Map of Normandy, a Region in France
From the world's best butter to D-Day Beaches and Memorials, Discover Normandy with Our Map
Normandy is located in the north of France on the English Channel east of Brittany.
Notes on the Normandy Map
The gray dashed lines indicate the rail lines that run through Normandy. As you can see from the map, Normandy isn't so far from Paris, the train from Paris Saint-Lazare to Vernon (the closest stop to Giverny) takes around 45 minutes, running along the river Seine. The D-Day beaches, the most famous of which are marked in red on the map, are about 150 rail miles from Paris, stopping at Caen where there is bus service to the beaches as well as rental car offices (directly across from the train station at Caen). A car is recommended when you wish to visit the D Day memorials.
Normandy: Places to Visit
Two of the top places to visit in Normandy are Mont St. Michel (Map, Pictures) and Giverny, at the opposite ends of Normandy. These sites are well known to travelers, but the charm of Normandy is visiting the smaller villages. There's a lot of history here--and artists have eagerly sought out the Normandy light.
The Cote Fleurie is the coastline between the D Day landings and the mouth of the Seine at La Havre. The impressionists loved it, and a walk around the quaint artist's village of Honfleur will let you know why. Deauville is a popular seaside resort with a casino, Trouville is a picturesque fishing port with a daily fish market. It became a popular resort town about 100 years ago. Cabourg is a Belle Epoque Edwardian seaside resort frequented by writers like Proust and Dumas.
Caen offers the visitor a William the Conqueror castle and two abbeys, but many come for the Peace Museum, Le Mémorial de Caen, which offers tour of some of the D-Day Beaches. Fewer come for les tripes à la mode de Caen. Caen tripe. You can perhaps guess why.
If you don't have a car in Normandy and still want to visit the D-Day beaches you can take a day coach tour out of Paris from an operator like Viator (book direct) or, if you want to do it on your own, you can take the train to Caen, then take the D-Day Tour, which includes tickets to the museum and transportation to and from the train station, plus a 5 hour guided tour of the of the Anglo-American beachheads. The D-Day Tour and other options are available are available online through the Peace Museum website.
Private, customizable tours are available through DDay historian Paul Woodadge.
Bayeux is home to the tapestry that carries its name, and is also a town full of museums, split between the war and artisan crafts practiced here.
Cherbourg was once a little fishing village but now sports a large historic port. The Liberation Museum is nearby.
Granville is another seaside resort and commercial fishing village, but everyone comes here for th eChristian Dior Museum; Dior grew up here. Go to the Haute Ville for picturesque. Go to the casino to lose your money.
Domfront is a compelling medieval town visitors seem to like.
Bagnoles has its hydrotherapic baths which date back to the medieval times as well as some fine Art Deco architecture from the roaring 20s when Bagnoles came into its own as a tourist spa town.
Camembert is a small village you've heard of if you're a cheese eater. Gawk at the half-timbered houses and picnic by the river with your Camembert and bread.
Evreux has a fine cathedral with great stained glass.
Lisieux (see the drop-down box for English) has a couple thousand years of history under its belt. See Le Musée d'Art et d'Histoire as well as all the historic religious buildings, especially those devoted to Therese Martin (no relation), then head over to Le Domaine St-Hippolyte where you can taste Normandy specialties.
Normandy's Larger Cities
Rouen is where Joan of Arc met her sad end, and is very much an art city along the River Seine. Flaubert wrote here, and there's a museum dedicated to him in Rouen.
Le Havre is the largest city in the Haute-Normandie region and has the second busiest port after Marselle. See the Abbey of Graville, Musée des Beaux-Arts André Malraux, Musée du Vieux Havre, the Shipowner Home and the Japanese Gardens.
Where to Stay in Normandy
Being a rural region, Normandy is worth a week or more. If you're willing to give it enough time, you might try renting a vacation house in Normandy (book direct).
If you'd like specific recommendations on lodging in Normandy, we have a list of Normandy Vacation Rentals in compelling places in the region.
France guide Mary Anne Evans recommends a stay at La Ferme de la Rançonnière Hotel.
More on Normandy
See our Normandy Travel Guide and Directory for more on Normandy and visiting the D-Day Beaches.
The region to the west of Normandy is Brittany. See our Brittany Map for more on visiting.
France Rail Passes
The itineraries mentioned can all be done easily by train. The France Eurail Pass might work for you if you're taking longer journeys in France. Be sure to check out the new Senior pass if you're over 60 years of age. You can book single-journey TGV tickets online also.
If you need to get to Paris from the UK and want tickets in advance, you can order Eurostar tickets online (book direct).