More things to do in the area
Showing 46-53 of 53 attractions in Normandy
Famed for its sandy beach and art deco-style boardwalk, Deauville, France, is one of Normandy’s seaside gems. Facing the resort town of Trouville, located just across the River Touques, this elegant destination is favored by big spenders here to shop and hit up the casino. A prestigious events calendar, which features an annual American Film Festival, also draws in the elite.
Caen Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen)
Housed in the medieval castle of William the Conquerer, the contemporary Musée des Beaux-Arts is home to one of the finest art collections in France covering five centuries. Spanning four centuries, the artworks show a remarkable range including an array of European painters starting in the 16th century, a cabinet of prints and an impressive sculpture park.
La Colline aux Oiseaux Park (Parc de La Colline aux Oiseaux)
Built to mark the 50th anniversary of the Normandy D-Day landings, this 42-acre (17-hectare park is an inviting place to explore close to downtown Caen. The free-to-access park has spots for all ages, including a rose garden, small petting zoo, labyrinth, garden map of Normandy, mini-golf, and a café.
Jurques Zoo (Zoo de Jurques)
Spread out over 37 acres (15 hectares), Jurques Zoo (Zoo de Jurques) houses about 700 creatures from around the world. Here you can see everything from pumas to Humboldt penguins, along with a wide variety of snakes, primates, and birds, as well as an Australian aviary filled with colorful parakeets.
Picturesque apple orchards meet historic towns, half-timbered manor houses, and farm-fresh products in the Pays d’Auge, an area of Normandy that exudes rural charm. Located between the cities of Caen and Rouen, the hilly region is a hub for tasting cider, calvados brandy, and cheeses including Camembert, Livarot, and Pont-l’Évêque.
Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy (Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie)
The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy (Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie), located next to a military cemetery in historic Bayeux, retraces the military and human story of the Battle of Normandy. It is entirely dedicated to the different strategies deployed by the Allies before the infamous D-Day landings as well as the battle itself, which occurred between June 7 and Aug. 29, 1944. Topics covered in the 2,000-square-meter space are varied and extensive; they include the Mulberry Harbour, the role of General de Gaulle, Cherbourg; the specific role of the air force, and the Battle of the Hedgerows. The museum features many artifacts including weapons, military maps, 25 minutes of film archives, hundreds of photographs, uniforms, two massive tanks and a diorama evoking the decisive struggle in the Falaise pocket. The museum also depicts the less recognized aspects of the military campaign, like daily logistics, engineering local operations, feeding the troops and caring for the wounded, for example.
Lace Conservatory (Conservatoire de la Dentelle)
Bayeaux is best known for its vast tapestry illustrating the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066, but is also renowned as a center of lacemaking. The Conservatoire de la Dentelle de Bayeux was founded in 1901 in a bid to conserve the local tradition of lacemaking, which began in the 17th century. Bayeux lace is made by hand on bobbins and its delicate patterns come in just three colors: white, black and ecru. While once there were more than 5,000 lacemakers in Normandy, today there are less than a dozen exponents of the art and several showcase their handiwork in the Lace Conservatory.Located in a 16th-century mansion with the figures of Adam and Eve carved into its façade, the conservatory is open for tours of the workshops, where expert lacemakers are always on hand to demonstrate their skills while keeping alive their techniques. Visitors can have a go at creating their own lacy masterpieces and there are year-around exhibitions of delicate shawls, napkins and bookmarks; these are also on sale along with lacemaking implements and books. Individual commissions are undertaken.A collection of handmade 18th-century Bayeaux lace is on show at the Musée Baron-Gérard (MAHB) on the same street; a side trip to the Lace Conservatory can be combined with touring the Normandy beaches.
Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History (MAHB)
Located in a former episcopal palace in the heart of Bayeaux, the Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History (MAHB)—or Musée d’art et d’histoire Baron-Gérard, in French—is a museum dedicated to recounting the backstory of both French painting and Normandy. Established in 2013, it is carefully curated and well laid out on two levels with 14 chronological collections spanning prehistory to the 20th century.Highlights among the paintings at MAHB include great works by Rococo artist François Boucher, Neo-classicist David, Gustave Corot — the precursor of the Impressionists — Gustave Caillebotte and Eugène Boudin. The museum also houses one of France’s most important collections of handmade 18th-century Bayeaux lace, lovingly displayed in the bishops’ former private apartments, which are still decorated with original wooden carvings. There’s an equally impressive display of Bayeaux porcelain and more than 800 archaeological artifacts excavated across the region of Calvados; each gallery is equipped with multi-lingual touchscreens to keep kids involved in the exhibition.The palace itself has a few surprises to spring: Romanesque vaults; grand staircases; a French Renaissance chapel dating from the mid 16th century and swathed in cherubs, and a 17th century courtroom. Entrance to MAHB can be combined with tickets to see the Bayeux Tapestry and the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy.