Normandie is a peerless portion of France that borders the English Channel and unfurls a relentless lineup of tourist gems. The historic region covers modern-day Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie and is home to approximately 3.5 million people. From Cistercian abbeys to epic seascapes immortalised by the likes of Renoir, quaint half-timbered village architecture to regional culinary staples like cider, brandy and cheeses galore, 24 hours seems like a cruelly brief amount of time to spend in this part of France. If one day is all you have to spare, however, try to cram in as many of these remarkable destinations and attractions as you can.
Normandy coast – Photo credit
The historic capital of Normandy is a vital cultural hub with a diminutive population of 110,000 people. Bellwether landmarks in Rouen include the grand city Cathedral, Church of St. Ouen and spectacular Musée des Beaux-Arts.
Where to stay: Comfort Hotel Rouen Sud Cleon
Dieppe is a pretty port and La Manche-side holiday commune, famous for shellfish and somber Second World War events. The Château de Dieppe is a national monument and museum.
Where to stay: De La Vieille Ferme Hostellerie Criel Sur Mer
Giverny is most famous as the water lilly garden muse of Claude Monet, who made the tiny hamlet his home for more than four decades. The plein-air Impressionist’s creative lair is open to the public.
Where to stay: Chateau Corneille Hotel Gaillon
The Calvados department town of Bayeux has a remarkable claim to fame in the Bayeux Tapestry – a 0.5 by 68.38 m-long cloth that depicts the Norman conquest of England. The early medieval work has been cited by some art critics as a crude but effective comic strip.
Where to stay: Best Western Du Luxembourg Hotel Bayeux
Honfleur’s supremely photogenic harbour is worth the visit alone, though do stay for lunch. The town has some superb Normandy-style pubs.
Where to stay: La Ferme Saint Simeon Honfleur Hotel
Beautiful Trouville-sur-Mer has a long legacy as a desirable holiday spot on the Normandy coast. A jewel in the Pays d’Auge area of the region.
Where to stay: Beach Hotel Trouville
Trouville twin Deauville is a tony, plush resort commune that, weather aside, would not be out of place on the Riviera.
Where to stay: L’Augeval Hotel Deauville
A strategic spot at the mouth of the Seine and English Channel has been good and bad to Le Havre. The city was razed to the ground in 1944 but rebuilt well enough to earn a UNESCO World Heritage citation decades later. As a result, “Le Havre, the City Rebuilt by Auguste Perret” is a must.
Where to stay: Pasino Hotel Le Havre
The best UNESCO World Heritage Site in Normandy and, indeed, perhaps even France, is the truly peerless rocky tidal island commune of Mont St-Michel.
Where to stay: Best Western Hotel Moulin de Ducey
Caen, the capital of Basse-Normandie, is a considerable city of 120,000 plus people and a fine ensemble of landmarks that includes the castle of William the Conqueror and the extraordinary Abbaye aux Hommes and Dames.
Where to stay: Kyriad Hotel Caen Memorial