Normandy, Brittany & Pays de la Loire Destination Guide
Normandy is divided into 5 departments, Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne and Seine-Maritime. The area is perhaps most famous for its Camembert and apples, which are a prominent ingredient in cooking as well as drinks such as apple brandy and cider. The landscape is simply magnificent, with luscious meadows and rural farmland, the famous white chalked cliffs in Etretat, and incredible seascapes. There are many historic villages with monuments and museums, distinctive architecture, public parks and gardens, museums and art galleries, cathedrals, chateaux, spa towns and several UNESCO world heritage sites. Recreational activities such as camping, cycling, golf, horse riding, hiking, fishing and water sports are popular with seaside resorts attracting visitors worldwide.
The seaside town of Deauville, known as the ‘Parisian Riviera’ is a top-rated destination with its International Film Festival, pristine sandy beaches and high society glitz and glamour.
Normandy has much to offer in terms of entertainment with traditional festivals and events to carnivals, open-air markets, concerts, music festivals and performing arts.
Calvados is located just south of the Normandy region and aside from the apple brandy, it is most famous for its landing beaches during the Second World War, with a spectacular memorial on Omaha beach. With over 1,000 km of coastline, quaint coastal villages and islands just a short boat ride away, it is easy to see why Finistere is such a popular destination for both French and foreign visitors. The beaches feature fine, white sand and inland there are exquisite nature reserves and protected areas. There is around 5,000 km of marked footpaths, so exploring on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback are popular options when it comes to sightseeing in this area.
If you are travelling internationally, it may be most convenient to fly to Paris and then take a TGV train to Normandy. Most of the cities and villages are connected by rail so it is quick and convenient to get around. If you are travelling to Brittany then Brest Airport has multiple international connections, or you could take the Brittany ferry, which sails from Portsmouth to St-Malo or Plymouth to Roscoff. Travelling to the Loire Valley from the UK it is best to fly to Nantes International Airport, located just 11 km from the city or Angers Loire Airport, which is approximately 25 km from the city.
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