Castle Hotels of Normandy
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The ancient dukedom of Normandy offers deep woodlands, open country, and dramatic seaside cliffs as a backdrop for some of the most turbulent history of Europe.
Step in the footsteps of William the Conqueror, stand on the sand of Omaha Beach and imagine the largest amphibious invasion in history, and experience high tide magically encircle the iconic Mont St-Michel.
You can spend your days in idyllic pursuits, sampling the region’s own Camembert cheese and apple cider, and by night, climb a medieval tower to slumber away in your own castle.
Some great reasons to visit
Mont St-Michel is truly one of the great sites of the world. Whether it’s to watch the extraordinary high tides in action or to stand in awe at the magnificence of the architecture, a visit to this magnificent abbey is an incredible experience.
D-Day Beaches Just about everywhere you drive in Normandy you’ll be reminded of 6 June 1944, the day of Operation Overlord—the largest military operation in history. The Landing Beaches, the small towns so critical to the success of the following Battle of Normandy, and the cemeteries are emotionally moving. You’ll need a car, or take one of the many tours that are offered. The sights cover a wide swath of area, so allow plenty of time.
Bayeux One of the few towns to escape heavy damage from WWII, Bayeux offers a stunning cathedral, the British War Cemetery, pedestrian streets lined with traditional houses, and most of all: the Bayeux Tapestry, the amazing 70-meter long, 11th-century embroidered tapestry that recounts William the Conqueror’s invasion of Britain in 1066.
Rouen Restoration efforts have transformed this ancient city of half-timbered houses into one of the most delightful of France.
Spend an easy day wandering its medieval quarter, stopping in at the Gothic Cathédral Notre Dame—a favorite subject of Impressionist artist Claude Monet.
Rouen can also boast of one of the finer regional art museums of France, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, with fine works from the 15th to the 20th century, including Velásquez, Rubens, David, Monet, and Renoir.
Giverny If you're an Impressionist art devotee, a pilgrimage to visit the home and gardens of one of its greatest masters, Claude Monet, is a requirement. The house, now the Fondation Claude Monet, and its gardens are open to the public. No original art is here, you'll find plenty of inspiration in the gorgeous gardens at any season of the year. In town you'll also find the Musée des Impressionismes, which features Impressionist art as well as temporary exhibits.
Caen Even though Caen was obliterated during World War II, today’s lively city offers a number of stunning abbeys founded by William the Conqueror, an enormous 11th-century château (which houses a number of art museums), and Le Mémorial de Caen—a comprehensive exhibit commemorating the Battle of Normandy as well as promoting a future world of peace.
Côte Fleuri Perhaps a tad overdeveloped, the beach side towns of Honfleur, Deauville, and Trouville burst with charm and grace. Honfleur especially is a snapshot of time when artists came to paint the picturesque old harbor and flower bedecked stone buildings. With a 1000-year seafaring tradition (French explorers Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain sailed to the New World from here), you’ll still find fishing fleets unloading their catch along the waterfront—as well as the occasional cruise ship!