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Historically and geologically, Normandy is a unique region in France. From the Dukes of Normandy to the D-Day landings in 1944, from the cliffs of Etretat to Mont Saint-Michel, the region has no shortage of stories and natural discoveries to tell.

If you’re looking for things to do in Normandy, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve listed the 22 best things to do in Normandy below. And if that’s not enough, I’ve also compiled a list of additional activities at the end of the article!

Mont Saint-Michel

Address: 50170 Mont Saint-Michel

  • Listed as a World Heritage Site since 1979.
  • One of the most visited sites in France.
  • Benedictine abbey perched atop the islet.
  • Accessible on foot at low tide or by shuttle.

See Abbey tour prices.

Mont Saint-Michel is a true architectural marvel.

After parking in one of the many parking lots, the tour begins by crossing the bay. It’s from here that you can take the best photos. The abbey rises up and looks gigantic. This is a walk, but you can also take a horse-drawn carriage or bus.

Once on the island, the real historical journey begins. You’ll find stores, restaurants and, above all, you’ll visit the interior of the abbey. Personally, I was as amazed by the abbey as I was by my walks along the ramparts.


The cliffs of Etretat

cliffs of etretat

  • Natural formations of white chalk and flint.
  • Immortalized by many artists, including Monet.
  • Paths for walks along the cliffs.
  • L’Arche and l’Aiguille are popular viewpoints.
  • Protected natural site.

Buy your tickets for the gardens of Etretat.

The cliffs of Étretat are a world-famous panorama. Its arch and white rocks have been photographed millions of times. But there’s no substitute for seeing it for real.

Park in one of the paying parking lots close to Etretat beach. Then, once you’re in front of the sea, you can choose between two cliffs. The most popular is the left-hand cliff. It has long hiking trails. Even if the climb seems difficult, it’s still accessible to everyone.

Once at the top, you can take photos, sit back and contemplate the scenery, or take a walk. I published a long article about my visit to the cliffs of Etretat.

Your visit can also include a visit to the Jardins d’Etretat. I’ve featured them in this article.

For golf lovers, one course is very close to the cliffs and boasts exceptional views.


The Bayeux tapestry

bayeux tapestry
Source: jorisvo –

Address: 13B Rue de Nesmond, 14400 Bayeux

  • Relates the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.
  • A masterpiece of Romanesque art, nearly 70 meters long.
  • Listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered historical document that tells the story of William the Conqueror in the 11th century. You’ll be amazed to discover the tapestry’s capacity for narrative, with embroidery that perfectly details the scenes of life.

When you enter the museum, you pick up an audio equipment. Then you begin your visit at the beginning of the tapestry. You listen to the story as you see it described on the tapestry.

For a better view, the environment is quite dark. Following the audio allows all the tourists to move around more slowly. So even when the museum is full, you still have time to get a good look at the work.


Notre-Dame Cathedral, Rouen

notre dame cathedral
Source: Pack-Shot –

Address: Place de la Cathédrale, 76000 Rouen

  • One of France’s most representative examples of Gothic architecture.
  • The subject of numerous paintings by Impressionist painter Claude Monet.
  • The Lantern Tower houses a carillon with 56 bells.
  • Burial site of several Dukes of Normandy, including the famous Richard the Lionheart.

Rouen’s Notre-Dame cathedral is a Gothic jewel in the heart of the city. It has inspired artists and stood the test of time.

Visitors can admire its imposing architecture and stained glass windows. It houses the tomb of Richard the Lionheart.


The Caen Peace Memorial

memorial caen
Source: Adrian Copos –

Address: Esplanade Général Eisenhower, 14050 Caen

  • Dedicated to the history of the Second World War and to peace.
  • Considered one of the world’s greatest World War II museums.

Buy your tickets for the Memorial.

The Caen Memorial is a very famous museum. It’s very large. Several hours of touring await you.

You’ll discover a mix of information about the Second World War, eyewitness accounts, videos, objects, uniforms… For a history buff, the visit is great.

It is also a symbol of peace. A space is therefore dedicated to this vast and necessary subject.

Since the Caen Memorial is close to the D-Day landing beaches, visitors often do both activities on the same day.

To find out more about the site, please read my article on the Caen Memorial.


