This charming region is located to the northwest of Paris, about 1 to 3 hours drive away, depending on which side of the region you’re heading to first. There are trains as well that connect Paris to Rouen, Dieppe, Le Havre and Mont Saint- Michel. But I recommend driving a car to and through Normandy, not only for convenience sake but also for the whole experience. The finest time to visit would be from Spring to Autumn that’s roughly from May to September I’d say.

A few famous places in this vast and varied region are ~ Mont Saint- Michel abbey, artist Monet’s house and gardens in the village of Giverny, the city of Rouen, an old port in Honfleur and finally the Etretat cliffs.

 

You can choose to wander through Normandy enjoying time in the lush countryside, discovering the rich cultural heritage of its cities, or picnic at the seaside filled with gaze worthy white cliffs and pebble beaches.

Whatever you decide to do with your time in Normandy, it is an ideal place to spend a long relaxing weekend away.

Here's more about my holiday in this scenic and charming region.

The two best things we did for this trip were to rent a car and book private houses to stay in. It was ideal for us to do this as a family as we didn’t have to worry about rushing the kids to get to the station for connecting transportation and we had enough of home away from home time and space.

 

Oh yes and the drive from Paris into Normandy is one of the most scenic especially in the Spring season. We passed by fields after fields of yellow canola fields and rows of windmills. As you can imagine it was irresistible to not stop and get a few snapshots.

 

Our stay was at locations a bit away from the main towns and coast that we planned to visit. So this gave us an opportunity to truly enjoy the quaint side of Normandy.  One of the places we stayed at was a grand house neighbouring a farmland. We enjoyed our time watching cows line up to go grazing in the morning and return home on the same path by evening, while white little rabbits played hide and seek in the backyard and horses played in their pen at a nearby farm.

The quiet pastoral villages were the ultimate peaceful setting for our getaway.

Visit to Rouen –  the historic capital of Normandy.

Wherever you decide to stay, be it the city or the countryside, Rouen is an ideal location to enjoy some legacy of French medieval times. The stunning architecture in this city will take you back in time and is sure to leave you as impressed if not more as the many famous artists including Claude Monet who painted a series of 30 impressionist paintings of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Rouen.

The city is mainly a pedestrian centre, so I loved strolling through the cobblestones, taking in the views, grabbing some food to have on the go,  later had some terrace time outside a small restaurant and bought myself some pretty roses from a local florist.

Main sights at Rouen

The Gros Horloge  – You’ll spot this huge ornate astronomical clock on the archway literally in middle of town, which dates back to the 14th century. Below snapshots show the two faces of the clock, from the east and west side, and then there’s my face 🙂 .

 

The church of St. Joan of Arc Sadly this is the very town where saint Joan of Arc was burnt alive, many centuries ago and hence there is a church built here in her honour. The magnificent stained glass windows inside are originally from the 16th century church of St. Vincent, Rouen.

 Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen – Its history dates back 5 centuries. The architecture of this cathedral is unique being inspired by both Roman and Gothic styles. It holds the record of being the highest cathedral in the whole of France.

Seaside visit - Etretat

We arrived at Etretat on a sunny day, though it had rained the previous day and later that very same evening. The weather was typically that of mid European spring. The jacket that I wore all morning had no use by lunch time. Strangely,  at one of the locations where we had halted, all the eating places had the same fixed menu with the same prices , which actually made it kind of easy for us to simply choose a suitable place to enjoy our meals, knowing we weren’t going to miss out on anything.

  
We went on to enjoy our little ride in a mini open air bus, up to the east side of the famous white cliff that looks like an elephant dipping its trunk in the water. The most prominent view from here is the sea below and the naturally carved white chalk cliff at a great distance. Also atop this side of the hill stands an old stone walled chapel with a lonely park bench in front of it and further away behind this chapel stands the white bird. Do read the lines below to know more.

La Chapelle Notre Dame de la Garde was built at some point in the 19th century by sailors , destroyed in the WWII and rebuilt in the 1950s.

The White Bird is a monument built to commemorate the attempted non stop biplane flight from Paris to New York which disappeared in 1927. Etretat was the last place where this plane was seen.

After getting some lovely snapshots of the area, spending some quiet time enjoying the cool sea breeze and taking in the view as well as playing around with our toddlers, it was time to take the mini bus downhill.


11 Comments

Kristen · August 23, 2017 at 5:10 pm

I just did this trip recently as well! Is the main picture of this post taken at Veulettes-sur-mer? It looks exactly like it, it’s where my airbnb was. Loved that village 🙂

Gayle Lawrence · August 5, 2017 at 9:28 am

Viv, the pictures and the write-up are great and definitely reflects a great deal of hard work that has gone into it. On going through the write-ups on the places you’ve explored, more than just showcasing your talent, this has proved be so insightful for anyone travelling to these places for the first time and more importantly provides a variety of destinations to add to their list when touring these specific parts of the country. What I enjoyed most was the pictures and history of the Churches that you’ve covered in this section – the Church of Joan of Arc and the Notre Dame Cathedral, so spectacular and I personally love getting to know the history behind monuments so I enjoyed this the most. I’d like to say you are so lucky to have visited these places and what a great way to sum up the memories. Great work Viv….!!!!

    Viveena Rodrigues · August 5, 2017 at 10:28 am

    It’s been such a pleasure developing this blog. Glad to know that it is fulfilling its objective. Thanks Gayle.

Vernon Rodrigues · August 5, 2017 at 7:22 am

Great clicks Viv and what lovely places …
The Cathedral looks beautiful ….

    Viveena Rodrigues · August 5, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Thanks Vernon. Glad to share such beauty.

Stephanie · August 5, 2017 at 6:42 am

Amazing work viv …reading through everything for me was like a short holiday tour . Love the write ups and the beautiful pictures and the most important thing I liked is the small tips you have in case we wanna visit loved it and waiting to read more

    Viveena Rodrigues · August 5, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Thanks Stef .. surely, new articles coming up soon. 🙂

Rajkumar · August 4, 2017 at 2:58 pm

The pictures of the coast is reminiscent of the coastlines along the channel,one can almost feel nostalgic longing for the Dover cliffs. The images are very vividly captured and specially like the spires of the church and the White Bird!Travel on and keep this photo journalistic pursuit up as you share people get to journey with you!

    Viveena Rodrigues · August 10, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Thanks so much

Simona · August 2, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Really seems lovely and peaceful!

    Viveena Rodrigues · August 10, 2017 at 8:06 am

    It was a lovely place to stroll through indeed

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