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Normandy, France is my most favorite region in all of Europe. Oh my goodness, I have such a love affair with this area. If I could, I would pick up, buy a small cottage, and move there today! Below I’ve listed my 7 favorite, most adorable villages (ok, sometimes cities) in all of Normandy, France!
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1 // Lion-sur-Mer (pop. 2,600)
This unknown town to most tourists is the perfect destination if you’re seeking relaxation, quaintness, and an authentic French experience. This past August, I stayed in this bed & breakfast right on the ocean and fell asleep every night to the sound of the waves crashing against the shoreline. My mornings were spent enjoying warm croissants, French bread and cheese, and a multitude of jams on the balcony overlooking the water. This town isn’t popular with tourists so the majority of your time is spent with locals : ) Plus, there are some fabulous, hidden gem restaurants here! Its equal proximity to the D-Day locations makes it a perfect base for a trip to the region.
This town was the first to be liberated by the Allies during the Battle of Normandy. There are famous pictures of Charles de Gaulle walking the streets after returning to France from London. I stayed with my family in this adorable town a few years ago. While it caters a bit more to tourists than the other towns, this town is still worth a visit! Between the famous Bayeux Tapestry and the stunning cathedral, there is lots to do and see. Plus, the shops and restaurants in this town are absolutely adorable!
This seaside town located at the site of Gold Beach is filled with charm, colorful houses, and quaint side streets. There are still remnants of the temporary British harbor built during the D-Day invasion. While the street nearest to the ocean is quite busy and touristy, I recommend purposely getting lost and walking the side streets of this adorable town!
This town has a special place in my heart because my parents were engaged here many years ago! The town is built around a port which is still used today. Although it is a popular site with tourists, I still recommend eating right on the harbor. That way, you can watch the ships come and go :) Definitely one of my favorite towns in all of Normandy!
This quaint village less than two hours outside of Paris (but still in Normandy!) is most famous for being the location of Monet’s house and garden. The gardens and house of Monet are absolutely stunning. Outside of this attraction, the old houses, gates, and churches of Giverny are filled with history and rich colors. This is one of the best places in all of Normandy. However, it is a bit out-of-the-way so plan it as a day trip :)
Not exactly a “village,” but Caen is still a great city to visit when in the Normandy region. Besides the famous World War II museum (which was SO CROWDED when I visited), the city is home to William the Conqueror. The castle built by him still exists and is one of the largest medieval fortresses. Unfortunately, most of Caen was destroyed during World War II. Even without the historical aspect of the city, I enjoyed spending the day here.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the image of Mont Saint-Michel is recognized all around the world. Atop this island is the famous monastery and abbey. To be honest, I found the town down below to be underwhelming and overly touristy. However, the abbey and monastery are breathtaking and absolutely stunning. I toured it at night during the summertime. During the summer months, there is a music and light show at night all throughout the abbey. This made it incredibly special and even more engaging. I would highly recommend touring at this time of day and season, if possible! I think the photos speak for themselves.