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Things to do in Normandy

Things to do in  Normandy

Welcome to Normandy

Normandy in northwestern France has played an important role in history, making it a popular destination for visitors from around the world. You'll find a variety of private and small-group tours to introduce you to the historic region, whether you'd like to see battlefields, beaches, or a medieval village. Explore the picturesque town of Bayeux, roughly 163 miles (262 kilometers) from Paris, known for the Bayeux Tapestry. This extraordinary piece of embroidery depicts scenes from the Norman conquest of England and dates back to the 11th century. Book a group or private tour with a knowledgeable guide to discover World War II's D-Day beaches, Omaha and Utah among them. Stop at the Mémorial de Caen museum and war memorial, as well as some of the battlefields and cemeteries. Or head to the remote abbey rising from the rocks at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mont-Saint-Michel. A guided tour rewards you with skip-the-line access to one of the most-visited sights in France—step into the refectory, cloister, and church to marvel at the architecture. Food lovers can join a culinary tour to taste the region's famous cuisine, including Camembert cheese and Calvados (apple brandy). Alternatively, hop on a sightseeing tour through Rouen, Normandy's largest city, to take in the cathedral that Monet immortalized and wander through an antique district. Finally, tours to the beautiful port of Honfleur allow you to understand just why the town has attracted so many artists over the years.

Top 15 attractions in Normandy

Mont-Saint-Michel

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Crowned by a Gothic abbey, the UNESCO-recognized medieval island village of Mont-Saint-Michel rises dramatically from the tidal flats of the bay, creating one of France’s better-known images. This island, situated at the mouth of the Couesnon River, is a must-see for history buffs and those interested in religious sites, and is surrounded by some of the largest tidal variations in Europe.More

Omaha Beach

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As one of Normandy’s D-Day landing beaches, Omaha Beach was the backdrop to one of the most significant events of World War II, immortalized in the movie Saving Private Ryan and forever etched into history. Today, visitors to Omaha Beach can follow in the footsteps of the Allied soldiers and pay their respects at the American Cemetery.More

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

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Located above Omaha Beach, just outside Bayeaux, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a moving site. The cemetery is the final resting place of more than 9,000 soldiers, the vast majority of whom lost their lives fighting the D-Day battles of Normandy. Other World War II heroes are buried here as well.More

Pointe du Hoc

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One of France’s most important World War II landmarks, Pointe du Hoc is best known for its role in the D-Day Landings. Today, the promontory overlooking the Normandy coast is a destination for history buffs, those with personal ties to the conflict, and others wishing to pay tribute to the many soldiers who lost their lives here.More

Honfleur

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Famously painted by artists, such as Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, and Eugene Boudin, the picturesque waterfront and colorful harbor of Honfleur are among the most memorable in Normandy. The historic port is renowned for its architecture, especially Vieux Bassin harbor’s 16th-century buildings and the wooden church of Sainte Catherine.More

Rouen Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts)

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Rouen’s Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) was created in 1801 by Napoleon I. It features a collection of over 8000 paintings, sculptures, drawings and decorative art collections from the Renaissance to the present age, including household names like Renoir, Degas, Fragonard, and many more. The museum also has an exceptional Depeaux collection, and is considered one of the most outstanding public collections in France. Visitors can also enjoy sought-after temporary exhibitions and occasional contemporary art exhibitions.More

Arromanches 360

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On the coast of Normandy, Arromanches 360 is a circular cinema with nine screens that work together to create an immersive cinematic experience. Here, visitors can watch an HD film that tells the story of the 100-day Battle of Normandy during World War II, complete with archival footage from France, Germany, the UK, Canada, and the US.More

Brittany (Bretagne)

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Brittany (Bretagne) is the westernmost region in France, a peninsula on the northwest coast that stretches out into the Atlantic. Home to destinations such as Rennes, which has a thriving student community; Brest, an off-the-beaten-path city; and the walled former island of Saint-Malo, Brittany is rich in history, naturally beautiful, and too often overlooked in favor of Paris and the French Riviera.More

Caen Memorial Museum (Mémorial de Caen)

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Located a short drive from the D-Day Landing Beaches, the Caen Memorial Museum (Mémorial de Caen) puts one of the most significant battles of World War II into historical context. The museum gardens serve as a poignant tribute to the international soldiers that lost their lives on Norman soil.More

Pegasus Memorial Museum (Pegasus Bridge)

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D-Day troops arriving in Normandy crossed the Caen Canal as they sought to liberate occupied France. The bridge they used was later renamed Pegasus Bridge to honor the British Parachute Regiment. Now, the bridge is part of the Pegasus Memorial Museum, alongside exhibits featuring Second World War artifacts and soldiers’ personal effects.More

Longues-sur-Mer

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Near the Normandy hamlet of Longues-sur-Mer, Longues battery was part of the Nazis’ fearsome Atlantic Wall fortifications, built by the German Navy between September 1943 and April 1944.Built with huge 152 mm naval guns able to fire up to 12 miles (20 km) away, the battery was strategically erected between the beaches of Omaha and Fold in order to prevent Allied landings on Normandy’s beaches. The night before D-Day on June 6, 1944, however, the Allied troops used a French cruiser and U.S. battleship to send a barrage of 1,500 tons of bombs over to the battery, where the German crew of 184 men surrendered the next day.Longues battery is unique on the Normandy coast: it’s the only spot on the Atlantic Wall where you can still see the concrete casemates and guns just as they were after the 1944 showdown. At the battery, you can also visit Longues-sur-Mer’s command post and the personnel and ammunition shelters. At the cliff edge itself, you can climb inside the battery’s fire control bunker and look out across the Normandy coast for a feel of the past. Film buffs will also recognize the bunker from the classic 1962 D-Day film,The Longest Day.More

