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The Ultimate 3, 4 or 5 Day Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

Last Updated on February 19, 2024

by Neota Langley

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normandy trip planning

Located along the northwest coast of France, planning the perfect 3, 4 or 5-day Normandy road trip itinerary is an excellent way to experience this diverse region. Boasting picturesque countryside, charming coastal towns, and iconic landmarks, this is an excellent corner of France to explore.

Whether you’re interested in the history of the D-Day landing beaches, the imposing charms of the Mont Saint-Michel tidal island or want to walk in the footsteps of an impressionist painter, you cannot go wrong with a road trip to Normandy.

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Normandy?

Whether you are hoping to go on a cultural tour of this historically significant region in Northern France or enjoy the picturesque towns and dramatic coastal scenery, you may be wondering how many days to spend in Normandy. 

If you only have 3 days for your trip or are passing through as part of a more extended road trip through France, don’t worry. You will still be able to visit the highlights but may have to focus your trip on either the eastern or western side of the region to make the most out of your time.

With 3 days in the Normandy region, you will be able to visit Mont Saint-Michel, Caen and the D-Day landing beaches without feeling rushed.

If you have 4 days in Normandy, you will have time to visit the highlights as well as Honfleur, a charming town on the coast of Normandy that’s known for its picturesque harbour, quaint streets, artistic ambience and the dramatic white cliffs of Étretat.

Ideally, you would spend a full 5 days exploring this varied region. 5 days in Normandy will give you time to visit the highlights as well as a bonus day in Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, which transports you back in time with its stunning medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and grand Gothic cathedral.

Those who have more time can continue to explore more of Normandy itself or even head south to explore neighbouring Brittany .

Honfleur Harbour in Normandy

Getting To & Around Normandy

Getting to Normandy is a breeze, with several convenient transportation options available. If you’re travelling from within France, the region is easily accessible by train.

The cities of Caen, Rouen, and Le Havre have well-connected train stations, offering regular services from Paris and other major cities across France. You can view train schedules here.

For those flying in from abroad, the closest international airports are both located on the outskirts of Paris , Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly.

From there, you can rent a car, drive to Normandy, or take a train to one of the region’s main cities. The train journey from Paris to Normandy takes approximately 1-2 hours, depending on your destination.

If you are visiting from the UK and prefer to take the scenic route, consider taking a ferry. Regular ferry services are operating between UK ports (such as Portsmouth or Dover) and ports in Normandy (such as Ouistreham or Le Havre). It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the sea views and arrives directly in Normandy with your vehicle.

The Eurotunnel is also an option if you are coming from the UK which can be cheaper than the ferry, especially during peak times. However, if you do opt for the Eurotunnel, bear in mind you will have to drive from Calais, which takes around 5 hours. 

Taking a road trip in Normandy is the best way to explore this compact region so if you are travelling without your vehicle, you may wish to hire a car. This will allow you time to discover the highlights at your own pace and stumble across the hidden gems along the way. 

If you need to rent a car for your trip, you can browse Rentalcars.com which compares prices for major companies.

Normandy has a local network of buses and trains, and the towns and cities are small enough to explore on foot once you have arrived. There is a direct train between the two main cities, Rouen and Caen, but travelling using public transport to the smaller villages can be more fragmented with several changes giving you less time to explore your destination.

If you don’t have access to a vehicle, you may want to consider staying in Paris and taking guided day tours out to Normandy to explore the D-Day sights or Mont Saint Michel. 

Omaha Beach in Normandy

3, 4 or 5-Day Normandy Itinerary

On this Normandy road trip, we are taking you on a journey from west to east along the region, starting with Mont Saint Michel and ending in the picturesque city of Rouen. 

The climate of this region is much the same as the southern corner of the UK, they are close neighbours looking out at one another across the English Channel. During the summer months, you can expect glorious sunshine, long summer evenings and pastel sunsets, but be aware the main attractions can get busy during the peak times. 

Spring is a beautiful time to visit, with flowers exploding into bloom after a long winter. The crowds have yet to arrive and you can often enjoy the highlights all to yourself. 

The autumn and winter months can be wild, windy and wet so if you are hoping to wander through the streets, stand tall on the white cliffs and take the bridge across the Mont Saint Michel, you may want to avoid these seasons – or pack a decent waterproof.

Day 1 – Mont Saint-Michel 

Mont saint-michel village.

You’ll find the captivating rocky mound of Mont Saint-Michel, North of the Normandy coastline, where the Breton coast meets the Couesnon River. With its abbey dating back to the 8th century, this island is one of the Western world’s most ancient Christian pilgrimage sites.

Today, Mont Saint-Michel is a world UNESCO heritage site and is France’s second most visited tourist attraction, pipped to the post by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Arrive at Mont Saint-Michel early to beat the crowds, parking spaces can be limited so if you are arriving by car, set the alarm early to avoid disappointment.

If you are arriving by train, head to Pontorson, the closest station to the Mont-Saint-Michel, and then take the free shuttle bus. You can walk across to the island in around 50 minutes, but there is a free shuttle bus from the car park. 

Mont Saint Michel is a tidal island and although there is a bridge connecting the island to the mainland, during high tide times eg. spring tides, the bridge can become fully or partially submerged, so check tide times before you set off. 

Start your day in the picturesque village, wandering through its narrow streets and admiring medieval architecture. Then, spend some time exploring the shops and boutiques, where you can find souvenirs, local crafts, and tasty treats such as buttery biscuits and cider.

Grab a coffee and a croissant from an artisan boulangerie in the village centre before heading up to the Abbey. 

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, perched atop the rocky island, is a magnificent architectural masterpiece. Dating back to the 8th century, it showcases stunning Gothic design and houses intricate chapels, grand halls, and a beautiful cloister.

Make sure to buy your tickets in advance and download them onto your phone on the mainland as internet connectivity is patchy on the island itself. 

Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the charming restaurants on the island, savouring local specialities like salted lamb or a fresh seafood dish.

Mont Saint Michel is a fortified village, meaning it is surrounded by medieval ramparts. Spend the afternoon walking around these ramparts for a scenic tour of the island with excellent views of the bay. You can also take a walking tour of the area.

This is a spectacular way to enjoy the sunset, especially if you can get up to one of the towers – North Tower, Gabriel Tower or Tour du Roi.

You can either spend the night on the island or head back to a nearby village for more budget-friendly accommodation, such as the historic town of Avranches or the charming coastal town of Cancale, known for its oysters.

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey

Where to Stay in Mont Saint-Michel

Hôtel Vert – Mid-range visitors to Mont Saint-Michel will love this comfortable hotel just outside of the tidal island. They have a range of rooms on offer, breakfast available in the mornings and a great restaurant/bar on site.

Le Relais Saint Michel – Those looking for a high-end option close to Mont Saint-Michel will love this 4-star hotel. Overlooking the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, many rooms have panoramic views of the tidal island and the hotel also offers a shuttle service to and from the attraction.

La Ramade – This hotel in the town of Avranche makes for another great base for exploring Mont Saint-Michel. They have a beautiful location in an old mansion, a number of lovely rooms to choose from, free parking for guests and a fabulous breakfast each morning.

Edd Hostel – Budget and solo travellers will love this highly-rated hostel located within easy reach of Mont Saint-Michel. Offering both dorms and private rooms, they also operate shuttle services to Mont Saint-Michel along with Saint-Malo and Dinan in Brittany.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Mont Saint-Michel hotels!

Day 2 – Caen

Château de caen.

Caen is a vibrant city, a captivating blend of ancient history and modern vitality. The city showcases its medieval past with picturesque cobblestone streets and charming timber-framed houses.

Begin your day in Caen by visiting the magnificent Château de Caen. Built by William the Conqueror, it stands as a testament to medieval architecture and history. Explore its imposing walls, towers, and ramparts, and delve into the castle’s rich past as a symbol of power and conquest.

Abbaye-aux-Hommes

Next, take a short stroll over to Abbaye-aux-Hommes, another architectural marvel founded by William the Conqueror. This abbey showcases Romanesque design and houses the tomb of the legendary king.

Admire its grandeur, explore its serene interior, and immerse yourself in the rich history and spiritual significance of this iconic Norman landmark.

Abbaye aux Hommes

After enjoying some of the city’s awe-inspiring architecture, head over to stroll through the picturesque streets of Caen’s Old Town, known as the Vaugueux Quarter. Admire the charming half-timbered houses, quaint shops, and cosy cafes. 

The old town is the perfect spot to stop for lunch. Enjoy one of Caen’s charming restaurants, indulging in local specialities such as tripe à la mode de Caen (a traditional dish) or delicious seafood. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for a wafer-thin crepe at Crêperie l’Instant.

Memorial Museum

Take the afternoon to explore the exhibits of the Memorial Museum, dedicated to the events of World War II and the Battle of Normandy. Explore the extensive exhibits, including interactive displays and powerful testimonials.

This is the perfect opportunity to delve into the history of the 1944 D-Day landing beaches before taking a tour on day 3. You can book tickets in advance here.

Where to Stay in Caen

Hôtel Mary’s – Located in the centre of Caen, this hotel is a great option for mid-range visitors. Offering a range of clean and comfortable rooms, they have a great continental breakfast available each morning.

Clos Saint Martin – This bed and breakfast is located in a 16th-century mansion in the centre of Caen. Perfect for those looking for a boutique, upmarket stay, there are a range of lovely rooms to choose from along with a hearty breakfast on offer in the mornings.

City’O aparthotel – This aparthotel is a good option for those looking for a great self-catering option in Caen. They have a number of fully-furnished flats available and a great location for exploring all this lovely little city has to offer.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Caen hotels!

Caen Towm Hall

Day 3 – D-Day Beaches 

Omaha beach.

A must-visit on any itinerary for Normandy, day 3 brings us to the hallowed grounds of the D-Day beaches. If you only have 3 days in the region, this is a highlight and is the perfect way to round off your trip.

These shores, locations of the historic World War II invasion, bear witness to the bravery and sacrifice of the Allied forces. Immerse yourself in the stories of courage and resilience that unfolded on these beaches, forever shaping history. 

The best way to visit the D-Day beaches is by road trip, with your own vehicle you can take your time, visiting the beaches at your own pace. However, if you don’t have access to a car, several guided group day trips or private D-Day tours are available from Paris or from nearby towns – such as this day tour from Bayeux.

Start your day by heading to Omaha Beach, one of the most significant D-Day landing sites. Visit the Omaha Beach Memorial Museum to learn about the Allied forces’ heroic efforts and the challenges they faced during the invasion.

Pointe du Hoc

Continue to Pointe du Hoc, a strategic location where U.S. Army Rangers scaled cliffs to neutralise German artillery. Explore the well-preserved bunkers and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.

After taking a short lunch stop to enjoy a packed lunch or a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, make your way to the American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer. Pay your respects at the solemn gravesites and reflect upon the sacrifices made by the soldiers.

American War Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer

Arromanches-les-Bains

Next, visit the Arromanches-les-Bains and the Mulberry Harbor remains. Discover the innovative engineering behind the artificial port and its vital role during the Normandy invasion.

If time allows, visit the Juno Beach Centre, dedicated to Canada’s contribution to the D-Day landings. Explore the exhibits and gain insight into the experiences of Canadian soldiers.

As the sun goes down, take a moment to reflect on the beaches themselves, where history unfolded. Then, you can either head back to Caen to spend the night or head on to Honfleur, our destination for day 4.

Alternatively, if you have more time, you can also visit the town of Bayeux on the way back. This is currently home to the Bayeux Tapestry which depicts the 1066 Norman Conquest and dates back to the 15th Century.

Day 4 – Honfleur

Honfleur .

Honfleur is a charming old port town known for its picturesque harbour, vibrant art scene, and quaint streets lined with colourful half-timbered houses.

Spend the morning wandering around Vieux Bassin, the heart of the port. Quaint buildings, artisan shops, bakeries and restaurants line the street, looking out on the harbour. You can organise a walking tour if you prefer.

Honfleur is pretty as a picture and has long been an artistic haven. Museums and galleries showcase masterpieces that pay homage to its Impressionist heritage. Notably, the birthplace of Eugène Boudin, mentor to Claude Monet, Honfleur holds pride in its connection to these renowned artists.

You’ll find numerous galleries across the town, but if you don’t feel like meandering through a gallery, you’ll often find artists set up with easels along the Vieux Bassin, painting the waterfront scenes just as the impressionists did 200 years before them.

Honfleur’s most famous landmark is the largest wooden church in France, Église Sainte Catherine. A short walk away from the hustle and bustle of the harbour, the church is free to enter and the interior is a marvel of craftsmanship. 

The church was built by shipbuilders in the 15th century using wood from local forests. Don’t forget to look up at the unique ceiling which looks like two upside-down ships’ hulls.

Eglise Saint Catherine

Grab a picnic from Honfleur, a variety of local delights such as Camembert and Pont-l’Évêque Cheese or a slice of Tarte Tatin (caramelised apple tart) and take a drive out to the dramatic white cliffs of Étretat. You can also take a bus from Honfleur to Étretat with a change in La Havre. 

Nestled along the picturesque cliffs of the Alabaster Coast in Normandy, Étretat is a charming seaside village renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. Its iconic white chalk cliffs, including the majestic formations of the Falaise d’Amont and Falaise d’Aval, have inspired countless artists and writers throughout history.

Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, admiring panoramic views of the English Channel and the famous Arch and Needle rock formations. Then, for the best view of the Needle Rock and Elephant Trunk, head up to the cliff paths and take a hike out of the village.

The views from either end are breathtaking, but Falaise Aval offers better views of the needle and the third arch, making it the most popular route.

Spend the evening in the sunshine sitting out on a restaurant terrace in the village. Normandy is known for its apple orchards, so make sure to sample some local cider with your dinner or try some apple brandy, known as calvados.

If you only have 4 days, this is the perfect way to round off your trip.

Cliffs at Etretat

Where to Stay in Honfleur

B&B Le Fond de la Cour – This cosy bed and breakfast makes for the perfect mid-range base in Honfleur. They have a number of lovely rooms on offer, a delightful garden courtyard and terrace, and a wonderful breakfast in the mornings.

A L’ecole Buissonniere – Another rustic yet comfortable bed and breakfast, this is a great place to base yourself in Honfleur. They have a number of comfortable rooms on offer, a wonderful breakfast available in the morning and a great location.

La Petite Folie – Situated in the historic centre of Honfleur, this modern bed and breakfast is a great choice for those looking for a comfortable base in this area of Normandy. They have a number of great rooms to choose from and plenty of amenities for guests.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Honfleur hotels!

Day 5 – Rouen

Rouen cathedral.

Welcome to Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, France. This enchanting city, steeped in rich history and architectural splendour, boasts magnificent Gothic cathedrals, charming cobblestone streets, and a vibrant cultural scene.

Start your day in Rouen by visiting the magnificent Rouen Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture immortalised by Claude Monet’s paintings. Admire the intricate facade and explore the interior, including the stunning stained glass windows.

During the summer months, make sure to return to the cathedral at dusk, as it transforms into a sound and light show. The themes change regularly, ranging from Joan of Arc, the Viking adventure or the impressionist movement. 

Explore the Historic Centre

Next, take a stroll through the charming streets of the historic centre, making your way to the Gros Horloge, an iconic 14th-century astronomical clock. The clock’s mechanism is thought to be one of the oldest in France, the movement having been made in 1389. 

Spend the early afternoon exploring the Rue du Gros-Horloge, a vibrant street lined with shops and cafes. Indulge in retail therapy or relax at a sidewalk café while enjoying the lively atmosphere. You take a walking tour of the area.

This is the perfect place to stop for lunch at one of Rouen’s cosy bistros, savouring local specialities such as duck confit, creamy Normandy cheeses, or a savoury galette.

Astronomical Clock at Rouen

Musée des beaux-arts de Rouen & Musée Le Secq des Tournelles

After lunch, take your pick from several world-class museums and galleries. Visit the Musée des beaux-arts de Rouen (Fine Arts Museum of Rouen), home to the second-largest collection of Impressionist works in France.

For a more unusual artistic experience, the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles is a must-visit. Home to unusual, ornate pieces of wrought ironwork.

Ordinary objects like hinges, tools, signs, locks, and cutlery undergo a surreal transformation, resembling works of art straight out of the Surrealist movement. They metamorphose into whimsical faces,  intricate swirling patterns, and animal-like forms.

Joan of Arc Square

If art is not your thing, head to the Joan of Arc Square and the Church of Saint Joan of Arc, an open-air museum experience dedicated to retelling the story of Saint Joan of Arc. This is a truly immersive experience with projected images and films on the building’s stone walls.

Inside the Churchl of St. Joan of Arc

Seine River Cruise

If you have time, taking a boat trip on the Seine River is a wonderful way to view the city and Normandy countryside from a different perspective to bring your 5 days in Normandy to a close.

Leaving from Rouen, embark on a 1.5-hour sailing around the marina. Learn about the history of the area with a local guide, before returning to the docks. 

Those who have a bit more time or are heading back to Paris from here may love to stop in the town of Giverny, which was once home to impressionist painter Claude Monet.

Normandy is a diverse region, with bags of history and culture to discover alongside the beautiful French countryside. Whether you are lucky enough to have 5 days to explore Normandy or are only passing through, you’re bound to be enchanted by this region. So pack your picnic, and hit the road for a Normandy road trip you’ll never forget. 

Are you planning to visit Normandy? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

normandy trip planning

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Neota Langley

About Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

Day 5 – Rouen

Seine River Cruise – we are travelling this coming May and are following your suggestions. Do you know the name of the Co. we could book a tour with? Thank you Jane Canada

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The Geographical Cure

The Ultimate One Week Road Trip Itinerary For Normandy

Exploring Normandy? Here’s my guide to a one week road trip in this beautiful and storied region of northern France.

This guide covers all the top attractions and must visit towns in Normandy to see in 7 days. I also give you options for extending your trip in Normandy.

the picturesque town of Bayeux, a must visit destination in Normandy

Normandy is a region steeped in history. In Normandy, legendary figures like William the Conquerer and Joan of Arc changed the course of history.

Normandy’s landscapes inspired the Impressionist painters. D-Day beaches commemorate the horror of WWII. In Bayeux, a 1,000 year old tapestry tells the story of medieval warfare and sieges.

Handsome Normandy is crammed with appealingly diverse landscapes. From its picturesque pastures to its ancient fishing harbors, Normandy is a bucolic melange of medieval towns, sun-drenched seaside resorts, and towering Gothic cathedrals.

Pinterest pin for one week in Normandy itinerary

Colorful half timbered architecture, windows bursting with flower boxes, is everywhere. Weathered slate-steepled churches decorate apple orchards, which produce the region’s famed cider. Seaside pleasures, set against chalky cliffs, cater to the senses.

Normandy is the birthplace of the Impressionism movement. No place is more linked to a particular art movement than Normandy is linked to Impressionism.

Impressionists didn’t just share a unique style of painting, focused on light and color. The artists found a common muse in Normandy.

a cozy street in Rouen with beautiful half timber architecture

Here’s an overview of my recommended one week itinerary for visiting Normandy:

  • Day 1 : Drive to Rouen, stop in Giverny or at Chateau Gaillard
  • Day 2 : Explore Rouen
  • Day 3 : Drive to Honfleur
  • Day 4 : Day Trip To Etretat and/or Fecamp
  • Day 5 : Day trip to Le Havre or Deauville
  • Day 6 : Drive To Bayeux
  • Day 7 : Day Trip to D Day Beaches
  • More time: Mont Saint-Michel and Brittany

This 1 week itinerary assumes you’re departing for Normandy from Paris. If you want to spend time in Paris, I have a 3 day itinerary for Paris and a 5 day itinerary for Paris you may find useful.

For this Normandy itinerary, you’ll have three bases: (1) Rouen (2 nights); Honfleur (3 nights); and Bayeux (2 nights). If you don’t want to move bases, you can just pick one. The destinations in this Normandy itinerary aren’t far apart.

map of Normandy

I would recommend Bayeux, a beautiful town right out of the middle ages. Bauyeux is near the inland towns, but still only 4 miles from the coast of Normandy.

There are 16 direct trains from Paris from Bayeux, if you’d prefer not to drive from Paris. Honfleur also makes a good base, central to all the Normandy destinations I’ve listed.

This detailed 7 day road trip itinerary for Normandy has a mix of historic sites, leisurely villages, and nature. It’s perfectly adjustable, giving you some destination inspiration for Normandy.

You can make the road trip shorter or longer, depending on your available vacation time or personal fast/slow travel pace. If you just have a long weekend, skip Giverny and Rouen and head right to Honfleur or Bayeux.

the artist Claude Monet's house in Giverny, a must visit town in Normandy

One Week In Normandy Itinerary

Here’s how to spend 7 blissful days in beautiful Normandy.

Day 1: Paris To Rouen, Stop at Giverny or Chateau Gaillard En Route

On day 1, you’ll depart from Paris and head west on the A13 to the medieval town of Rouen.

En route, depending on your interest, stop in either Giverny (home of Claude Monet) or at Chateau Gaillard (medieval ruins of Richard Lionheart’s fortress).

1. Option 1: Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny

En route, follow signs for Vernon and stop in Giverny. Giverny is about a one hour drive from Paris. Rouen is approximately 45 minutes further on from Giverny.

rose trellises in Monet's Clos Normand in Giverny

Giverny is the perfect place to start your Normandy adventure. Giverny is home to the house and gardens of Impressionist painter Claude Monet. It’s a one-of-a-kind pastoral paradise, born from the great artist’s obsession.

READ : The Monet Guide To Paris

Monet lived half his life in Giverny. You won’t find any original Monet paintings. Instead, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into one of his utopian paintings.

In Giverny, Monet, a devoted horticulturist, created an ethereal and exquisitely staged garden in the French-Norman countryside. With the scent of roses wafting in the air, Monet’s garden is one of the world’s most beautiful and popular gardens.

Monet's water garden

To wander through Monet’s Garden is akin to living in one of his paintings. A world of flowers of every color fills your field of view, nodding slightly in the breeze. It looks like a paint factory explosion, or a few flicks of Monet’s paintbrush.

There are two parts to Monet’s labor-of-love gardens — the Clos Normand flower garden and the Water Garden. The Clos Norman is a boldly colored display and expressly Western. The Water garden is organic, Asian, and more exotic.

The two gardens are connected by a tunnel passing under the road. The gardens are immensely popular — a pilgrimage and mecca for Monet fans, Francophiles, and avid gardeners.

Here’s my complete guide to visiting Giverny . Click here to book a 1.5 hour guided tour of Monet’s house and gardens. Click here to book a skip the line ticket + 2 hour guided tour.

ruins of Richard Lionheart's Chateau Gaillard in Normandy

2. Option 2: Chateau Gaillard

If you’re a ruin luster who’d like to avoid tourists, stop in Les Andelys on the Seine River to visit Chateau Gaillard . It’s a designated historic monument in France. Its name means “strong castle.”

Richard the Lionheart built Chateau Gaillard between 1196-98. Perched on the Seine, the fortress secured the western border of France and was a symbol of power. The fortress changed hands and endured various sieges until Henry IV ordered its destruction in 1603.

You can explore the chateau grounds year round. With a ticket, from March to November, you can head inside and visit the inner bailey, and upper courts, and dungeon.

aerial view of inner bailey of Chateau Gaillard, a historic ruin in Normandy

For the time, Chateau Gaillard had an innovative design.

The fortress was one of the earliest known examples in which machicolations were used – openings in the floor of battlements through which objects and hot liquids were thrown on would be attackers.

The chateau’s successive rings of moats and fortifications made the inner keep almost impregnable. It features a “stepped” or “scalloped” wall at the top of the defences. This allowed soldiers to shoot between sections of wall.

the pretty village of Lyon-la-Foret near Rouen in Normandy

Chateau Gaillard is 55 minutes from your destination of Rouen. If you have extra time en route to Rouen, you can also stop in the pretty village of Lyon-la-Foret, 30 minutes from the chateau.

Designated one of France’s Les Plus Beaux Villages, Lyons-la-Foret is a classic French village with half-timbered houses. It dates from the 17th and 18th century.

The town has cozy cafes, quaint antique shops, and a covered marketplace. If you want to grab some lunch, try Le Bistro du Grand Cerf, Le Petit Lyons, or La Licorne.

beautiful half timbered architecture in Rouen

From Lyons-la-Foret, it’s about 45 minutes to Rouen, which will be your first base.

Where to stay in Rouen : Hotel de Bourgtheroulde , Hotel Cardinal , Le Vieux Carre

Where to eat in Rouen : Restaurant Gill (Michelin), Restaurant Origine, l’Odas (Michelin), La Pecherie, Au Bouillon Normand

Day 2: Explore Rouen

Medieval Rouen is 2000 years old. It’s one of Normandy’s most engaging and historically rich destinations, with half timbered homes and winding medieval lanes.

With its lantern tower piercing the clouds, Cathdrale Notre-Dame de Rouen is Rouen’s crown jewel.

the Great Clock in Rouen

Rouen’s central square is where Joan of Arc, the teen who rallied France to drive out the English, was tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1431. During WWII, Allied bombing raids laid waste to the city. A lot to endure, no?

But Rouen is still lovely and its cobbled old town is a joy to wander. You may want to book a guided walking tour .

Stroll the length of the Rue du Gros Horloge, the pedestrianized main drag, to Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Along the way, take in all the colorful half timbers, the Place du Vieux Marche, the massively ornate Great Clock, and the modern Joan of Arc Church. If you have time, climb the clock tower’s 100 steps for panoramic views.

cityscape of Rouen with Rouen Cathedral

Rouen’s Notre Dame Cathedral is a landmark of art history, one of Europe’s best cathedrals. Constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries, the cathedral was built on the foundations of a 4th century basilica.

The cathedral rises 151 meters tall, making it one of the tallest in France. The Dukes of Normandy were traditionally crowned and buried there. Richard the Lionhearted insisted his heart be kept there. You can still see what Impressionist artist Claude Monet painted more than a century ago.

Rouen also has a wonderful museum, the Musée des Beaux-Arts. It has masterpieces from the 15th century to the 21st century, including works from Velazquez, Van Dyke, Delacroix, Gericault, Delaroche, and the Impressionists.

>>> Click here to book a walking tour of Rouen

READ : Guide To the Impressionism Trail in Normandy

the beautiful harbor of Honfleur, a must visit stop on your one week in Normandy itinerary

Day 3: Drive To Honfleur

On day 3, head to Honfleur, your next base for 3 nights. Honfleur is a 50+ minute drive from Rouen. So, if you start early, you can spend most of the day there. To get oriented, you may want to book a 1.5 hour guided walking tour .

Honfleur is a classic Norman town, dubbed “the jewel of Normandy.” In Honfleur, the Seine flows into the English Channel, reflections mirrored in Le Vieux Bassin or old harbor.

The novelist Baudelaire once declared, “Honfleur has always been the dearest of my dreams.” Victor Hugo called Honfleur “a ravishing port full of masts and sails, crowned with green hills and surrounded by narrow houses.

READ : Guide To the Victor Hugo Museum in Paris

Honfleur is lined with gorgeous 16th to 18th century row houses with slate roofs and facades. Honfleur also has some beautiful churches and is laced with a maze of tiny cobbled streets.

medieval Church of Saint Catherine in Honfleur

The medieval Church of Saint Catherine is the largest wooden church in France, and Honfleur’s spiritual heart. It was built in the 15th century by sailors.

All this beauty besotted the Impressionists and fellow artists and writers. Art historians claimed that Honfleur was the “birthplace of Impressionism. There, local artist Eugene Boudin urged Monet to paint outside in “plein air,” changing the course of art history.

Honfleur is a cultural treasure. Not surprisingly for a town that begs to be painted, the town boasts 95 art galleries, with works by contemporary painters keeping Boudin’s spirit alive.

pretty architecture in historic Honfleur

Housed in a 19th century chapel, the Musee Eugene Boudin is a pleasing small museum with airy rooms. You’ll find myriad samples of dreamy coastal scenes by the Normandy-loving Impressionists, especially the Honfleur School.

There are plenty of meteorological coastal scenes by its namesake painter Boudin. There are also paintings by the likes of Courbet, Monet, Vuillard, Sisley, and Pissarro. You can see how Boudin inspired later masters, who took Boudin’s techniques to the next level.

Where to stay : Hotel de la Cheval Blanc , Horel de l’Ecrin , Hotel du Dauphin , La Maison de Lucie

Where to eat : La Bouilland Normand, Cote Resto, Restaurante la Lieutenance, Au P’tit Mreyeur, Fereme Saint Simeon, Sa.Qua.Na (Michelin), Entre Terre et Mer

white cliffs of Etretat

Day 4: Explore Honfleur + Half Day Trip To Etretat or Full Day Trip to Etretat and Fecamp

1. option 1: morning in honfleur, afternoon in etretat.

Spend the morning exploring or going to the museum, if you didn’t get a chance on your first day in Honfleur. After lunch, drive to the famous white cliffs of Etretat.

It’s an approximately 1.5 hour drive. En route, you’ll drive over the Pond de Normandie, the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world.

Sleepy Etretat is a classic old world French town with absolutely mesmerizing scenery. Etretat is set on the sea. Waves crash against the shores of a jagged chalky coastline, with a pretty beach promenade.

A monumental arch, Porte d’Aval, plunges into the sea. It’s France’s version of England’s White Cliffs of Dover.

white cliffs of Etretat Normandy

The town’s indescribable natural beauty inspired artists like Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Eugene Boudin, and Gustave Courbet. The cliffs, known as the Elephant and the Needle, were one of the artists’ favorite spots to paint. They’re huge and beautiful; softly undulating and momentous.

The best way to admire the seascape is to walk along the cliffs. It’s not intimidating at all. On your walk, you’ll come across the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. The original was destroyed in WWII, but it was rebuilt in the 1950s.

When you’re done admiring the caves and tunnels carved into the cliffs, head down the staircase to the sparkling turquoise waters of Etretat Beach. The water is cold, but the pebbles are soft and smooth, not hard on the feet.

Etretat’s town center is quaint and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s bursting with shops, eateries, and art galleries.

Cider is a local specialty and there are plenty of crepes. There’s also quite a number of small bed and breakfasts — a testament to Etretat’s appeal to (mostly) French tourists.

Benedictine Palace Museum in Fecamp

2. Option 2: Full Day Trip to Both Etretat and Fecamp

Fecamp is about 25 minutes east of Etretat. Like Etretat, Fecamp is a pretty coastal resort town with dramatic white cliffs, just a 5 minute walk from the town center. You can stroll along the beaches and admire the lighthouse.

Cap Fagnet is Fecamp’s famous viewpoint, just across the port. On one side, you can admire the cliffs. On the other, you can see Fecamp’s harbor and block houses.

While in Fecamp, you should visit the Abbatiale de la Ste-Trinite, or the Benedictine Palace Museum. Built by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th and 13th centuries, it was the most important pilgrimage sites in Normandy until Mont Saint-Michel was built. Now, it has both Neo-Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements.

The abbey is famous for its Benedictine liqueur, which is still produced onsite. You’ll get a sip at the end of your visit. If you’re staying in Fecamp for dinner, you’ll find some good seafood restaurants. Try Chez Nounoute or La Maree

pretty houses in Deauville, a beautiful town on the coast of Normandy

Day 5: Day Trip To Deauville or Le Havre

On day 5, head to either Deauville or Le Havre. Your choice will depend on where you interests lie.

Deauville is an utterly charming resort town on the Parisian Riviera, about 25 minutes from Honfleur. In Deauville, you can hit the beach, relax, and enjoy the social whirl.

By contrast, Le Havre is for art lovers. Le Havre is also only 25 minutes afield as well. The town has one of France’s best museums, with a stunning collection of Impressionism.

the forest of colorful umbrellas that are permanent fixtures in Deauville

1. Option 1: Deauville

Glamorous Deauville is a favorite spot of wealthy Parisians. Deauville is like the Hamptons of Paris, a convenient and luxe beach resort just far enough to escape the bustle and heat of city life. The town is part of the “Parisian Riviera.”

The Parisian Riviera stretches for 25 miles between Caen and Honfleur and is known as the Cote Fleurie, or Flower Coast. In The Great Gatsby , Fitzgerald has his protagonists spend part of the year in Deauville.

Deauville is a beautiful town. It’s stuffed with aristocratic Anglo-Norman mansions from the Victorian era.

They’re elegant old world half timbered homes with Queen Anne style accents and witches’ hat turrets The houses are even more distinctive and ornamental than those in Alsace.

normandy trip planning

Aside from architecture, Deauville is renowned for its stately seaside strand (Promenade des Planches), horse racing, luxury shopping, delicious cuisine, and film festivals. Enjoy a stroll down the promenade and stop for lunch at Augusto Chez Laurent or La Peniche.

In addition to attracting Parisians, Deauville also enamored the Impressionist painters. Those included Monet, Berthe Morisot, Boudin, and Gustave Caillebotte. Lured by the setting, they set up their easels outside on the beach and painted Deauville’s beautiful coastal landscapes.

If you don’t want to indulge in beach time, instead take a coastal drive along the Cote Fleurie and see its other villages — Trouville-sur-Mer, Cabourg, Houlgate, and Cricqueboeuf. Trouville’s beach is known as the “Queen of the Beaches.”

the MUMA Museum in Le Havre

2. Option 2: Le Havre

As a result of Allied bombing, Le Havre was largely obliterated during WWII.

The town was rebuilt by the Belgian architect Auguste Perret, a mentor to Le Corbusier. His post-war modernist vision still marks the town, earning the first UNESCO designation for an urban center in 2005.

Le Havre was a favorite haunt of the Impressionist artists. Its location at the mouth of the Seine estuary gave the town exceptional light.

The water runs in a current, giving off glimmer and glints as the light catches it. Le Havre’s port, dockyards, beaches, and regattas inspired all the major players in Impressionism.

Monet, Impression: Sunrise, 1972 -- in the Musee Marmottan Monet

Claude Monet grew up in le Havre. In 1872, when he was 32, he painted the groundbreaking harbor scene Impression: Sunrise . It’s in a small secret museum in Paris , the Musee Marmottan Monet. The Post-Impressionist Raoul Dufy was also born in Le Havre.

The once gritty town has become a dynamic art center. The Andre Malraux Museum of Modern Art (known as MUMA), in and of itself, is an excellent reason to visit Le Havre.

Housed in a light-filled building overlooking the Seine, MUMA boasts one of the largest collections of French Impressionism in the world. It’s a mini Musee d’Orsay without the Paris crowds. There are works by Boudin, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Pissarro, Courbet, and Dufy.

For lunch, have some crepes at the Creperie Soizic in the old quarter. For a cocktail, try L’Abri-Cotier on the promenade.

historic center of Bayeux

Day 6: Drive To Bayeux

On day 6, drive west from Honfleur to Bayeux. It’s about a one hour drive.

You’ll have the entire day to poke around and explore this delightful medieval town. You may want to book a 2 hour walking tour .

If you didn’t breakfast in Honfleur, head to the patisserie La Reine Mathilde.

Beautiful Bayeux is a town that played an outsized role in French history. It’s the perfect base for historic Normandy — the site of the Norman invasion of France in 1066 and WWII’s D-Day landings of 1944.

Most people go to Bayeux to see the thousand year old, and exceedingly long (230 feet), Bayeux Tapestry.

Housed in the Bayeux Tapestry Museum , the tapestry chronicles the events leading up to William the Conqueror’s invasion of France. In 50 scenes, it depicts the battle of Hastings and the showdown between William and King Harold II.

detail of the Bayeux Tapestry

It’s unclear when the the Bayeux Tapestry (actually an embroidery) was created. But historians speculate that it was not long after the events it depicts.

The tapestry is remarkably well-preserved given its age, though it has been restored several times. The tapestry was most likely created by William’s queen, Matilda, and her court.

The Nazis seized the tapestry during WWII. It would up at the Louvre , which the Nazis had commandeered and were using as a clearinghouse for art theft. After the war, the tapestry was returned to Bayeux, its rightful owner.

READ : Underrated Masterpieces of the Louvre

the massive Bayeux Cathedral

But Bayeux isn’t just a piece of cloth, however impressive. Full of medieval architecture, the town itself is delightful and fairytale-like. Honey colored stone buildings are topped with black slate roofs. Flowing flower boxes spill into the narrow lanes.

While you’re strolling, pop into Bayeux’s Notre-Dame Cathedral. This extremely large Norman-Romanesque church was consecrated in 1077 and has survived countless wars and conflicts.

The cathedral is thought to be the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry. Fierce gargoyles on the exterior scowl down at you. In the summer, there’s a fantastic nighttime light show.

Where to stay in Bayeux : Villa Lara , Chateau de Bellefontaine , Grand Hotel du Luxembourg , or Novotel Bayeux

Where to eat in Bayeux : La Rapiere, L’Angle Saint Laurent, Le Pommier, La Reine Mathilde (breakfast), Le Volet Qui Penche, P’tit Bistro

WWII cemetery near Omaha Beach

Day 7: Day Trip to the D-Day Beaches

On the last day of your one week Normand itinerary, you’ll visit the historic D-Day beaches. Bayeux makes the perfect base for visiting the D-Day beaches. Unchanged and undeveloped, the beaches are like a time capsule.

You may want to book a guided day trip tour. To do it all, you could go on a 9 hour guided tour of the beaches from Bayeux. Or you could take a half day trip lasting 5 hours .

There, the US successfully carried out the largest military operation in history on June 6, 1944. On this day, US troops gained a foothold in France, a pivotal moment in history which led to the crumbling of Nazi Germany.

You can immerse yourself in the history of Operation Overlord, and the daily lives of the German and Allied troops. For background, visit the America Gold Beach Museum , the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy , and the Bayeux War Cemetery.

Omaha Beach Memorial in Normandy

The D-Day beaches consist of a 54 mile stretch of coast from Sword beach in the east to Utah beach in the west.

This area is dotted with WWII museums, cemeteries, monuments, and battle remains. For a comprehensive guide to the D-Day beaches, click here .

You won’t be able to see everything in a day, even with a tour guide. Plan your day around a theme, whether you want to visit the American, Canadian, or British sites and memorials. Five miles west of Omaha Beach is the area’s best scenic lookout, Pointe du Hoc.

If you rented a car, from Bayeux, it’s a three hour drive back to Paris. Or, if you picked up your car in Rouen, drop it in Bayeux and take the train back to Paris.

Mont Saint-Michel, one of France's most famous landmarks

Extra Time in Normandy? Visit Mont Saint-Michel

There are plenty more beautiful cities to visit in Normandy . But an absolute must visit l andmark in France is Mont Saint-Michel.

In fact, you could reverse this itinerary and start in Mont Saint-Michel, then travel east through Normandy. But, with no direct connections, Mont Saint can be a pain to get to from Paris.

In any event, from Bayeux to Mont Saint-Michel, it’s 1:35 drive by car. But the Mont is worth the effort, especially if you start early.

the stony village of Mont Saint-Michel

Click here to pre-book a ticket. You can also book a full day guided day trip tour from Bayeux .

Mont Saint-Michel is the crown jewel of Normandy. It’s one of France’s most recognizable silhouettes, a veritable castle in the clouds.

The famous landmark is a pretty-as-a mirage island sanctuary. Its steeply built architecture seems almost impossible. A surreal medieval stage set, the Mont’s sky-high spires, stout ramparts, and rocky outcrops rise dramatically from the sea.

Grande Rue in Mont Saint-MIchel

The immense stone pile stands guard over gleaming sands laid bare by a receding (and unpredictable) tide. At high tide, Mont Saint-Michel seems to float in the sea.

The hulking abbey is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Christendom. In medieval times, devotees flocked to venerate the Archangel Michael. The Mont’s star attraction is the ancient abbey crowning its top.

You can overnight at the Mont, on the mainland (pamper yourself at the luxury Chateau de Chantore ), or in nearby Saint-Malo (L’Ascott) in Brittany.

A trip to Mont Saint-Michel takes some time and planning. Click here for my complete guide to visiting Mont Saint-Michel, with tips for visiting.

If you have an extended vacation planned, Brittany is a fantastic place to continue your road trip. Click here for my guide to the 20 most beautiful villages in Brittany .

street in the town of Gerberoy, another cute village in Normandy

Tips for Visiting Normandy

The best time to visit Normandy is in late spring and summer. Then, the weather is pleasant, the days are longer, and the flowers are in full bloom. After summer, some villages go into hibernation mode and there’s not as much to see and do in Normandy.

Ideally, you should rent a car to explore Normandy. Normandy’s villages are best explored by car because public transportation is scarce.

Trains from Paris serve Rouen, Caen, Bayeux, and Mont St-Michel. But service interconnecting these Normandy destinations is frustrating or non-existent.

In Normandy, cars drive on the right hand side, so that will be familiar. You don’t even need an International Driver’s License in France. Most of the motorways have tolls, so have cash on hand.

In terms of cuisine, Normandy is known for the “four C’s” — camembert, cider, calvados (apple brandy), and cream. Creperies and galette cafes are omnipresent. There’s no local wine in Normandy. You’ll have to make do with cider or the white Muscadet wines made in neighboring Loire region.

Veules-les-Roses, another pretty town in Normandy

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 1 week itinerary for Normandy. You may enjoy these other France travel guides:

  • 3 Day Itinerary for Paris
  • 3 Day Art Weekend in Paris
  • Hidden Gems in Paris
  • 10 Day Itinerary for Southern France
  • Secret Towns in France
  • Hidden Gems in Provence
  • Beautiful Towns in Northern France
  • Hilltop Villages of the Luberon Valley
  • Historic Landmarks in Southern France
  • Beautiful Villages in Occitanie

If you’d like to road trip for one week in Normandy, pin it for later.

Pinterest pin for one week in Normandy itinerary

8 thoughts on “The Ultimate One Week Road Trip Itinerary For Normandy”

Wooow Amazing travel itinerary! We are planning our visit for this summer and your tips helped a looot! Thank you so much!!!

Have a great time!

Thank you for this incredibly detailed and informative itinerary. Your explanations, recommendations, and options are very helpful for tailoring to our family since we don’t have unlimited time. Your photos are wonderful. I also want to thank you for your travel tips about getting around, information about foods to eat while there, etc. Thank you!

You’re welcome! Enjoy your vacation in Normandy!

Thank you so much for a lovely itinerary! I’m headed there later this summer and I’m now sold that a whole week in Normandy will be well worth it!

Yes! It deserves more than just a couple days. There’s so much to see.

This looks wonderful! Thank you for such a detailed itinerary. We are going next year and will definitely want to do the full week.

Thank you and enjoy the trip!

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Last Updated on August 26, 2023 by Leslie Livingston

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Four days in Normandy road trip: The perfect Normandy itinerary

April 13, 2018 by Karen Turner 25 Comments

Considering visiting Normandy from Paris? You definitely should! Depending on how much you want to do, you can visit Normandy as a day trip from Paris if you only visit Rouen or spend three to four days road tripping in Normandy to enjoy the tranquility of the countryside in Normandy.

If you’re thinking that Normandy will be anything like Paris, get that thought out of your mind. Expect incredibly friendly people, reasonable accommodation options, mind-blowingly good food at the same price as an average meal in Paris, stunning cities filled with history and fantastic drinks.

This Northern region of France has a rich history stemming from the invasion of the Viking tribes.  For those who want to experience the serene beauty of France on an easy weekend trip from Paris will fall in love with the slow pace of Normandy, a sneak preview of how France  outside of Paris is.

If you have fewer than four days in Normandy, you might be able to combine two of these day trips into one day as I’ve purposely kept this Normandy itinerary slow to give you time to savor this region.  Our Normandy road trip left me wanting for far more than our long weekend in Normandy, however there’s always next trip for Mont St. Michel!

  • 0.1 Day 1: Drive along the coast in Normandy
  • 0.2 Veules-les-Roses
  • 1 Petites-Dalles
  • 2.2 Étretat
  • 2.3 Where to stay in Normandy
  • 2.4 Day 2: Honfleur
  • 2.5 Day 3: Rouen
  • 2.6 Day 4: D-Day Memorial & The Calvados/Cider Route in Normandy
  • 2.7 Map of your Normandy road trip
  • 3 Have you been to Normandy?

Day 1: Drive along the coast in Normandy

Rent a car in Paris and drive to Normandy’s coast.  Be aware that avoiding toll roads in France is tricky and you should expect to pay up to 20 euros to get up to Normandy.   If you don’t have four days in Normandy, this part of the trip can easily be done as a weekend trip from Paris.

If you’re trying to do your Normandy trip on a budget (or hate toll roads), it  is possible to avoid the tolls with the help of your GPS, but expect to double your time while driving through fields and one way roads. (I honestly enjoyed the scenic drive!)  

Veules-les-Roses

Photo of Veules-les-Roses, one of the most beautiful villages in Normandy. If you're planning a road trip in Normandy, you must stop off at this beautiful town in France! #france #normandy #europe #travel

This beautiful town in Normandy is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France and Normandy.  Its stunning timbered houses and scenic canals have long been an inspiration for writers and painters.   

If you’re looking for a fairytale during your time in Normandy, you must come to Veules-les-Roses, which is a two hour drive from Paris.  Be sure to admire the smallest river in France, which runs through the city center.

Petites-Dalles

Petites-Dalles, a cute town in Normandy. Read your perfect Normandy itinerary for four days in Normandy! #travel #Normandy #france #europe

We ended up driving through Petites-Dalles. I just loved the Victorian houses in the hills. It’s just a beautiful town along the coast. The roads make it a bit tricky to end up near the water, but you’ll find some parking if you want to admire the cliffs.  (More epic views coming!)

Sassetot-le-Mauconduit

Château de Sissi, a beautiful chateau hotel in Normandy to include on your Normandy road trip. #chateau #france #normandy #travel

Another beautiful town in Normandy that we passed through after seeing a sign for a chateau. Be sure to stop off to admire  Château de Sissi , an affordable chateau hotel with beautiful gardens.

Mussels cooked with calvados in Fécamp, a coastal town in Normandy. Read what to do in four days in Normandy with the perfect itinerary! #travel #food #mussels #normandy #calvados

Fécamp is a historic coastal town in Normandy with some of the most epic cliffs that you’ll find.  It’s famous for the Bénédictine liqueur distillery, which is still done at the nearby abbey.  Save your appetite until you get here as you’ll find a large assortment of seafood at an affordable price. 

We ended up having lunch at  La Cave du Salut , an affordable seafood place with delicious mussels with calvados (a local liquor).  After, we headed to the beach to admire the cliffs.

Cliffs in Fécamp, the best views of the cliffs in Normandy. Read your perfect Normandy itinerary! #travel #Normandy #France

The highlight of our day along the coast was Étretat.  When I was younger, I had seen a photo of these epic cliffs in Normandy, but I never imagined that I’d have the opportunity to visit them. Most people head there from town prior to heading back the same way, however it’s better to park outside of town, close to the golf course (20 Route du Havre). 

It’s a longer walk along the outskirts of the golf course, but you’ll be able to walk the full length of the cliffs with fewer people compared to the cliff close to town.  Continue walking towards town.  I found Étretat quite touristy compared to the other towns, however it’s worth visiting.

Cliffs of Étretat, one of the most famous attractions in Normandy France. Read what to do in Normandy on a long weekend trip from Paris! #normandy #france #travel #Étretat

Where to stay in Normandy

Scenic road with chateau in Parc Naturel Régional des Boucles de la Seine, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Normandy. This beautiful park makes for a scenic road trip in Normandy! #travel #Normandy #france

I recommend staying in the area at one hotel as your base in Normandy for multiple nights and I particularly loved staying in the  Parc Naturel Régional des Boucles de la Seine.  This park is a protected area meant to preserve both natural environments, historic buildings, and the cultural heritage of this region. 

Driving along the windy roads in the fog spotting chateaux as they popped up was dreamy.  We did this road trip in October, so the leaves turning just added another dimension to it.  I think this area is the perfect base for exploring Normandy by car and our chateau was less expensive than staying at a cozy B&B in Honfleur .

An affordable chateau hotel in Normandy France. Read your perfect Normandy itinerary for visiting Normandy from Paris! #Normandy #Chateau #travel #France

We stayed in this cozy  chateau in Normandy that I found on Airbnb  for $81.  Our host, the owner of  Chateau du Verbosc , and his assistant made us a cozy breakfast while the two adorable cats battled over pets (and food).   It was only a forty minute drive from our chateau to the the coast. We ended up having an incredible locally made dinner at  Auberge du Val au Cesne , a nearby half-timbered guesthouse from the 17th century surrounded by scenic countryside.

For a more luxurious experience, consider staying at  Chateau Du Landin , an epic chateau overlooking the Seine river with a large estate where the staff will cook a candlelit meal for you at your request.  It wasn’t available during our dates and it really disappointed me and I had my heart set on it.

Day 2: Honfleur

Honfleur, one of the most beautiful cities in Normandy that you must visit in Normandy! #travel #Normandy #Honfleur

Honfleur is one of the most beautiful cities in France and it’s worth the trip to this stunning seaside town, even just for the food and the architecture.  Located in the Calvados region of Normandy, Honfleur is one of the best places to try calvados, a spirit made with apples. 

Its stunning wooden port made me fall in love with the city, however the stunning half-timbered houses on the side streets were my preferred place to wander.  Don’t miss the Saint Catherine’s Church, a UNESCO-recognized church that is France’s largest timber-built church.  If you prefer to stay in Honfleur, you’ll find beautiful old B&Bs in historic half-timbered buildings .

Saint Catherine Church, one of the oldest churches in France, something that you must in Honfleur! Honfleur is one of the prettiest cities in Normandy #travel #normandy #honfleur #france

Day 3: Rouen

Beautiful medieval city center in Rouen, a city that you must include on your Normandy itinerary. #travel #normandy #rouen

Rouen is a beautiful city to visit if you’re interested in medieval history. This gorgeous French city with a clocktower dating back to the 14th century and half-timbered houses straight out of a fairy tale has a stunning historic cathedral (Rouen Cathedral) where Richard the Lionheart is buried. 

Rouen also is where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.  You can view her memorial in the city center.  I just loved getting lost in the cobblestoned alleyways here.  Don’t miss  Les Berthom for craft beer.

Richard the Lionheart's grave in Rouen, Normandy, France. #travel #history #france #Normandy

Day 4: D-Day Memorial & The Calvados/Cider Route in Normandy

A chateau in Normandy France. Read what you must include in your Normandy itinerary and the perfect plan for four days in Normandy! #travel #normandy #cider #france #chateau

For anyone visiting Normandy, Omaha Beach is a must-see.  You might want to switch hotels as you have a 1.5 hour drive to the area around Honfleur, Rouen, and  Parc Naturel Régional des Boucles de la Seine.

I’d recommend staying at one of the many chateaux closer to the Cider Trail to minimize driving back.    This historic manor is right along the cider trail and a nice halfway point between Upper and Lower Normandy.   Alternatively, this refurbished chateaux is right near the D-Day landings.

Omaha beach in Normandy France. Pay your respect to fallen soldiers while visiting Normandy on a road trip. #france #normandy #dday

Pay your respects at the five beaches where the troops landed in World War II and the various cemeteries for the fallen soldiers. Click for more information about visiting Omaha Beach .   I recommend taking a tour if possible to learn more about  history .

Following this somber visit, head towards Normandy’s Cider Route for some cider tastings.  Although many foreigners aren’t aware of this, some of the best apple cider in the world comes from Normandy.  For a couple of euros, you can try calvados and cider directly at the source along the 40km cider route. 

I recommend stopping off in  Bonnebosq in particular as it’s particularly well known for cider and on your way back to Paris.    Note: Please ensure that the driver doesn’t drink and drive. You can buy a bottle to enjoy at home! Click for a map of the cider trail.

