Visiting Normandy’s sights means seeing monuments and scenery that we’ve known since childhood, first-hand.
This goes for Mont-Saint-Michel and the Bayeaux Tapestry, or all the scenes depicted in Claude Monet’s paintings, like the cliffs at Étretat, the harbour at Honfleur and the artist’s own gardens.
The impressionist movement was born in Normandy, inspired by Monet’s “Impression” of the sunrise at Le Havre.
Normandy was also famously the site of one of the most pivotal battles in the Second World War, and the coast is peppered with memorials, museums, bunkers and beaches .
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Normandy:
1. Étretat Cliffs
Étretat, in the Seine-Maritime department, is a small coastal commune in the middle of a pretty big seascape.
On both sides of the town and its pebble beach are gigantic white limestone cliffs with three natural arches and a 55-metre needle.
On the beach you can look east to La Porte d’Amont, the smallest of the arches, or west to the colossal L’Arche et l’Aiguille, an image immortalised by Monet and Gustave Courbet.
Past these landmarks is Étretat’s widest arch, La Manneporte, which you can get to with a brief but very scenic stroll along the top of the cliffs on the GR21 trail.