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  • Étretat, Normandy, France

    © Shutterstock

    Étretat, Normandy, France

    © Shutterstock

  • Normandy, France

    © Thierry HOUYEL

    Normandy, France

    © Thierry HOUYEL

  • Normandy, France

    © Patrick Forget sagaphoto.com CRT Normandie

    Normandy, France

    © Patrick Forget sagaphoto.com CRT Normandie

Hear normandy fr

Waves

With its long and varied coastline, Normandy is synonymous with the sea. The D-Day Landing beaches are among the best wide expanses of sand to stroll along and soak up the sound of the waves, but there are plenty of other smaller beaches and shingly or pebbly coves where you can enjoy peace and solitude and be at one with nature. The Alabaster Coast is best known for, and named after, its awe-inspiring white cliffs and rock formations; this is the part of coast nearest the port towns of Dieppe and Le Havre. If you’re in Le Havre, why not sit at the stunningly-located Bar au Bout du Monde – there’s no music played here, so you can fully appreciate the sound of the waves crashing just beside you.

The scenery in and around Étretat is some of Normandy’s most dramatic, while the Côte Fleurie includes some picturesque resorts including Honfleur and the chic Trouville and Deauville. The section of coast between the Cotentin peninsula and Courseulles-sur-Mer includes most of the famous D-Day beaches, while at Arromanches-les-Bains you can see the floating port used during the landings. The Côte des Havres is on the western side of the Cotentin peninsula; it’s here, close to the border with Brittany, that Mont-Saint Michel proudly stands, as well as the resort of Granville. A popular trip from here is the boat trip to the Îles Chausey, a group of islands 15km away with pretty small beaches and natural harbours to explore. 

Music festivals

If you’re coming to Normandy in the autumn, don’t miss these great festivals:

1 September-1 October: Septembre Musical de l’Orne, heralding five weekends of music with 19 concerts, 19 venues and around 600 musicians.

23 September: Rock in the Barn, Giverny

6-8 October: West Park, Le Havre, with 2017 headliners Metronomy, Beth Ditto, and Keziah Jones.

18-21 October: Nordik Impakt, Caen, one of France’s biggest electro festivals including 2017 headliners Modeselektor, Vitalic, Radical Redemption, Manu le Malin and Mind of Us.

17-24 November: Chant d’Elles, Rouen

Cows

Head inland away from Normandy’s coast and the landscape softens into a patchwork of softly undulating fields with lush grass and lots of grazing cows. The cow (la vache) is almost an emblem of the region, responsible for the milk that goes into almost all the local cheeses, and as well as for cream and beef. The Normande breed were first brought to Normandy by the Vikings in the 9th century and is now one of France’s most populous breeds, although average in size compared with their continental counterparts. Their markings make them look like they’re wearing glasses! At Saint-Philbert-sur-Orne in the heart of the countryside, 4 Pat‘Balad gives children the opportunity to ride well-trained, saddled-up cows, safely led by owner Annie.

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