Between 1956 and 2015 Normandy was divided into two administrative regions: Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy; the regions were merged into one single region on 1 January 2016. Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie) consisted of the French departments of Seine-Maritime and Eure, and Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie) of the departments of Orne, Calvados, and Manche.
The main cities are Rouen, the capital since 2016 of the province and formerly of Upper Normandy; Caen, formerly the capital of Lower Normandy; Le Havre and Cherbourg.
The Pont de Normandie is a cable-stayed road bridge that spans the river Seine linking Le Havre, Haut Normandie (Upper Normandy), to Honfleur, Base Normandie(Lower Normandy).
See also: Cities in Normandy
Parts of Normandy consist of rolling countryside typified by pasture for dairy cattle and apple orchards. A wide range of dairy products are produced and exported. Norman cheeses include Camembert, Livarot, Pont l’Évêque, Brillat-Savarin, Neufchâtel, Petit Suisse and Boursin. Normandy butter and Normandy cream are lavishly used in gastronomic specialties.
Fish and seafood are of superior quality in Normandy. Turbot and oysters from the Cotentin Peninsula are major delicacies throughout France. Normandy is the chief oyster-cultivating, scallop-exporting, and mussel-raising region in France.
Normandy is a major cider-producing region. Apple brandy, of which the most famous variety is calvados, is very popular.
Apples are also widely used in cooking: for example, moules à la normande are mussels cooked with apples, cream and cheese, bourdelots are apples baked in pastry, partridges are flamed with reinette apples, and localities all over the province have their own variation of apple tart.
Normandy is also noted for its pastries. It is the birthplace of brioches.
Fisheries Museum, Fécamp
This new landmark museum explores the long history of fishing in the port of Fécamp and in Normandy, along with exhibits from local traditions and history. It also boasts a glass rooftop, enabling visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the town and the sea.
In 1905, Madame Thebault, then a popular actress, planted the first tree on the cliffs of Étretat, marking the beginning of what has since become the Étretat Gardens. The sculptures are inspired by the Alabaster Coast and designed by leading French landscape architects. Contemporary art throughout the gardens creates a paradise of calm while Étretat’s famous cliff formations, immortalised by Claude Monet, make for a breathtaking backdrop
Husky hikes in the Perche
It is often said that the dog walks you, not the other way around, and in the Perche Regional Natural Park this has become a reality, with Sled Dog Ride, a country hike with a difference! Connected to the harness of a friendly Husky dog, head out of the village of Saint-Martin-du-Vieux-Bellême and venture through a beautiful 100-year-old oak forest. At the end of the hike, walkers can enjoy a Norman snack. Hikes run from 7 April to 4 November
Guided day trips by bike with Petite Reine
Petite Reine offers two cycling day trips – Bayeux and the D-Day Landing Beaches and the Mont-SaintMichel – on both standard and electric bicycles, allowing visitors to easily explore Normandy’s historic sites with or without a local guide.
Calvados Experience, pont-L’Évêque
This new tourist attraction explores the history of the traditional Norman drink, Calvados, through multi-sensory exhibits, making for a fun and educational visit for young and old alike. Discover the traditional Calvados production process, how it has changed over the years and what drove it to the success it knows today.
At the end of the tour, over-18s can enjoy a tasting session with a Calvados Connoisseur, and learn the all-important three stages of Calvados tasting: the appearance, the nose and the palate.
Honfleur Normandy Outlet
Just outside Honfleur, the sixth most visited tourist destination in France, Normandy’s first outlet village opened at the end of 2017, and boasts 50 fashion and lifestyle shops selling top brands and last year’s collections at a discount. Open 365 days a year, the Honfleur Normandy Outlet has direct access to the A29 motorway linking Le Havre and Honfleur, making it easy to visit if sailing to the ports of Le Havre or Caen/Ouistreham.
Foodie Tours of the Château de Beaumesnil
Halfway between Paris and Deauville, the Château de Beaumesnil is an exceptional example of 17th-century Baroque architecture. Visitors can now take foodie
tours of the chateau and explore its gastronomic history, exploring the chateau’s beautiful kitchen garden and enjoying toffee making demos and tasting sessions in the historic kitchens.
Behind the scenes at the Haras Du Pin
Nicknamed the ‘Versailles of Horses’, the Haras du Pin is the oldest and most prestigious national stud in France. In addition to the traditional horse shows that take place throughout the summer on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, visitors are invited to take this new tour and find out all the secrets of the stud.
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