Beautiful houses in Normandy. Read what you must include on your Normandy road trip! #cider #normandy #france

Even if you don’t have time during your four days in Normandy to get out to the cider towns, you’re likely to pass a farm with a sign that says VENDRE with an apple on it if you’re driving on non-highway roads close to Calvados.  It usually means that you’ll be able to buy fresh Normandy cider!

Map of your Normandy road trip

Have you been to Normandy?

Please let me know what you thought of this Normandy itinerary and share this post!

Planning your trip to Normandy France? Your travel guide for Normandy France, including 4 day itinerary for Normandy, including the best places to visit in Normandy. This Normandy road trip includes the best things to do in Normandy and the best cities/towns to visit in Normandy, including Honfleur, Etretat, Omaha Beach, Rouen, the Normandy cider trail, and staying in a chateau in Normandy. #Normandy #France #travel #Europe #WWII

About Karen Turner

New Yorker–born and raised. Currently living in the Hague, the Netherlands after stints in Paris and Amsterdam. Lover of travel, adventure, nature, city, dresses, and cats.

Reader Interactions

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April 28, 2018 at 11:52 pm

This sounds like a dream! Beaches, history, craft cider, beautiful buildings, and delicious food?! Yes please!

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June 25, 2018 at 8:15 am

Thank you. I am going with my family this summer. This is so helpful

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July 11, 2018 at 4:33 am

Very helpful guide for variety of activities – thank you so much!

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August 14, 2018 at 1:12 am

Hi, so thankful for your blog. We booked our flights gets to Paris, but with a lot of family emergencies, we’ve had no time to figure out where to go. We just booked the chateau you recommended that you didn’t get to stay at. It looks amazing. We want to stay in Paris, but are not sure on which bank to get a hotel. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Karen

normandy trip planning

August 14, 2018 at 8:45 am

Hope the family emergency is improving. I generally recommend the right bank, especially the 3rd/4th arrondissement (Le Marais). It’s a good central location with a good selection of hotels for all budgets and typical Parisian buildings, so you can walk a lot of places easily.

Hope your vacation is restorative and you love the chateau! 🙂

Best, Karen

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August 17, 2018 at 10:11 pm

Great tips! We visited Normandy last summer and only allowed one night which wasn’t enough! We stayed in Bayeux and absolutely loved it. We’re heading back next summer and will be staying 1 night in Bayeux, 1 night in Mont St. Michel and 1 night in Honfleur. Can’t wait!

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September 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm

This is great and timely info. My wife and I are planning a trip for next Sept ish that includes visiting Normandy. Conceptually, we will travel from Amsterdam (by car or train or ?) to Normandy and then from Normandy to Paris and Paris to Dillingen (Saar), Germany. Originally, I was considering a rental and then driving the entire route, but my initial research is indicating that there are sizeable fees for renting/returning vehicles in different countries. Do you know if this is the case? Any suggestions on the leg of the trip from Amsterdam to Normandy? We’d prefer a way that keeps us close to the countryside – we want to experience the country – not just get from Amsterdam to Normandy. Mahalo!

September 5, 2018 at 8:35 pm

Hi Bryon, I’d recommend traveling by train to Normandy prior to renting a car in Paris. It’s probably cheaper to just rent it for the Normandy part of the trip. Alternatively, you could take the train through Belgium to Normandy prior to renting a car in Normandy itself–and then just taking the train to Paris. Belgium is full of charming towns and stunning countryside. You can check my blog for some recommendations in Belgium.

Most agencies fine you if you try to return the car somewhere different than where you started. It’s good to check to ensure that the same agencies are where you’re going and the policy of your rental.

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January 4, 2019 at 2:17 am

Dear Karen, This is a beautifulj road trip. My husband and I plan to have 4 days in end of May this year.. After read your itineray, it very helpful to us. All places are very amazing. We may copy your plan, thank you very much for share such a beautiful trip. Chalee

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May 3, 2019 at 9:57 pm

Used your website as inspiration and ended up having our base in Honfleur. Such a beautiful place. Cannot wait to return to Normandy again.

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May 7, 2019 at 8:19 pm

Karen, If I wanted to start from Honfleur and work senicly up to Calais to get to london. Whats your recommendation 🙂 my best, Nicole

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November 22, 2019 at 5:58 am

Thanks Karen, this info is very helpful. We, as a family, are planning a trip to the region in March and had no idea where to base ourselves!

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January 29, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Hello, this is great! We are traveling to Paris for a few days and then thinking of renting a villa in normandy for a week. Any ideas where a good “base” would be to do day trips to?

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February 10, 2020 at 2:24 am

It depends on what you want to see in Normandy. We stuck along the eastern coast, but both sides of the coast are lovely. I found a location closer to Honfleur to be helpful and there are many villas in the Parc Regionale mentioned in my article.

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February 22, 2020 at 4:58 am

Thank you for sharing. I literally can not wait to plan this trip.

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September 2, 2020 at 5:49 am

We are thinking of visiting Paris and then doing your tour of Normandy. Is there a particular villa in the Parc Regionale that you recommend? Also, if we are coming from Paris, do you recommend we rent a car in Paris and drive to Normandy, or do you recommend we train toward Normandy and rent a car outside of Paris? If so, what town?

September 15, 2020 at 1:32 am

Unfortunately, the one that I stayed at does not host anymore, but I link to a few other options within the post. A car is best for exploring Normandy!

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September 8, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Hi Karen! My husband and I are hoping to plan a trip to the Normandy area France in the next year or two. I would love to get your help in planning this trip, we will be celebrating 50 years of marriage. Your post is amazing and it’s been so helpful already…I know this is what we want to do. Thank you, Linda Wyatt

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April 11, 2021 at 1:46 am

Friend and i are planning to fly into paris stay 2 nts rent a car and head to normandy. We will take our car and ferry to guernsey for 5 nts then back to normandy area and head to paris to fly home to usa. Want to find a cool village between nrmandy and paris for a couple nts. We just plan to overnite in paris close to airport before we return home. Any suggestions on a quaint village for a noght or two on the way back to paris?

May 10, 2021 at 2:37 pm

Perhaps Rouen or Lyons-la-Forêt ?

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June 19, 2021 at 3:28 am

Hello I am planning a trip to France for two weeks next summer 2022. We would like to see Normandy Paris and wine country. Can this be done in two weeks

July 27, 2021 at 12:14 pm

It’s a lot, but I think so if you plan well!

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October 29, 2021 at 5:34 pm

Love you post, very informative. Do you have any suggestion for a private tour guide in this region?

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February 9, 2022 at 10:28 pm

Your thoughts on city/where to stay when visiting Normandy area. Plan to drive from CDG. Want to see D-Day Beaches, Mont Saint-Michel, other sights of interest. Thinking of staying in Caen or Bayeux. B&B suggestion?

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October 10, 2022 at 2:54 am

Greetings from the sunny Panhandle of Florida! Thank you so much for all of the information you have shared, as we have only ever visited Paris and Avignon. My husband has his heart set on WW2 history, while I have my heart set on horseback riding, breathtaking castles, and amazing food!!!! I look forward to any input you can offer; nothing like putting a trip together last minute. Be well, Chance S,

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A trip to Normandy – the beautiful northern coast of France

This article may contain compensated links. See our full disclosure here

If you are in the mood for spectacular coastlines, delicious gooey cheeses and browsing local markets then plan a trip to Normandy in the north of France .

This French region is perfect for wandering pretty towns, soaking up the coastal breezes and walking barefoot on wide sandy beaches.

Northern France is easily accessible from the south of England and London as well as Paris and Belgium. Within a few hours you are soaking up the gallic vibes and getting your French fix in the fresh sea air.

Here is how we spent our days exploring Normandy’s coastal countryside.

What's in this article

4 day northern France itinerary – Rouen & Normandy’s classic coast

Day 1 – rouen: medieval city with half timbered houses, day 2 – picturesque harbour town honfleur, day 3 – trouville by the sea, day 4 – étretat – the spectacular normandy coastline, tips for visiting normandy with kids, more highlights of normandy for your onward journey, resources for planning your trip to normandy.

Northern France is beautiful and historic. I have been a little in love with France my whole life and this is one of my favourite regions.

In Normandy you will find rolling green hills, cows munching on green pastures, some of the prettiest towns and villages in Europe and of course delicious food. Not to mention spectacular coastal scenery.

We used our trusted Lonely Planet guide to help plan our four day trip to northern France starting in Rouen. We made our base in Honfleur and explored that town and nearby Trouville before our finale in Etretat.

Our first stop was the medieval city of Rouen. A thriving city in the Middle Ages, it most famous for its gothic cathedral and association with French legend Joan of Arc.  She met her untimely end, burned at the stake, in the city’s Place du Vieux Marché.

For such a pretty place, the city has been the scene of great tragedy over the centuries. Rouen suffered serious damage during both world wars – 45% of the city was destroyed in World War II.

But not to worry,  restoration has ensured that visitors can enjoy the charm of its gorgeous half-timbered houses and position on the banks of the Seine.

We wandered the cobbled streets and found a local restaurant – Restaurant La Petite Auberge – that satisfied our need for French food.

Like most regions in France, Normandy has some famous gastronomic specialties. We were keen to try the famous Normandy cider and cheese varieties but we were also tempted by the restaurant’s specialty – les escargots – snails!

Make time to stop at popular   Fromagerie François Olivier to pick up some local cheeses when you are in Rouen. You will not be disappointed.

Pro tip – try the local Pont L’Évêque variety – it is soft and pungent just like a French cheese should be

Tip – if you are driving there is a handy underground car park near the Abbatial Saint-Ouen/Monastery of Saint-Ouen

Rouen is a city I would like to return to and explore further. Here are some of the things to do in Rouen that we missed:

  • the interior of Rouen Cathedral is breathtaking
  • at the Historial Jeanne D’Arc museum you can learn more about this French heroine via a multimedia reenactment of her trial
  • the Musée des Beaux-Arts  has an impressive collection (plus free admission)

You could easily spend several days in Rouen but those coastal breezes were calling.

We drove along the Seine through the National Park – Parc natural regional des Boucles de la Seine – passing through the countless pretty villages of Normandy along the way.

You can’t help but fall in love with the half-timbered and thatched roofed buildings of Normandy. They are the perfect escape from a busy city life.

Our base for this trip was picturesque Honfleur, a harbour town overlooking the English Channel.

Honfleur is the ideal spot for a few days of relaxing and exploring northern Normandy.

Pretty Honfleur was immortalised by the Impressionist artists including Monet. Since then it has been a hub for artists and there are many galleries in the town.

Honfleur’s old harbour – le Vieux Bassin – is surrounded by colourful buildings and cobbled streets. It is easy to see why the Impressionists were so inspired by this pocket of Normandy. It’s literally pretty as a picture!

Where to stay in Honfleur

Honfleur has some beautiful hotels and B&Bs in the heart of the old town and near the harbour.

La Cour Sainte Catherine – >click here to check prices

  • historic B&B in former convent just steps from the harbour
  • lovely sun drenched garden where continental breakfast is served
  • sitting area in every room
  • 2 bedroom apartment suitable for families

Hôtel L’Ecrin – >click here for more information

  • friendly hotel close to the old town and harbour
  • large swimming pool and pretty garden
  • free parking on site
  • family rooms

On this occasion we stayed in the old town in a wonderful attic apartment with views of the church and clock tower. I found it using my tried and true method of finding the best short term apartment rentals – you can read about that here .

Our apartment was the perfect vantage point to see the market traders set up their wares on Saturday morning and hear the bells tolling and choir singing from the church below.

> Check accommodation options and latest prices in Honfleur

Things to do in Honfleur

We spent our days in Honfleur wandering around the produce market, choosing pastries, tasting (more) cheese and fruit before heading to the Vieux Bassin (Old Harbour) to admire the sailing boats.

The harbour is lined with colourful cafes and restaurants and has a magnificent 1920s carousel at its mouth. You can easily spend an afternoon simply enjoying the goings on at the harbour.

Don’t forget to visit the Church of Sainte Catherine (pictured above) and its clock tower. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries by local boat builders, these unique structures provide an additional focal point for the city.

Honfleur’s general household and souvenir market is held at the harbour on Saturdays. All the locals turn out and the atmosphere is festive.

If that is not enough market for you, Honfleur hosts a brocante (antique and bric a brac) market on the first Sunday of each month.

Soaking up the atmosphere, taking a walk along the promenade and browsing the shops and galleries built up our appetites. Luckily there are many wonderful eateries in Honfleur.

Where to eat in Honfleur

Of course there is an abundance of seafood to be found at all the cafes and restaurants in Honfleur. But our favourite was La Ciderie  specialising in cider and crepes.

I tried the local galichot (pancake), described as a combination between a galette and a blini. I am not sure about that, but it was fluffy and delicious.

In the early afternoon sun we drove the short journey to Trouville to enjoy some beach time. The beach at Trouville is wide, flat and sandy and stretches for over a kilometre.

In other words, great for kids young and old to run amok.

Trouville hosts several seaside attractions including a sandy beach park and fairground rides. These were the highlight for our kids but I enjoyed laying on the sand gazing at the nineteenth century mansions looking down over the beach.

We visited in June and while the weather and sea were a little bit cold for our Australian bodies, there were plenty of people were swimming.