Arromanches-les-Bains

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The tiny village of Arromanches-les-Bains played a big role during the Second World War, when Allied troops installed a prefabricated marina just off the coast here. The remains are still visible, and the town’s fascinating Musee du Debarquement explores that wartime history. Now, the village is a key stop for travelers exploring D-Day sites in Normandy.More

Sainte-Mere-Eglise

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What was an otherwise little-known village of the Cotentin Peninsula suddenly became infamous after it was visited by American troops on June 6th 1944 as part of Operation Overlord – making Sainte-Mère-Église one of the first villages to be liberated of the Nazis after four long years of occupation. Sainte-Mère-Église, along with Utah Beach, was one of the two airborne landings on D-Day, because of its strategic position between Cherbourg and Paris. Sainte-Mère-Église is also where the Airborne Museum is located (14 rue Eisenhower), entirely dedicated to the D-Day paratroopers. It includes authentic artifacts like a DC3 aircraft, insightful information and an entire section devoted to the movie The Longest Day, which depicts a well-known incident involving paratrooper John Steele of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. His parachute caught on the spire of the town church, from which he observed the fighting going on below, hanging limply for two hours and pretending to be dead before the Germans took him prisoner.More

La Cambe German War Cemetery

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As the largest German WWII cemetery in France, the La Cambe German War Cemetery serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost on both sides of the war. It’s a moving site, with its grey schist crosses and dark, flat headstones offering a more somber atmosphere than that of the American and Commonwealth cemeteries nearby.Although initially serving as a temporary American cemetery, today 21,222 soldiers from the German Armed Forces are buried at La Cambe. At the center of the cemetery, a 6-meter-high grassy hillock is capped with a single cross and serves as a mass grave for 296 soldiers, many of which are unknown. Just outside of the cemetery, the La Cambe Peace Garden opened in 1996, and is home to 1,200 maple trees, each planted by an individual or organization to symbolize reconciliation and lasting peace. A visitor center is also located at the entrance to the cemetery and offers further insight into the soldiers buried on-site.More

André Malraux Museum of Modern Art (MuMa)

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Home to one of France’s most significant collections of impressionist paintings (the second-largest, after the Orsay Museum in Paris), the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art (MuMa) has long been an important destination for art lovers. Inaugurated in 1961, the museum takes its name from André Malraux, the Minister of Culture at the time, and features a slick modernist façade looking out over the coast of Le Havre.Highlights of the MuMa’s extensive permanent collection include the world’s largest collection of works by Boudin; an old masters area including works by Luca Giordano and José de Ribera; and modern works by Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, Raoul Dufy and more. Of course, it’s the impressionists that draw the most attention, and it’s a vast and varied collection, featuring works by Monet, Delacroix, Degas, Renoir, Manet, Gauguin and Vuillard.More

Trip ideas

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Recent reviews from experiences in Normandy

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Must see!
Michael_L, Dec. 2022
Omaha Beach Half-Day Morning Trip From Bayeux (A1)
It was so surreal and humbling to see what folks sacrificed.
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Highly recommend!!
Carl_L, Sep. 2022
D-Day Omaha Beach Area Morning or Afternoon Group Tour from Bayeux
Very moving to see the flag ceremony at Omaha beach / US cemetery in Normandy!
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Best Tour Guide Ever!
Ben_G, Aug. 2022
Historic Bayeux Daily Group City Tour In English 2 hours (March-Sept)
Her knowledge of the history or Bayeux, as well as Normandy in general, and her ability to communicate extremely well in both french and English was peerless.
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Normandy in One Day
David_A, Nov. 2022
Normandy American D-Day Beaches Full Day Tour from Bayeux
We booked the Normandy tour because we only had one day to explore the sights and wanted to see as much as possible.
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Humbling & Surreal
Leasa_S, Oct. 2022
Omaha Afternoon Half Day Tour to Visit the Landing Areas at Omaha Beach
This was unlike any experience I’ve had and one all need to see to realize the sacrifice of the men and their families gave.
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Tour Guide Makes Normandy Special
Nancy_B, Oct. 2022
Normandy American D-Day Beaches Full Day Tour from Bayeux
Our major reason for coming to France was to see Normandy, and Brad was an essential part in making sure it was an awesome day!!!
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Exciting Normandy
Ann_B, Jun. 2022
Normandy D-Day Beaches Private Tour from Le Havre with Pickup
His English was really good, and he was able to guide our journey to Normandy in a relaxed way while still giving us plenty of time at each site and museum.
star-5
A excellent 1/2 day option to see Normandy.
Robert_S, Jun. 2022
D-Day Omaha Beach Area Morning or Afternoon Group Tour from Bayeux
Our guide spoke English well and was knowledgeable of the details
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All about Normandy

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
CET (UTC +1)
Country Code
+33
Language(s)
French

Normandy information

Number of Attractions

53

Number of Tours

220

Number of Reviews

8,443

Currency

USD
Frequently Asked Questions
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