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Normandy: the coasts of the tide and the landing of the allies

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Normandy is a historical region of northern France, today divided between the two administrative regions of Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie) and Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie).

The region that overlooks the English Channel to the north, and to which the Channel Islands also historically belong, today part of the United Kingdom, is bordered to the south-west by Brittany, to the south by the Pays de la Loire, southeast with Centre, and east with Île-de-France and Picardy.

Lower Normandy, whose capital is the city of Caen, is administratively made up of 3 departments: Calvados (14), Manche (50), and Orne (61). Upper Normandy, whose capital is the city of Rouen, is formed from an administrative point of view by 2 departments: Eure (27), and Seine-Maritime (76).

The Normandy coasts have a great variety of landscapes: In the Mont Saint Michel area the coast is low and sandy, further north along the Cotentin peninsula the coast becomes rocky, in its central part along the Calvados coast (Côte de Grâce, Côte Fleurie, Côte de Nacre) there are vast beaches, while to the east in the so-called Alabaster Coast (Côte d’Albâtre), the coast is formed by high limestone cliffs.

The territory of Normandy is mainly made up of plains and areas called “bocage” a rural landscape made up of woods, cultivated land and marshes. The most widespread cultivation is that of cereals, and breeding is highly developed. The highest point of Normandy is located in the Armorican massif and is the Signal d’Écouves (417 meters), in the south of Lower Normandy.


Tourism in Normandy is highly developed, the region has many attractions that attract many tourists, among the reasons for a trip we find the beauty of its wild coasts, such as the Alabaster Coast area, with the famous cliffs of Étretat, and, in the Cotentin peninsula, the Cap de la Hague.

However, the best known and most visited place in Normandy is the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built between the 10th and 16th centuries on a small granite island in the middle of a bay famous for its tides.

The territory of Normandy is protected by 4 regional natural parks: the park of the Boucles de la Seine normande, the park of the Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin, the park of Normandie-Maine, and the park of Perche. The seaside resorts are also a tourist attraction, especially for Parisians, among the best-known locations are Deauville, Granville, Saint-Valery-en-Caux, and Courseulles-sur-Mer.

There are many historic cities among these Rouen, one of the most beautiful cities in northern France with wonderful Gothic churches such as the cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen), the Abbatiale Saint-Ouen and the church of Saint-Maclou (Église Saint- Maclou); Honfleur, a suggestive Norman port. Bayeux, famous for its wonderful medieval tapestry (Tapisserie de Bayeux), but also with a beautiful old town. Fécamp with the medieval Trinity Abbey (Abbaye de la Trinité); Les Andelys with the ruins of the medieval Château-Gaillard.

Giverny, where Claude Monet lived, and where it is possible to visit his house (Maison et jardins de Claude Monet). The medieval town of Coutances with its Gothic cathedral. Don’t miss visiting the Battle of Normandy sites, D-day landing beaches (Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, Sword Beach), museums and cemeteries.

The city of Le Havre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, completely destroyed during the Second World War, it was rebuilt, by the Belgian architect Auguste Perret, with reinforced concrete tower blocks, an example of urban planning from the 1950s.

The climate of Normandy.

Area: 29,906 km² (12,317 km² Upper Normandy); (17,589 km² Lower Normandy)
Population: 3,300,000 (2008) (1,833,000 Upper Normandy); (1,467,000 Lower Normandy)
Capital: Rouen (Upper Normandy); Caen (Lower Normandy)


This article is also available in: Italian

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