Eure . Seine-Maritime . Manche . Calvados . Orne
The quintessential image of Normandy is of a lush, pastoral region
of apple orchards and contented cows, cider and
pungent cheese - but the region also spans
the windswept beaches of the Cotentin and the wooded banks of the Seine
Highlights include the great abbey churches of Caen, the mighty island of Mont-St-Michel and Monet's garden at Giverny.
Normandy gets its name from the Viking Norsemen who sailed up the river
Seine in the 9th century.
As the pillagers turned into settlers, they made their capital at Rouen - today a cultured cathedral city that commands the east of the region.
Here the Seine meanders seaward past the ancient abbeys at Jumièges and St-Wandrille to a coast that became an open-air studio for Impressionist painters during the mid and late 19th century.
North of Rouen are the chalky cliffs of the Côte d'Albatre. The
mood softens at the port of Honfleur and the elegant resorts of the Côte
Fleurie to the West.
Inland lies the Pays d'Auge, with its half-timbered manor houses and patch-eyed cows.
The western half of Normandy is predominantly rural, a bocage countryside of small, high-hedged fields with windbreaks composed of beech trees.
The modern city of Caen is worth visiting for its two great 11th-century
abbey churches built by William the Conqueror and his queen, Matilda.
Close by in Bayeux, the story of Willian's invasion of England is told in detail by the town's famous tapestry.
Memory of another invasion, the D-Day landings of 1944, still linger along the Côte de Nacre and the Cotentin peninsula.
Thousands of Allied troops poured ashore on to these magnificent beaches in the closing stages of World War II.
The Cotentin peninsula is capped by the port of Cherbourg, still a strategic naval base.
At its western foot stands one of France's greatest attractions: the monastery island of Mont-St-Michel.
Half-timbered manor house in the village of Beuvron-en-Auge, near Lisieux.
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