Normandy Tours from Paris

By Viator, November 2015

4.5 2457 Reviews | Add your review

Between Paris and the English Channel lies the region of Normandy, abounding in historic sites, moody countryside and culinary hotspots. You can visit some of the area’s highlights on a day trip from the French capital, or take your time and let the Normans conquer you with charm.

One of the region’s premier sights is the breathtaking tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel. The island is connected to the coastline via a causeway, ringed with a defensive wall and dominated by the soaring spire of its abbey which dates back to the 8th century. The town of Saint Malo, although in neighboring Brittany, offers a similarly well-preserved center within forbidding walls.

The charming town of Honfleur, with its unique wooden church and jumble of houses surrounding a peaceful harbor, was passed back and forth between the English and the French in the Middle Ages. More recent history is remembered in the sands of Normandy’s beaches, where the tides of the Channel brought Allied troops to the European mainland on D-Day and the tide of history turned against tyranny.

But Normandy has more to offer than its coastline. The regional capital Rouen is a lively center with rich historical and artistic associations. Joan of Arc met her fiery fate here, while the intricate, asymmetrical façade of the gothic Notre Dame cathedral was a favorite subject of Claude Monet. The Impressionist painter also made much of a scene closer to home, his exquisite garden at Giverny. Here you can still see the graceful willows and serene water-lilies which filled his enormous late canvasses, among the world’s best-loved works of art.

Just looking at a map of Normandy can get the taste buds working, abounding as it is with place names like Camembert, Pont-l'Évêque and Calvados. Apples are big around here, served up in delicious tarts and poured out as cider or brandy. Whatever your fancy, make sure your visit allows time to indulge in Normandy’s renowned cuisine.

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