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Reasons to Visit Normandy

Posted 19 Jul 2023

Normandy is one of the most historically fascinating regions in France. Throughout much of its past, this stretch of French coastline has influenced and reshaped not only England but also Europe as a whole. From medieval tapestries to artefacts from the world wars, history lovers are well-treated in Normandy. However, the region also boasts fantastic cuisine, as well as a beautiful landscape. There are many reasons to visit Normandy, but here are our favourites.

Normandy coastline

Famous History

From medieval times to the modern day, Normandy appears time and time again in history books. The Norman conquest of Britain was a pivotal moment in history for England, as many British historians would agree. Depicted in the famous Bayeux Tapestry, you can experience William the Conqueror defeating the Saxons, setting the stage for modern Britain. On our cycling holiday in Normandy, you’ll have the chance to visit Bayeux and see the tapestry with your own eyes. The town is also charming, with beautiful architecture and a picturesque canal that runs through it. 

Normandy is also known for the D-Day landings. From Bayeux, you can cycle to Omaha beach, where the stainless-steel sculpture titled ‘Les Braves’ sits. You can also visit the memorial museum, and learn more about the events that took place in Normandy during the war. Those with an intrigue for history will find Normandy absolutely fascinating.

Omaha Beach

Birthplace of Camembert

Not many know that Camembert comes from Normandy. Many would agree that this cheese is the most delicious and luxurious in France and a popular feature on many menus around the world. We’ve all enjoyed baked camembert, dipping toasted bread into that rich and creamy cheese. Throughout Normandy, you’ll find many dishes and menus which utilise camembert in a number of ways, from showstopper starters to delicious quiches and delicate tarts. You’ll be amazed at the variety of food on offer when you visit here.


Charming Architecture

Another underrated aspect of Normandy is the charming architecture that can be found here. An example of this is the pretty harbour town of Honfleur which you can visit on day 5 of our Bayeux and the Beaches cycling tour. The harbour-front of this beautiful town is filled with colour, with a rainbow of buildings sitting in front of a small fleet of equally colourful boats. The architecture here is truly unique, with tall buildings akin to those in Amsterdam, and half-timbered homes like British Tudor cottages. Walk down these charming streets and admire the sights and sounds of Honfleur.

The town of Caen is another example of the amazing architecture you can find in Normandy. The abbeys and castles here were built by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders. When you visit Caen, you’ll learn all about how the Dukes of Normandy influenced the region through its culture and architecture.

Bayeux is another town known for its architecture. Boasting some of the best-preserved medieval buildings in France, you’ll find a flower basket hanging from every roof and below every window, making the entire town look like it’s in bloom. As Bayeux is the starting point of our cycling tour, you’ll have plenty of time to explore this gorgeous town.


Wonderful Cycling

Normandy has some wonderful cycling routes for you to enjoy. Across France, there is fantastic cycling infrastructure, making it one of the best places for a cycling holiday. Normandy is no exception to this, and you’ll be able to enjoy all sorts of routes from dramatic coastal paths to quaint country lanes which connect sleepy villages. The cycling routes here also pass through some fascinating historical sites, such as Ranville, which was the first town in France liberated during the war.

Many of the cycling routes in Normandy boast a fantastic variety of scenery that’s ever-changing. On day 5 of our Bayreux and Beaches tour, you’ll experience this for yourself. Starting out in Cabourg, you’ll pass through the seaside town of Houlgate before heading inland to the beautiful Beaumont-en-Auge where you can explore its beautiful half-timbered houses. The route then takes you into a lush forest, or alternatively, you can head to the ‘Parisian Rivera; at Deauvile, before arriving in The charming Honfleur.

Normandy bicycles

Delicious Food

Normandy has a wonderful and unique cuisine for you to explore. The dominant industry in the region is cattle farming, meaning there is definitely no shortage of beef dishes and steak. The many cows in the region have directly resulted in a thriving cheese industry. We touched on Camembert earlier, but Normandy has so much more to offer; creamy Savarin, crumbling Boursin and the delightful Petit Suisse are just a few examples of what you can sample on your travels here. Expect lavish heapings of Normandy cream and Normandy butter with your dishes, the dairy products made here are second to none.

Thanks to its coasts, Normandy also has an abundance of delicious seafood for you to enjoy. In the fish markets, you’ll see giant crabs, fresh oysters, and line-caught fish. What makes the region so special is the mixing of seafood and produce from the land, meaning there’s something for everyone on the menu.

Seafood in Normandy

If you’re looking for more reasons to visit Normandy, call our cycle experts today. Alternatively, you can view our Normandy cycling holidays here.

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Best time to go cycling in France
6 secrets in Puglia
Best time to go cycling in the UK

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