We drove back to Calais via the spectacular white chalk cliffs near the town of Étretat. Here you can walk along the beach boardwalk and admire the cliffs and rock formations.

If you are feeling energetic, climb the cliffs for views of the surrounding coastline. If not, there is a tourist car train – perfect when you are managing tired or little legs.

The town itself has the typical half-timbered buildings of Normandy and you will find many restaurants, cafes and tea rooms catering for hungry visitors.

Normandy is a wonderful destination for families. Apart from the wide sandy beaches we found playgrounds with equipment for all ages in all the locations we visited.

Pedestrianised streets ensure that supervising the little ones is relatively easy and they can explore unhindered.

Kids will quickly discover the fairground ride attractions.  Who can resist treating children to a few turns on a carousel when you see the smiles on their faces.

It certainly makes for a happy holiday. And I don’t mind admitting that I enjoyed the carousel rides too!

Our children also loved the sights and sounds of the bustling markets.

They were keen to choose their own market produce including seasonal cherries, apricots and raspberries. And of course they gobbled up the delicious french pastries and crepes.

How to get to Normandy

Getting to Normandy is easy from Paris or the UK.

How to get to Normandy from the UK

If you are driving from the UK, take the Eurotunnel  or ferry from Folkestone to Calais.

I prefer the Eurotunnel to the ferry services because it is a lot quicker but obviously that means you pay a bit more.

You could also catch the Eurostar from London St Pancras and pick up a hire car in Calais.

Pro tip – book your Eurotunnel and Eurostar tickets well in advance for the best deals on ticket prices

From Calais it is a 2½ hour drive to Rouen and the A16 and A28. It is another hour from Rouen to Honfleur on the A13.

Flights to Caen in Normandy leave from Southend starting in Spring. You can also fly to Paris and connect to train services from there.

We use Skyscanner to find the best flight deals and plan our trips.

How to get to Normandy from Paris

Paris is understandably a starting point for many trips in France. Once you have wandered the streets , and eaten your way around Paris , head to Normandy for some fresh country air.

Train travel in France is fun and easy. Trains to Rouen from Paris take 1½ hours – even faster on the express – and leave from Gare St Lazare. If you plan well ahead you can pick up fares as low as €10 for this trip.

Alternatively, if you don’t have much time in France, you could join a guided tour of Normandy from Paris. It’s a long day and you would need to choose from:

  • Visit a traditional Normandy village
  • Explore beautiful Mont St Michel and its spectacular abbey
  • Explore Omaha Beach and the visitor center
  • Visit the Colleville-sur-Mer cemetery dedicated to fallen American servicemen
  • Enjoy a traditional lunch

Normandy is a large region that we had explored several times before. Our goal with this trip was to relax so we did not see some of the region’s main attractions:

Mont St Michel

If the pictures don’t make you want to go, I am not sure what will. Mont St Michel is a magical place and should be on your bucket list. The town and abbey built on a small rocky island has been attracting visitors for centuries.

It is a 2 hour drive from Honfleur to Mont St Michel.

The historic town of Bayeux is just over an hour from Honfleur.

The famous Bayeux tapestry that commemorates the Norman conquest of England in 1066 is found here.

D-Day beaches

Of course many people visit Normandy to pay their respects to American, British, Australian and other Allied soldiers who fought in World War II. Normandy was the scene of the Allied assault into Nazi occupied France and was as a major turning point in the war.

You can take a tour of the Normandy beaches from Caen (just under an hour from Honfleur by car) – > click for ticket info and prices

Giverny – Monet’s Garden

Closer to Paris, you can visit Impressionist master Claude Monet’s beautiful garden at Giverny. You feel like you’ve stepped right into one of his paintings as you wander the grounds. Don’t miss the Japanese bridge and waterlily pond lined with weeping willows. 

For more information about visiting Giverny, read our guide to the gardens. If you can’t squeeze Giverny into your Normandy itinerary you can do a combined day trip to Giverny and Versailles from Paris . 

I found these useful sites while researching our trip:

  • Those keen to discover the local cider can follow the 40km  cider route   mapped out by the Normandy Tourist Board
  • Normandy Then and Now  is a fascinating resource full of suggestions, stories and an all round passion for Normandy
  • Trouville has an English language website  full of interesting information on activities and attractions
  • More information about beautiful Rouen

Untold Morsels assists our readers with carefully chosen product and services recommendations that help make travel easier and more fun. If you click through and make a purchase on many of these items we may earn a commission. All opinions are our own – please read our  disclosure  page for more information.

The creator, writer and photographer behind Untold Morsels , Katy has been travelling and tasting the world since she was a teenager.

Now the proud mum of twins, she hopes they grow up to share her passions of great food, wine and travel. Favourite destination: Italy

normandy trip planning

The Gap Decaders

Normandy Road Trip: Ultimate 7 Day Itinerary

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we earn an income.

The beautiful region of Normandy in northwest France is famous for its impressive white cliffs, historic castles and abbeys, connection to the D-Day landings, and delicious local produce like Camembert cheese, Calvados, and cider.

As you visit the charming towns and villages and pass through the picturesque rolling countryside Normandy will enchant you with its rich history, rural character, and breathtaking sites, which include some of France’s top visitor attractions.

We’ve spent years touring and road tripping in France, and love Normandy for its eclectic nature. Get all the information you need in our Normandy road trip planner, including routes, attractions, places to visit, and lots of tips, to help you plan the perfect 7 day trip around Normandy.

Normandy road trip

Where is Normandy?

Normandy or Normandie in French is a geographical and cultural region in northern France, its borders consistent with the historical  Duchy of Normandy .

Bordered to the north by the English Channel, to the east by Hauts de France and to the west by Brittany. To the south is Ile de France, where Paris is located. The neighbouring regions of Centre Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire are both home of the gorgeous Loire Valley .

Normandy itself comprises mainland Normandy and insular Normandy, which is mostly made up of the British Channel Islands.

Normandy was formed in 2016 by merging the two former administrative regions of Haute-Normandie and Basse-Normandie and is made up of the departments of Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne, and Seine-Maritime.

Is this your first time visiting France? Get all the information you need in our France Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

Getting There

Whether you’re driving to France in a car, motorcycle, or campervan from the UK or Europe, or picking up a hire car, self-driving is absolutely the best way to explore this fantastic northern France road trip route.

You can stop whenever you want, try new activities, visit places you see along the route, and have the freedom to change plans at the last minute.

The capital city of France makes the perfect start point for your road trip and driving from Paris to Normandy will take a relaxed 1.5 hours. Why not spend a day in Paris for an incredible start for your road trip to Normandy?

Fly into one of Paris’ three main airports, Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais . With direct flights from America, Europe, the Middle East and the UK, we recommend booking through Skyscanner for live deals and the best prices.

Are you planning to rent a car in France? As one of the largest car hire aggregator companies in the world, we recommend Rentalcars.com because they have massive purchasing power which enables them to secure the best car rental prices, which benefits you when you’re planning a road trip.

For a real adventure, hire a motorhome or campervan in France. We recommend Motorhome Republic , an aggregate booking site who pull together all the best deals from a number of rental agencies, to offer you a wide choice of options alongside an excellent English speaking expert motorhome Concierge Team. Use the Park4Night app to find overnight spots and campsites along the route.

Best Time for Visiting Normandy

March to may.

Spring is a beautiful time to visit Normandy, with temperatures warming up across the region. Food markets increase in size, restaurants start preparing different dishes and the countryside is glorious. You’ll still find the roads and cities less crowded, and most attractions will be open.

June to August

June, July and August are the busiest months for road trips in Normandy. With perfect temperatures for camping and outdoor activities, July is probably the best month, as schools have yet to break up across Europe and the family rush to the coasts has not yet started.

August brings the French annual holidays when many businesses close for the duration. If you’re planning on road tripping in the north of France, you’ll have perfect holiday weather, but the coasts and beaches will be busy.

September to November

Autumn is a fantastic time for a Normandie road trip . The coast will be quieter but if you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy an Indian summer amongst the fruit harvest and the changing colors of the fall countryside.

December to February

The winter months in Normandy can be very cold and rain is quite common at this time of year. But, the roads and cities will be quiet and less crowded, although not all attractions will be open.

Colorful tulips and flowers in a gravelled garden in France

Road Trip Normandy Map & Route

This one week road trip around Normandy hits all the highlights, with famous gardens, World War II sites and D Day landing beaches, picturesque ports, and historic buildings on the itinerary.

You’ll also visit the three most iconic Normandy attractions of Rouen Cathedral, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Mont-Saint-Michel, making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This Normandy itinerary will easily stretch to two weeks if you prefer to slow travel and take in more sights as you go – just spend longer in your favorite places and check the interactive map for attractions and landmarks nearby. 

  • Get the Travel Guides
  • The Ultimate Normandy Travel Guide 2023
  • The Rough Guide to Brittany & Normandy  
  • Lonely Planet Normandy & D Day Beaches Road Trips
  • Normandy 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary

Evreux – Giverny – Rouen – Dieppe – Fécamp – Étretat – Le Havre – Honfleur – Deauville – Falaise – Caen – Bayeux – Saint-Lô – Mont-Saint-Michel

  • Distance 534km
  • Duration 7 days
  • Drive Time 9 hours

How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.

Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: evreux to rouen.

Evreux is a beautiful city situated just two hours east of Paris – it will take around 1.5 hours of driving time from the major Paris airports. Wherever you come from, it is best to get on the road as quickly as possible to arrive in Evreux early since the rest of the day holds plenty of activities.

Once in Evreux, visit the Cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Évreux or Cathedral of Our Lady of Evreux. This magnificent Gothic-style cathedral was built in the 10th century and still has intricate carvings and impressive stained-glass windows.

The Museum of Art, History, and Archaeology is a stone’s throw from the cathedral. It houses a collection of art and artifacts from the Neolithic period to the modern era.

A museum that will delight those with a sweet tooth is the Chocolatrium Michel Cluizel . You can tour the facilities and learn about the chocolate-making process, unique flavors, and the story behind the family business.

Go for a quick lunch afterward at Planete Mars or Le Petit Bruit de l’oeuf Dur .

On your way to Rouen , take a slight detour and visit Claude Monet’s house in Giverny. Monet’s images of Normandy including the poppy fields, distinctive poplar trees, rural haystacks, and the extraordinary coast are regarded by art historians as revolutionary.

In Normandy Monet first began painting outdoors, en plein air , and his Normandy paintings embodied a new and modern vision that rewarded Monet with a place in art history as the preeminent master of Impressionism, and one of his early paintings, Impression: Sunrise of the harbor at Le Havre, gave the movement its name.

The painter’s house features color filled gardens, and a pond filled with water lilies, which inspired his most famous works. The site has an art museum dedicated to the Impressionist painter and you can see inside the house where he lived and worked.

Take this highly recommended skip-the-line guided tour of Monet’s house and gardens for insight into the life of the painter and information about the planting and gardens from a local guide, or consider an organised Giverny day trip from Paris , when you’ll have a guide with you to share history and tips.

Continue north on the A13 for an hour until you reach Rouen. If you were inspired by your visit to Monet’s house and museum, you would appreciate seeing the spectacular 12th century Rouen Cathedral – a subject Monet often used in his paintings. 

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen is famous for its three towers, each in a different style. The cathedral, built and rebuilt over a period of more than eight hundred years, has features from Early Gothic to late Flamboyant and Renaissance architecture.

It is believed that Rollo, the famous Viking who became Count of Rouen and the first ruler of Normandy, is buried in the cathedral and his tomb is on display inside.

If you want more on the art front, visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts . It is home to an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Another notable museum is the Joan of Arc Museum.

The artistic theme continues as you walk through Rouen’s streets, filled with street art, colorful murals,  and graffiti. The old town also has many charming narrow streets lined with half-timbered buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.

While in the center, enjoy dinner at Simone or Tandem .

  • Where to Stay in Rouen

Upmarket: Hôtel de Bourgtheroulde Autograph Collection – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Hotel Litteraire Gustave Flaubert – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Le Vieux Carré – Booking.com | Agoda

Large cathedral in a cobbled square with three red doors and large ornate towers

Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when visiting France . We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices, and excellent service.

Day 2: Rouen to Fécamp

Dieppe is a picturesque coastal town 40 miles north of Rouen. If you are up for an outdoor adventure, stop at Arb’aventure en route to Dieppe. This amusement park has zip wires, ladders, nets, and bridges – all set up between tall trees.

In Dieppe, visit the 19 August 1942 Memorial, which pays tribute to the Dieppe Raid of World War II, when over 6,050 infantry, predominantly Canadian, supported by a regiment of tanks, were put ashore from a naval force operating under the protection of the Royal Air Force.

The allied raid suffered heavy losses and was ultimately unsuccessful as aerial and naval support was insufficient to capture and hold the port for a short period, to test the feasibility of a landing, and gather intelligence.

Less than 10 minutes walk will bring you to the historic Château de Dieppe , which also contains the Dieppe Museum. The castle was erected in the 14th century and offers visitors spectacular city and sea views.  

If you are traveling through Dieppe on a Saturday, explore the bustling Dieppe Market, which features a range of delicious local produce, fresh seafood and local cheese, and Normandy crafts.

