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Normany outside of the D-Day Beaches

I would appreciate it if anyone would share your experiences in Normandy away from the beaches such as , the following is a quote from a post a long time ago

Lower Normandy away from the coast into the countryside and woodland (known as "bocage" countryside)with medieval forts as well as renaissance-style châteaux, towns and villages with medieval timber-framed houses and manors, cider farms, The immediate hinterland of Caen, for instance, looks unprepossessing but a few miles along the N12 and you're into the bocage and you soon come to Falaise where you'll find the castle of William the Conqueror, the last successful invader of Britain in 1066 (as recorded in the Bayeux tapestry, which is actually an embroidery and probably was made in Winchester or Canterbury, England, BTW!).

Then there are Chateau de Champ de Bataille, Chateau de Vendeuvre, Chateau de Carrouges, Richard the Lionheart's castle at Petit Andelys ...

That is the part of Normandy that I would love to see (as well as the beaches).

Calling out for your advice on this one too.


Posted by
9110 posts

You've got a good start and the area is easily worth a couple of weeks.

The most glaring errors in the quote:

Chateau Gillard is actually in Upper Normandy and can't be reached from Petit Andelys except by foot since the road is one-way down the hill. Petit Andelys is a local name for the village on the Seine and might not show up on a map since it has no town limits. Les Andelys will.

The extant castle at Falaise was started well after the death of William. While he was born in Falaise, it is doubtful the event occurred in the old castle, the ruins of which are no longer visible beneath the present one.

Depending on how you define 'bocage' , that aspect has been fast-disappearing for the last thirty years as fields are enlarged for more efficient farming, even on the Contentin. The term also applied to one of the traditional districts of Lower Normandy, but it was roughly defined and without political boundaries.

You might want to slip across the border into Brittany to Dol for the tallest menhir I've ever seen. If standing stones ring your bell, press on to Carnac where there's more than three thousand in the alignments. Fougeres, also just into Brittany, is an excellent castle and walled city. Saint Malo is probably the best example outside of Asia of a walled port.

Posted by
4066 posts

William the Conqueror's fortress-like chateau in Caen is well worth an hour or two. It's unavoidable in the centre of the city because it is the centre, to the detriment of traffic flow and all that. Caen has its own devastating history from the WW2 invasion, and its war-memorial "Peace" museum on the outskirts gets many good notices (it organizes beach tours too.) Canadians may take particular note of the tank battles outside the city in the battle following the landing.
The city is also a good place to sample crepes, which Normandy serves from breakfast through dessert in various forms and names. It's easy to get a taste, or probably several, of Normandy's famous apple drinks, both hard and soft cider and the formidable Calvados brandy. Train transport from Paris-St-Lazare is easy and Caen offers more choice of accommodations and car rentals than Bayeux.

Posted by
6670 posts

The Bayeux Tapestry was a highlight of our recent trip, beautifully displayed. You can see every stitch the ladies made nearly 1000 years ago. It's a wonderful artwork as well as a piece of history (propaganda). There's a free audioguide and a good film. The cathedral at Bayeux has some of the best Norman (aka Romanesque) architecture I've seen, especially the capitals in the nave.

The harbor at Honfleur is picturesque and pleasant, and the double-nave church nearby is very special.

And Mont-St-Michel, of course.