Etretat Cliffs in Normandy © French Moments

Last Updated: 14 July 2023

Normandy combines a rich green landscape with the tumultuous sea shores of the (English) Channel. From the Mont-Saint-Michel to the terrific cliffs of Etretat, the Normandy province stretches across a large area full of cosy manors, churches, abbeys, small historic towns and bocages.


Description of Normandy

France owes an essential part of its history to Normandy. Invaded by the Vikings, it was where William the Conqueror planned his conquest of England in the 11th Century. The famous Joan of Arc was killed by religious authorities under the English occupation in the Middle Ages in Normandy’s capital, Rouen. In the “Belle Époque” era, Deauville became a holiday destination for upper-class Parisians. In June 1944, France’s future was changed on Normandy’s beaches with the “Débarquement des Alliés” (D-Day).

Trouville by Francois Guernier 13 © French Moments
Beach of Trouville-sur-Mer © François Guernier – French Moments

The province’s largest cities are Rouen, Le Havre and Caen. Other medium-sized cities are Dieppe, Evreux, Saint-Lô and Cherbourg.

romantic destinations in France: Rouen © French Moments
Rue Martainville, Rouen © French Moments

Since the French Revolution, the historic Duchy of Normandy has been divided into five départements, numbered 14, 27, 50, 61 and 76. From 1982 to 2015, the 5 départements were gathered into 2 régions: the Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie) and Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie).

Local cider, Trouville © François Guernier - French Moments
Local cider, Trouville © François Guernier – French Moments

Thanks to its moderate Atlantic climate and lush agricultural land, Normandy has long been Paris’ food basket, supplying the richest dairy products, beef, seafood and apples.

Here the palate discovers the pleasures of the farm: butter and cream – such as Beurre and Crème d’Isigny -cheese and apples used to prepare delicious apple tarts. The famous cheese of Camembert, Livarot and Pont L’Evêque accompany most meals. Many dishes are made with a cream sauce à la normande. The region boasts several excellent restaurants and has a total of 28 Michelin Stars.

Tarte aux Pommes Normande © French Moments
Tarte aux Pommes Normande © French Moments

The people of Normandy take their eating very seriously indeed. Norman recipes are usually quite simple, but as they use local dairy produce and apples, the fresh, natural flavours come through a vast range of dishes.

Mont-Saint-Michel © French Moments
Mont-Saint-Michel © French Moments


Since the 1st January 2016, the administrative region of Normandie has included the former regions of Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie.

Regions of France Normandie June 2016 copyright French Moments

Tourist board of Normandy:

Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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