The autumn sun put a golden glow across the lush rural scene. I clutched my Calvados bottle given to me by the accommodation owner; I knew I was in Normandy.
I have so often frantically driven through the region on my way south on previous occasions – now I had the time to explore its treasures.
Straight poplar lined roads undulate across the rolling countryside punctuated by orchards of rosy ripening apples. No nonsense square farm houses, a mixture of browns and greys complete the rural vista. Cows, square and brown mirroring the buildings, lazily munching away as if setting the slow pace of life.
Of course, it wasn’t always so gentle, Normans were originally fierce Viking warriors, conquering England and terrorised much of Europe.
They have left a strong legacy; Normandy is full of interesting places for history buffs from the famous Bayeux Tapestry to medieval castles to the poignant Normandy landing beaches.
Picturesque old ports line the coast, medieval treasures like Honfleur and Barfleur to nineteenth-century resorts such as the Etretat and Trouville made famous by artists such as Monet and Courbet.
No more reliable than in southern England, the climate in Normandy is capable of throwing up gloriously sunny March days and dismally wet August weekends. It certainly earned its name ‘pot de chamber’ of France on one day of my visit.
As if by compensation, its food and drink offering has much to be proud of – cidre, cream, Camembert, Calvados and Coquilles St Jaques – scallops to you and me.
Getting there was straight forward. I love a cross-Channel ferry – something about the excitement of travelling by sea – and Brittany Ferries offer a reliable and easy way of getting across to Caen.
Normandy has a wide range of accommodation on offer. I loved the range of quirky chamber d’hôte – bed and breakfast. All easily booked on line before I travelled
All within easy reach, Normandy makes an unforgettable break from it all – organise your own invasion.
by Rowena Cooper, travel writer
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