Afterward, walk along the pebbly beach or hike along the cliffs for panoramic views of the area.

Dieppe is known for its fresh seafood, such as mussels, oysters, and sea bass. Try some at La Musardiere or Le Turbot .

Fécamp is a charming port town known for its fishing industry and the Benedictine liqueur. You can learn more about the former at the Les Pêseries Musée de Fécamp .

Visit the Gothic-style Palais Bénédictine . This stunning palace serves as a museum and a distillery for the famous Benedictine liqueur, a herbal drink made of 27 different plants and spices. You can tour the facilities here and learn about this world-famous spirit’s history and making. 

Afterward, go to the 11th century Abbaye de la Trinité . The interior is a must-see and includes the Tabernacle of the Precious Blood, the sculpture of the Dormition of the Virgin, and Renaissance gates enclosing the chapels around the choir.

If you have time to spare, take the 8 minute drive to Cap Fagnet for the most spectacular views of the Alabaster Coast and the English Channel.   

In Fécamp city center, dine at Restaurant La Plage (ensure to book ahead) or Le Rex .

  • Where to Stay in Fécamp

Upmarket: Les Pins de César La Campagne d’Etretat Saint-Jouin-Bruneval – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: B&B A La Maison Blanche – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Hotel Vent d’Ouest – Booking.com | Agoda

White cliffs topped with grass and wind turbines overlooking white sandy beaches and turquoise sea

Don’t forget your road trip essentials! Our free road trip checklists help you remember everything, including road trip snacks , podcasts , and road trip songs for the journey!

Day 3: Fécamp to Le Havre

Only 10 miles from Fécamp is Étretat , a small town known for its scenic white cliffs, pebble beaches, and three extraordinary natural rock arches. Named Porte d’Aval, Porte d’Amont, and Manneporte, the rock arches were painted by Claude Monet in 20 different views after he spent a month in the fishing village in February 1883.

Hike up one of the many walking trails for the best coastal views. Make your way down the cliffs to explore the beach, the perfect place to spend a few hours swimming, kayaking, or sunbathing.

Further up the coast, visit the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde . This stunning chapel sits on a nearby hillside and provides incredible panoramic views of the town and the sea. The chapel is also an important site for pilgrims.

Go to the Étretat Museum of Art and History, home to a collection of art and exhibits showcasing the town’s rich history, or visit the avant-garde Les Jardins d’Etretat for incredible views of the coast alongside an intriguing mix of classical and neo-futuristic gardening and landscaping.

Follow this up with lunch, ideally at Le Romain D’Etretat where they have great pizzas or La Marie Antoinette for fresh seafood.

Once in Le Havre head to St. Joseph’s Church for stunning town and ocean views. This extraordinary church with its impressive dimensions and trans-Atlantic vibe makes it one of Normandy’s most remarkable architectural achievements of the 20th century. Afterward, stroll along the Le Havre beach.

Explore the MuMa (Museum of Modern Art André Malraux), which houses an impressive collection of French Impressionist and post-Impressionist artworks, including masterpieces by Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. 

Take a four minute drive outside the city center to see the Natural History Museum . It is situated in a 16th century church and has a rich collection of natural history exhibits and taxidermized animals. 

Before dinner, stroll through the beautifully landscaped Jardin Japonais, or Japanese Park, inspired by Japanese aesthetics and botanical art forms.

Dine at Au Vin sur la planchet or Le Bouche A Oreille for a Michelin-star experience.

  • Where to Stay in Le Havre

Upmarket: Hilton Garden Inn Le Havre Centre – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Odalys City Le Havre Centre Gare – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Hotel de Charme La Bonne Adresse – Booking.com | Agoda

Rock arch and cliffs above a long sandy beach

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Day 4: le havre to falaise.

Make the half-hour trip to Honfleur , crossing the magnificent Pont de Normandie bridge. Honfleur, one of our favorite cities in France , boasts a picturesque harbor, charming streets, and several historical monuments. 

Start by exploring Honfleur’s old port. Walk along the quays and admire the colorful buildings and boats. A short walk from the port are several must-see landmarks, including the Lavoir rue de la Foulerie Museum, 15th century Église Sainte Catherine Catholic Church, and 17th century greniers à sel or salt halls.

Visit the Eugene-Boudin Museum . This museum is dedicated to the works of the famous Impressionist painter Eugène Boudin, offering an excellent collection of paintings of Honfleur and the Normandy coast.

Have dinner at the lovely L’art Du Bistrot or Mamie Louise for the best burgers in town.

About 11 miles from Honfleur is Deauville , a fashionable seaside resort town that forms part of the popular Côte Fleurie or Flowery Coast.

Make the most of the afternoon sun by visiting Deauville Beach , one of the most beautiful sandy beaches on the Normandy coast, and walk along the famous wooden boardwalk called Les Planches.

On this scenic promenade, you can see beach cabins decorated with the names of famous actors and actresses who attended the Deauville American Film Festival.

Before driving to Falaise, pick up some regional products at Deauville Market in Place de Morny, such as cheese, charcuterie, fruits, and vegetables.

Foodies will love this full day Normandy food tour where you’ll get to taste French Camembert, hard cider, and Calvados, the delicious Normandy apple brandy known as Normandy’s liquid gold whilst driving and walking through the villages of the Pays d’Auge area.

Falaise 

Take the D511 road and drive to the picturesque Falaise via Lisieux. Stop in Lisieux to stretch your legs and see the breathtaking Lisieux Cathedral.

Once in Falaise, visit the Musée des Automates de Falaise or Museum of the Automaton. This unique museum includes over 200 moving mechanical exhibitions, mainly from the 19th century, depicting everyday life scenes and fairy tales.

In the heart of Falaise, you can see the stunning 11th century Church of Saint-Gervais and Saint-Protais . Walk around the rest of the old town to explore the cobbled streets and the charming half-timbered houses, shops, and restaurants.

Be sure to try some local cider and cheese at the Falaise Market if you happen to be in town on a Saturday.

Dine at Restaurant Le Vauquelin or La Renaissance .

  • Where to Stay in Falaise

Upmarket: Le Manoir du Ribardon, Neuvy-au-Houlme – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Les Prémontrés – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: ibis Falaise Coeur de Normandie – Booking.com | Agoda

Boarwalk in front of a beach with colourful beach parasols

Looking for the best SIM card deals in Europe for your trip? Check out our guide to the best data SIMs in Europe and get the best deal for your trip to France.

Day 5: Falaise to Bayeux 

Caen is a beautiful city located 24 miles north of Falaise. It is famous for its historical sites, museums, and picturesque surroundings. 

Arguably the most famous landmark in Caen is the Memorial Museum . This museum is dedicated to World War II and offers visitors a comprehensive exhibition about the D-Day landing on Normandy’s beaches, code named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword for the invasion. The museum also includes a cinema showing a 20 minute documentary about the war in Europe.

In the town center, there are many beautiful structures to explore. The following are all within short walking distance from each other:

  • Caen Castle : An 11th century fortress built by William the Conqueror.
  • Abbaye aux Hommes: A beautiful Romanesque abbey founded by William the Conqueror, now serving as the town hall and a political library.
  • St Peter’s Catholic Church: A stunning 13th century church with an impressive facade and spire.

Stroll along the Canal de Caen a la Mer, the waterway which links Caen to the sea, or around the Vaugueux neighborhood, one of the city’s oldest and most picturesque areas, to admire the half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and charming restaurants. 

Enjoy lunch at Mooky’s or Boeuf and Cow , which overlooks St Peter’s Catholic Church.

Bayeux is a charming town packed with history, culture, and beautiful scenery. Start your exploration by visiting the Bayeux Museum to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry , one of medieval Europe’s oldest and most important artifacts.

This world-famous 11th century masterpiece tells the epic story of William, Duke of Normandy, who became King of England after a decisive win at the Battle of Hastings when his Norman-French army were victorious against the English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, who was shot through the eye by an arrow and then cut down by a sword.

Thus began the Norman Conquest of England and William the Conquerer, a descendent of the Viking Rollo, was crowned in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day of 1066. Over the next 34 generations, it is possible to trace a direct line from William I to King Charles III, the monarch of the United Kingdom today.

Visit the beautiful Notre Dame de Bayeux Cathedral , a unique example of Norman Gothic architecture in France. One of its standout features is the monumental 11th century nave.

Learn more about history at the Battle of Normandy Museum through historical artifacts and displays.

Before dinner, stroll through Bayeux’s medieval old town to explore all the narrow, winding streets, half-timbered houses, and charming, flower-filled courtyards. 

For a really special experience, take a Normandy D-Day tour by vintage motorbike sidecar from Bayeux and visit the Longues-sur-mer coastal battery, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach located between Port-en-Bessin on the west and La Rivière on the east. High cliffs at the western end of the zone and Arromanches.

Enjoy local food at Le Volet qui Penche with lovely views, or treat yourself to a Michelin-star experience at L’Angle Saint Laurent . Start your meal with famous Camembert cheese or a glass of local cider.

  • Where to Stay in Bayeux

Upmarket: Villa Lara Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Domaine de Bayeux – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: ibis budget Bayeux – Booking.com | Agoda

Old buildings and a weir next to a wooden water wheel

Do you love getting off-the-beaten path? Our secret France guide has ideas for exploring the road less traveled, with alternative destinations to some of France’s most popular places.

Day 6: Bayeux to Saint-Lô

Omaha beach.

Make the 20-minute drive to Omaha Beach , one of the historic D-Day landing sites during World War II. 

The Omaha Beach Memorial Museum is located on the beach and offers a detailed overview of the D-Day landings and the events there. About 6 miles out of the city center, you can also visit Le Pointe du Hoc, a strategically important site during the D-Day landings known for the heroic actions of U.S. Rangers.

Another striking landmark is the Normandy American Cemetery which overlooks the beach. It is a moving yet magnificent hill site decorated with thousands of white crosses marking the graves of U.S. soldiers. 

To make things easier, you can also take an American D Day sites guided tour to view all the World War II related sites. 

Enjoy lunch at La Sapinière or PLAGE d’OR Bar Brasserie.

Saint-Lô is approximately 24 miles from Omaha Beach. En route, stop about half an hour outside of Omaha Beach at the gorgeous Jardin D’Elle Botanical Gardens to admire the two hectares of land home to over 2,500 plant varieties.  

Saint-Lô offers many activities and sights to explore, like the Beaux-Arts Museum and the Saint-Lô Cathedral. The former is a museum that showcases French artworks, including sculptures and paintings from the 19th century and tapestries dating even further back. The beautiful Saint-Lô Cathedral is an excellent example of exquisite Gothic architecture with stunning stained-glass windows.

Stroll through the Jardin des Amériques, a park boasting beautiful rose gardens, colorful flower beds, and fountains. Or explore the town center and the scenic surroundings by renting a bike .

Enjoy a French dinner at La Maison or La Metidja if you like Moroccan cuisine. Afterward, attend a show at the Théâtre Roger-Ferdinand . This picturesque theater was built in the 1800s and hosts a variety of performances and events, so explore what’s on before your trip to book ahead.

  • Where to Stay in Saint-Lô

Upmarket: Château de Bernesq, Bernesq – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Chambres Château D’Agneaux, Agneaux – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: ibis budget Saint Lô – Booking.com | Agoda

modenr metal sculpture on a large sandy beach with sea in the distance

Want to plan your own road tri p? Get our step-by-step road trip planning guide to help you organize the perfect trip, or check out our Europe road trip ideas .

Day 7: Saint-Lô to Mont-Saint-Michel

Mont-saint-michel.

A world-famous island topped by a gravity-defying abbey, Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay are high on the list of France’s most stunning sights.

The holy island, a commune in its own right, lies approximately 0.6 miles / 1km off the coast of Normandy, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches, making it accessible at low tide to pilgrims, but defensible as an incoming tide would strand, drive off, or drown would-be assailants.

Today, Mont-Saint-Michel remains one of Europe’s major pilgrimage destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the spectacular Mont-Saint Michel Bay.

Make sure to book your Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey tickets well in advance, or book the three museums of Mont-Saint-Michel and visit the Maritime Museum, the Historical Museum Sound and Light, and the historic house of Bertrand Du Guesclin, a Breton knight and French military commander during the 14th century, and his wife, Tiphaine de Raguenel, a famous astrologist who used to read the destiny of the world in the stars.

From Mont-Saint-Michel you can decide on your next destination. Spend a day in Paris , visit the gorgoeus chateaux of the Loire Valley, chill on the Vendee coast, or take a Brittany road trip along the stunning coastline – all are within easy reach.

  • Where to Stay in Mont-Saint-Michel

Upmarket: Château de Boucéel, Vergoncey – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Château de Chantore, Bacilly – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Hotel Gabriel – Booking.com | Agoda

Island with houses and an elegant castle ane church spire

France Road Trip Essentials

Here are the websites and services we personally use and recommend for traveling in France.

