An autumn holiday in France’s northerly region of Normandy is just a ferry hop away across the Channel with Brittany Ferries. Normandy is the perfect destination for a foodie break, come rain or shine: it’s jam-packed with seafood, cheese and cider festivals through to the end of the year, in a setting of gentle countryside with a dramatic coastline. Once you’ve eaten your fill, visit its two must-see tapestries.
Did you know that Normandy’s oyster farmers produce roughly a quarter of all oysters from France? Autumn is the perfect time to visit Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue in the north-east corner of the Cotentin Peninsula which, as well as being crowned ‘France’s Favourite Village’, is also famed for its oysters. Saint-Vaast oysters are known for their subtle nutty flavour and are delicious eaten raw with lemon juice or shallot vinegar. Particularly popular in the autumn and winter months, no Christmas table in Normandy is complete without them. Also don’t miss the famous Maison Gosselin in Saint-Vaast, packed to the brim with yummy local produce!
There are two delicious reasons to visit Dieppe this autumn: the town’s huge Saturday-morning market has just been voted second best in the whole country, and the annual herring and scallop festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary on 16-17 November. Over 100,000 people from far and wide will flock to the quaysides to enjoy the freshest of smoked fish and seafood. Dieppe is also home to the famous Marmite Dieppoise dish, a rich and creamy shellfish bouillabaisse which leaves a lasting impression.
The port of Granville celebrates seafood in all its forms at Toute la Mer sur un Plateau (‘The Whole Sea on a Plate’) from 28 to 30 September. This vast seafood festival comprises over 50 stalls, attracts around 55,000 visitors a year, and no less than 16 tonnes of seafood are brought fresh off the fishing boats for the occasion. Expect markets, pop-up seafood restaurants, cooking demos, free tastings, folk music and entertainment for all the family. Just an hour away from the Mont-Saint-Michel, Granville is France’s number one shellfish port and is known to the French as “the Monaco of the North”.
Love cheese? The town of Neufchâtel-en-Bray, 45 minutes inland from Dieppe, holds its very own festival on 15 September to celebrate their eponymous heart-shaped cheese. Neufchâtel is the oldest of Normandy’s four cheeses – legend has it that during the Hundred Years War between France and England, Norman girls would give English soldiers Neufchâtel as a token of their affection.
There are few better ways to ward off the autumn chill than with a warming glass of Norman cider… and October sees a major cider festival in Beuvron-en-Auge (20 October), one of Normandy's most picturesque villages deep in the countryside. Browse market stalls selling local produce, see how cider is made and enjoy live folk music and family entertainment, all surrounded by picture-perfect scenery.
Browse all of Normandy’s food and drink festivals here.
Finally, it’s two tapestries for the price of one in Bayeux this autumn: the Game of Thrones Tapestry is one of the most ambitious and beautiful pieces of GOT artwork in existence, each panel of the tapestry depicting scenes from each of the episodes aired, and all done in the style of the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry. From 13 September to 31 December 2019, the GOT Tapestry will leave Northern Ireland and will be on display in Bayeux, close to the same site as the original.
The best way of exploring? In the comfort of your own car, packed with everything you need. Normandy is easily accessible via Brittany Ferries’ choice of routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. What’s more, their superb choice of holiday breaks, make getting there great value too!
If you’re looking for a short break, get away from it all and enjoy a 2-night hotel break in France from £121 per person in one of our best-selling hotels. Or, if you’re looking for something longer, nothing beats the freedom of having your own place, and right now you can save up to 25% on selected cottage holidays .
What are you waiting for? It's not too late to plan a late summer or autumn break in Western France with Brittany Ferries!