Cerza Zoological Park

Address: Départementale 143, 14100 Hermival-les-Vaux

  • Over 1,000 animals and 120 different species.
  • Train safaris and unusual accommodation.
  • The park covers almost 80 hectares.

A zoo is always a popular activity with children.

You can stroll along the footpaths around the enclosures, then hop on a small train for a safari-style ride.

With 120 natural species to admire, the visit lasts half a day.


The Monet house in Giverny

monet house
Source: Beketoff –

Address: 84 Rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny

  • The gardens and water lily pond inspired Monet’s famous paintings.
  • The house includes Monet’s studio. It remains as it was in his day.
  • Managed by the Claude Mone Foundation, which oversees the preservation of the premises.

Book a guided tour of the House of Monet.

Monet’s home and gardens at Giverny offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the life of the famous artist. You’ll discover his daily life, his home and some of his works.

The interior of the museum is fascinating. You can admire beautiful paintings and sketches. The outside is just as exciting. The gardens are an explosion of colors and scents, perfectly maintained to reflect the artist’s vision.

I also have a complete article on the House of Monet.


Honfleur harbor

harbor honfleur

Address: Quai Sainte-Catherine, 14600 Honfleur

  • A unique combination of sea, port and picturesque houses.
  • Honfleur is famous for having been a source of inspiration for Impressionist artists.
  • Numerous restaurants for a meal with a sea view.

Discover guided tours in Honfleur.

The port of Honfleur is a much-visited place every year. It’s not the biggest port in France. In fact, it’s a long way from being one. But its colorful houses, unique Norman charm and stroll around the harbor make it a popular spot for couples.

Stop for lunch at one of the restaurants. If you like fish, you’ll enjoy the fruits of the morning catch.

The visit doesn’t last a whole day, unless you like to stroll around as artists have always done in Honfleur Harbor.


Saint-Malo and its ramparts

ramparts saint malo

  • Well-preserved ramparts separate the town from the sea.
  • Saint-Malo is famous for its corsair history.
  • The town regularly hosts festivals and cultural events.

Saint-Malo is a fortress set on the edge of the English Channel. I still remember my surprise on my first visit.

Park outside the town in one of the paying parking lots. Then walk into the walled town. I advise you to climb the ramparts straight away, using the staircases at the bottom of some of the towers. At the top, you’ll be able to walk up and see different views of Saint-Malo and the sea.

Then head back down to discover the old town. Some stores sell souvenirs and products reminiscent of the city’s past. Others are more modern, selling the same things as all the stores in the other town centers.

The summer months see the city’s population increase considerably. So it’s a good idea to arrive early to find a parking space and enjoy a little peace and quiet, at least for the first hour.


Deauville Casino

deauville casino
Source: Traveller70 –

Address: 2 Rue Edmond Blanc, 14800 Deauville

  • One of France’s most prestigious casinos.
  • Iconic building in classic style.
  • A wide range of games, shows and cultural events.
  • Located opposite the famous Planches de Deauville.

Normandy is home to many casinos. This makes sense, since most of France’s casinos are located in seaside resorts. But the Deauville casino is a special place.

You’ll notice it as soon as you arrive. The building is magnificent. Luxurious, its classical style is admirable. The interior is just as charming. It’s ideally located, right next to the beach.

Take advantage of your presence in Deauville to discover it, and play (never more than you can lose!)


Caen nature museum

Address: 6 Place Saint-Pierre, 14000 Caen

  • Geology, zoology and botany exhibitions.
  • Located in the former Jesuit College of Caen.
  • Admission to the museum is free for all visitors.

Caen’s Musée d’Initiation à la Nature boasts a mix of geological, zoological and botanical learning exhibits. All local schoolchildren visit at least once with their class.

As tourists, you can also visit the museum. It’s not a revolutionary museum, but it’s a pleasant and instructive visit. What’s more, admission is free.


A hike in the Saint-Gatien-des-Bois Forest

  • A vast expanse of mixed forest, ideal for hiking and mountain biking.
  • Several marked itineraries for all levels.
  • The area is prized for the calm and serenity it offers.

Including a few physical activities in a sightseeing schedule is always a good idea. The forest of Saint-Gatien-des-Bois is the ideal place for a bit of sport in Normandy.

