of the museum in the castle is where the Exchequer of Normandy was based. Richard the Lionheart held an enormous banquet at the castle, attended by 1000 knights, en route to the Crusades.
The Caen Memorial is the second most popular museum in France, after the Louvre, and a must-see for any visitor to Normandy. It is a moving museum that gives the visitor an hour-by-hour account of D-Day.
St Hilaire du Harcouet
The countryside surrounding St Hilaire du Harcouet is well known for its excellent river fishing and the scenic Lakes of Vezins and La Roche qui Boit. There is a good selection of walking tracks and towpaths, which are great for walking, cycling and horse riding.
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