It offers hiking trails in an unspoilt forest setting. Although the paths become difficult when it rains (and this is quite common in Normandy), the forest offers pleasant outings in spring and summer.


Rouen Museum of Fine Arts

Rouen Museum of Fine Arts
Source: EBASCOL –

Address: Esplanade Marcel Duchamp, 76000 Rouen

  • One of France’s most important public collections, with works from the 15th to the 21st century.
  • Paintings by Caravaggio, Velázquez, Delacroix, Géricault and many others.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen is located in downtown Rouen. Housed in a magnificent building, it is considered one of the densest museums in France.

The modern, perfectly appointed interior contrasts with the ancient exterior. You’ll admire paintings, sculptures and various artistic objects. If you love art, you’re sure to spend several hours in this museum.

The good news is that the museum is free!


Saint-Georges-de-Boscherville Abbey

Address: 12 Route de l’Abbaye, 76840 Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville

  • A remarkable example of Norman Romanesque architecture.
  • French gardens for a peaceful stroll.
  • Founded in the 12th century on the banks of the Seine.

Saint-Georges-de-Boscherville Abbey stands majestically in the heart of a small Norman village. The closer you get to the abbey, the more surprised you are by its dimensions. The building is quite tall, but what’s most astonishing is the size of the gardens.

Beautifully maintained, they can be visited for just a few euros. If you like this kind of place, your visit can last 2-3 hours. Please note that the gardens at Saint-Georges-de-Boscherville Abbey are closed in winter. The best time to see them is probably in late spring, when the vegetation is at its best and not yet suffering from summer temperatures.


Château Gaillard in Andelys

chateau gaillard andelys

Address: 1 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 27700 Les Andelys

  • Built by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century.
  • Partly in ruins, the site remains impressive.
  • Testimony to medieval fortification techniques.

Château Gaillard is a captivating historic site overlooking the town of Les Andelys and the Seine valley.

Construction began in 1196. It was part of a military strategy to protect Normandy from the claims of the King of France.

Today, you can still see the ruins of Château-Gaillard. Its use as a stone quarry in the 17th century is the main reason for its current state.

Access to the lower courtyard is possible all year-round. The upper courtyard is open from spring to autumn. Admission is a modest €3.50.

Self-guided tours are quick and easy. For history buffs, the best option is a guided tour. These tours are offered several times a day.


Saint-Malo’s Grand Aquarium

Address: Avenue du Général Patton, 35400 Saint-Malo

  • Over 600 marine species to discover.
  • Ideal for families and sea lovers.

The Grand Aquarium de Saint-Malo has been in existence for almost 30 years. It has established itself as one of the largest aquariums in France. It is located at the entrance to the corsair town of Saint-Malo. A visit to the aquarium, combined with a tour of the city’s ramparts, will keep you busy all day.

The aquarium covers 4,000 square meters and is home to over 10,000 animals and 600 species.


Arromanches 360

arromanches 360
Source: Franck Legros –

Address: Chemin du Calvaire, 14117 Arromanches-les-Bains

  • Circular cinema with 360° projections for total immersion in history.
  • Film retracing the history of the Normandy landings.
  • Located on the heights of Arromanches, overlooking the remains of the artificial harbor.
  • Combine with a visit to the D-Day landing beaches for the full picture.

Book your tickets with free cancellation.

Arromanches 360 is a unique cinema center. The film shown in this circular cinema is a powerful reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of that era.

The general public loves this place. History connoisseurs prefer to reserve their time for visiting museums and discovering period objects.

Since its ideally placed, including it in your diary is a good idea. What’s more, it’s affordable.


La Cité de la Mer

Address: Allée du Président Menut, 50100 Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

  • One of the deepest aquariums in Europe.
  • Visit the Le Redoutable submarine, the largest visitable submarine in the world.
  • Located in Cherbourg’s former transatlantic ferry terminal.

See current prices for La Cité de la Mer.

The Cité de la Mer in Cherbourg is a fascinating destination where underwater exploration and marine biodiversity take center stage. It’s a true immersion in the ocean depths.

The site, both educational and entertaining, is a must for those curious about the sea and navigation.

Online reviews are excellent. The Cité de la Mer is housed in the former transatlantic ferry terminal. The building alone is well worth a visit.

Inside, the three main areas are the Ocean of the Future, an exhibition on the Titanic and the Great Gallery of Machines and Men. It’s in this gallery that you’ll discover real submarines.


Airborne Museum

airborne museum
Source: Peter Bocklandt –

Address: 14 Rue Eisenhower, 50480 Sainte-Mère-Église

  • Dedicated to the American paratroopers of D-Day.
  • Realistic staging with mannequins and period equipment.
  •  Presentation of soldiers’ personal accounts and objects.
  • Sainte-Mère-Église is an emblematic site of the D-Day landings.

Buy your tickets at low prices on Tiqets.

While writing this article, I discovered that the Airborne Museum is the highest-rated Normandy museum online. It is a moving tribute to the men in the sky who played a crucial role in the Normandy Landings.

In fact, it retraces the destiny of the American paratroopers who took part in D-Day. You’ve probably already seen and heard some of their story in the movies. But discovering the details of the operation and putting faces to these heroes is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience.

The richness of the exhibition is impressive. The Airbone Museum boasts a wide range of collections. You’ll find the soldiers’ uniforms, their belongings and anything else they might have packed.

Visitors are often captivated by these details, then amazed by the vehicles and weapons. That’s right, the Airbone Museum is packed with big-ticket items. You’ve got planes, helicopters, cannons… If you’ve only got one museum about war, this is probably it.


Alligator Bay

Address: 62 Route du Mont Saint-Michel, 50170 Beauvoir

  • A wide variety of reptiles, including alligators and crocodiles.
  • A serpentarium trail to observe snakes and lizards.

Buy your Alligator Bay tickets online.

Alligator Bay is a zoo dedicated to reptiles. It has been in existence since 1994 and is owned by the Macé family.

The number of alligators is enormous. You have areas with dozens of alligators. All in all, Alligator Bay has 700 animals. The alligators are complemented by turtles, snakes, iguanas…

If you can, attend an alligator feeding. It’s a great opportunity to see their enormous jaws.


Calvados Experience

Calvados Experience

Address: Route de Trouville, 14130 Pont-l’Évêque

  • A sensory experience around the famous Calvados.
  • Discover traditional manufacturing techniques.

Take part in Calvados Experience by registering here.

Calvados Experience is, as its name suggests, a place dedicated to Calvados. This Norman apple brandy is a heritage.

The attraction seems to please, as it is currently rated 4.7/5 on Google. Yet it costs around €15 per adult.

But discovering production methods and tastings are also highly appreciated.


Normandy Victory Museum

Normandy Victory Museum

Address: La Fourchette, 50500 Carentan les Marais

  • Focus on the Battle of Normandy, with particular attention to the daily lives of soldiers and civilians.
  • Scenes recreated with realism in mind.
  • Military vehicles, uniforms and period artifacts.

Buy your tickets for this excellent museum.

The Normandy Victory Museum is not the best-known museum dedicated to the Second World War. Yet it’s well worth a visit.

Where other museums concentrate on battles and large-scale equipment, the Normandy Victory Museum focuses on the daily lives of soldiers. You’ll plunge into their intimacy, their ways of dealing with war, of being a man despite the horrors… The daily lives of civilians are also evoked.

Full-scale reconstructions give us a better understanding. Highly visual, the exhibition is fun for children. They love to look at an exhibition and note a host of interesting details.


Other ideas for visits in Normandy

Not satisfied with my detailed list? Here’s a selection of other things to do in Normandy:

  • The Benedictine Palace in Fécamp
  • Castle of Falaise
  • Le “Château du Champ de Bataille”
  • The Men’s Abbey in Caen
  • The “Abbaye aux Dames” in Caen
  • Old Rouen
  • Historial Jeanne d’Arc in Rouen
  • Abbey of Jumièges
  • The André Malraux Museum of Modern Art (MuMa) in Le Havre
  • Castle of Vendeuvre
  • The Le Secq des Tournelles Museum in Rouen
  • Castle of Miromesnil
  • The ruins of Hambye Abbey
  • Castle of Carrouges
  • The Museum of Impressionism in Giverny
  • Abbey of Montivilliers
  • Pierre Loti’s house and gardens in Dieppe.


As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!