  • Search for affordable flights to France with Skyscanner
  • Search for availability and book hotels and accommodation in France with Booking.com
  • Find and book the best campsites in France with Eurocampings
  • Book the cheapest and most reliable hire cars in France with Rentalcars.com
  • Best for ferries from UK to France Direct Ferries
  • Find and hire your perfect motorhome or campervan with Motorhome Republic
  • Get highly rated, reliable, and trustworthy travel insurance with True Traveller
  • Check if you need a visa and arrange your documents with Visagov

Driving in France Tips

Road trips in France are usually pleasurable, thanks to their extensive and well-maintained autoroute network, and generally good local roads. French drivers can be impatient and are dreadful tailgaters and really, really dislike being overtaken, but, c’est la vie , this is France!

Whether you’re traveling in your own car, touring France in a motorhome or flying in and renting a car, you need to follow these rules when you’re drive in Normandy;

  • You must have at least three months remaining on your passport (issued in the past ten years) at your intended date of departure from France.
  • You must have at least 3rd party insurance for your vehicle.
  • Citizens of non-EU third countries may require an International Driving Permit for driving in Europe . You can check whether you need an IDP here .
  • You must carry at least one reflective jacket within the passenger compartment of your vehicle and must put it on before you get out in an emergency or breakdown situation. You must also carry a warning triangle and a first aid kit.
  • You may require a Crit’Air sticker which is placed in the windscreen of your vehicle to provide a visible way to identify the level of emissions produced. If you’re renting a vehicle, the Crit’Air sticker should already be on display on the windscreen. Find out more and purchase Crit’Air stickers from the official certificat-air.gouv.fr website.
  • French motorways are privately managed and you’re not allowed to request your own assistance company to attend to you if you break down. If you do break down use the orange emergency telephones that are situated every 2km along French motorways to call the police or the official breakdown service operating in that area or dial the emergency services on 112. You will be towed to a safe designated area where you can make onward arrangements for your own breakdown insurer to assist you if you have it. Otherwise, the towing company will be able to provide support or signpost you. 
  • You do not need to carry a breathalyzer, the law requiring that you do has been repealed.

RELATED POST: Driving in Europe – Everything You Need to Know

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France Pocket Guide

The Ultimate Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

Planning a driving tour of Normandy? Then you are in for a treat!

Normandy is undoubtedly one of France’s most beautiful and historic regions. Situated in the northern part of the country, it is an area that boasts magnificent seaside resorts, grand casinos, beautiful hillsides, and Belle Époque–style villas.

It’s also packed with a plethora of mediaeval towns and historical landmarks, like the Mont-Saint-Michel and Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, that will charm and captivate you in equal measure.

Having played an integral role in the D-Day invasions of WWII, the area also provides a sombre reminder of the human cost of peace, as evidenced by the many memorials, museums, and cemeteries that are devoted to it.

Best discovered by walking through its mediaeval town centres, and engaging in scenic drives in Normandy, there are hundreds of places you can visit to really get a feel for the place.

In this guide, our aim is to help you plan your ultimate Normandy Road Trip itinerary. So let’s get into it!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!

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Table of Contents

Planning a Road Trip in Normandy

When planning your Normandy road trip itinerary there is much to think about; not the least of which being when is the best time to go there.

How do you get there? And also what destinations should you visit once you arrive?

In the subsequent sections below we will try and answer these questions for you to help you to put together a proper schedule for your road trip in Normandy.

When is the Best Time to go on a Road Trip in Normandy?

The best time to embark on a Normandy road trip very much depends on what you are looking for.

For sure you’ll find the nicest weather between June and August. However, this also coincides with the peak tourist season, as well as the D-Day commemorations. So you are likely to encounter more people and higher accommodation prices around this time.

For this reason, the shoulder seasons of spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) might be better options, as the weather is still pleasant (though you might need coats and jumpers), accommodation prices are cheaper and visitor numbers tend to be reduced.

Winter can be a good time to visit Normandy in the sense that accommodation rates will be at low season rates. However, the weather frequently might be cold, dark, and rainy, and you may even find some smaller towns, and several tourist attractions might have temporarily closed down.

How to Get to Normandy

Accessible by air, sea, road or rail, Normandy is a very easy destination to get to.

Just a two hour train journey from Paris, the region also boasts four cross-Channel ports, several major train stations and two international airports. So no matter how you choose to get there, you shouldn’t have too many problems.

Most international visitors to Normandy will fly into Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, and Nantes International Airport. Although some flights from abroad will get you into Caen-Carpiquet and Deauville Airports. At all of these airports you will be able to hire a car from companies like Avis or Enterprise.

From the UK and Ireland, five different ferry companies operate, most of which will take you to Dieppe or Cherbourg.

If you would prefer to take the train, there are several stations around Normandy which can be reached from either Paris Gare Saint-Lazare train station, or Paris Gare Montparnasse. This includes Caen, Evreux, Le Havre, Rouen, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Bayeux, and Deauville.

The Perfect Itinerary for a Road Trip in Normandy

Planning a driving tour of Normandy? Well here are some terrific places to visit during your time there.

Stop 1: Rouen

The capital of Northern France, Rouen is the perfect place to start your scenic drives in Normandy.

Located on the River Seine, it is a city rich in history. Very important as a seaport in Roman times and the Middle Ages, it was claimed and reclaimed by both the English and French several times during the Hundred Years War. It was also here that Joan of Arc was famously tried and burned at the stake in 1431.

Now known for its charming, cobblestoned pedestrian centre, which features a number of notable mediaeval half-timbered houses, the city boasts some world-class cultural establishments including Rouen Cathedral, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Secq des Tournelles museum.

Also featuring a collection of Gothic Churches, including Saint-Ouen and Saint-Maclou, its skyline is defined by the Cathédrale Notre-Dame. Whose impressive spires were regularly immortalised in the works of Impressionist painter Claude Monet.

  • Stroll through the Jardin des Plantes: Covering 85,000 square metres, the Jardin des Plantes showcases plant species from all over the world. Major highlights include an Asian-inspired rock garden, a rose garden, and a garden for medicinal plants.
  • Visit Old Market Square: Situated at western end of the Rue du Gros-Horloge, this is where Joan of Arc was burnt alive. Around the square you will find some beautiful corbelled and half-timbered houses.
  • Check out the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles: This unique church is situated inside a former church – the Church of Saint-Laurent – which dates back to the beginning of the 16th century. It exhibits a fascinating collection of centuries old ironworks that used to belong to Henri Secq Tournelles.
  • Peruse the Musée des Beaux-Arts: Rouen is home to a fine arts museum that features a range of art, sculpture, and decorative items that derive from the 1500s to the 20th century. Some of the cultural treasures you can see include the works of Monet, Pissaro, Degas, Sisley, and Renoir.
  • See the Gros Horloge: A big mediaeval landmark in Rouen, this impressive, astronomical clock is mounted above a beautiful renaissance passageway and arch. It features a mechanism from the 1300s that still works today!

Stop 2: Veules-les-Roses

Looking like it was plucked straight from the pages of a fairytale storybook, Veules-les-Roses is one of the oldest villages in the Pays de Caux. It is also undoubtedly one of the prettiest, too.

Situated on the Alabaster Coast, about 180 kilometres to the north of Paris, this stunning coastal village is a ‘must-see’ destination.

Rich in unspoilt charm, and featuring several gorgeous half-timbered cottages, the town is also divided by The Veules, which is France’s smallest river.

Once a flourishing fishing port in the Middle Ages, it has been a cherished holiday resort for painters, writers and poets since the 19th century. Providing an inspiring and relaxing backdrop for a coastal escape and a city detox.

  • Take a walk along the river: Enjoy the beautiful waterside scenery as you familiarise yourself with the area.
  • Check out the watercress fields: The town has an impressive area where it grows watercress. Against the backdrop of the waterways, it is an arresting sight.
  • See the mills: Mills have been a part of the Veules river since the 13th century. Though most of the remaining ones you can see today were built around the 18th and 19th century.
  • Walking along the Veules-les-Roses Beach: This pebbly beach showcases fabulous views of the cliffs that run all the way to the Saint-Valery-en-Caux, as well as a stunning pier.

Stop 3: Honfleur

Possessing one of the prettiest ports in France, Honfleur was an important trading post back in the Middle Ages.

Nestled on the southern banks of the Seine estuary, it enjoyed a strategic location, which was fortified by the French King during the Hundred Years’ War. (Although this didn’t prevent the English from taking control of it for multiple decades).

Today it is one of the country’s most visited towns. With thousands of people flocking here to see the iconic brightly coloured half-timbered houses that line the quay. 

Also well known for its captivating art galleries and delightful restaurants, the city boasts a famous wooden main church and a long-time association with such celebrated impressionist artists as Claude Monet, Eugène Boudin, and Gustave Courbet.

  • Enjoy the beautiful architecture of the Vieux Bassin: This gorgeous old Insta-worthy harbour is framed on three sides by narrow and very high timber-frame houses that come in all colours.
  • Be impressed by the Church of Sainte-Catherine: This incredible church was constructed entirely out of wood by shipwrights. It features many different decorative details that have a nautical theme. Not least, the ceiling that looks a lot like a ship’s hull.
  • Browse the Maritime Museum: Previously known as the Church of Saint-Étienne, this fascinating museum provides a detailed history of the Honfleur from a seafaring perspective.
  • Take in the magnificence of the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce: A stunning 17th-century chapel that resides atop a hill and features an enchanting mix of paintings, plaques, and sculptures 
  • Delight at The Eugène Boudin Museum: This fine art museum houses several 19th and 20th century artworks by artists like Boudin, Monet, Jongkind, and Dufy that have a long association with the town.

Stop 4: Etretat

Nestled on the northern coast of France, Étretat enjoys one of the most breathtaking locations of anywhere in the country.

Definitely one to add to your bucket list, it is best known for its jaw-dropping 90-metre-high chalk cliffs. Which include three natural arches and a 70-metre pointed formation called L’Aiguille (the Needle).

Serving as the setting for ‘The Hollow Needle’, the popular 1909 French children’s book about Arsène Lupin that was written by Maurice Leblanc, the cliffs and its beach were also featured in the 2014 film Lucy – which was directed by Luc Besson.

They also served as an inspiration to many celebrated impressionist painters like Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, and Charles Daubigny, as well as countless tourists looking for that perfect Insta shot.

  • Take in the views of the cliffs: Lay down a towel, or set up a fold up chair, and spend some time taking in the magnificent views of the small pebbly beach, and the two majestic white chalk cliffs that bookend it.
  • Check out the outstanding views from the top of Notre Dame de la Garde: The existing chapel of Notre Dame de la Garde was built in the 1950s and replaced the previous one that was destroyed during the war by the Nazis in 1942. If you climb to the top of it, you will witness more incredible, panoramic views of the Etretat cliffs from a much higher vantage point.
  • Go to the Etretat Gardens: Sitting on top of the cliffs that overlook the impressive ‘Etretat Needle’, the gardens are a picturesque mix of huge sculptures and landscape art that are well worth viewing.
  • Play a round of golf at the Golf d’Etretat: Perched on top of the Norman cliffs and showcasing magnificent views of the Bay of Etretat, the golf course is a ‘must-play’ if you are into the sport.

Stop 5: Le Havre

Le Havre is a port city that is located at the mouth of the River Seine.

Regarded as the birthplace of the impressionist movement, it was here that Claude Monet painted ‘Impression, Sunrise’, a dramatic depiction of the sun rising through the industrial chimneys of the city. A painting that led one unimpressed critic to dismiss it as ‘impressionism’.

Almost completely rebuilt after suffering significant damage in World War II, the city features an unusual concrete landscape that was designed by Auguste Perret.

Now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, the city is known for its stunning beach, beautiful marina, very good bar and restaurant scene, and an excellent modern art museum.

  • Marvel at the St. Joseph’s Church: Built by Auguste Perret, this incredible church features a neo-gothic temple that boasts a 107 metre tall tower and 12,768 panes of coloured glass.
  • See the exhibits at Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux: Contained within a modern steel and glass building adjacent to the marina, this museum features over 500 years of amazing artworks.
  • Sunbathe on Le Havre Beach: This massive pebble beach has been awarded Blue Flag status. For those who want to swim, the sea is very clean, though maybe a little cold. There are also plenty of restaurants to eat at with a lovely view.
  • Les Jardins Suspendus: An enchanting botanical garden that enjoys a stunning hilltop location. It features a fabulous selection of flora that derives from various parts of the world including North America, East Asia, and Oceania.

Stop 6: Deauville

Located on the Côte Fleurie, Deauville enjoys a reputation for being one of Normandy’s most upscale seaside resorts.

Famous for its iconic celebrity boardwalk, bright, multi-coloured parasols that line its beach, and for hosting the annual American Film Festival, it has been a popular holiday destination for the rich and famous since the 1800s.

Also well known for its magnificent casino, outstanding golf courses, and for its world-renowned horse racing tracks of Deauville la Touques and Clairefontaine, this is an area that oozes class.

Centred around the wonderful Les Planches – an immaculate, wide, sandy beach that features a boardwalk with colourful bathing cabins – it presents plenty of deluxe hotels, chic boutiques, high-end restaurants, and elegant belle epoque villas, as well as rejuvenating, and exclusive sea-related treatments from exclusive spas.

  • Relax on Deauville Beach: The iconic 1.5 mile sweep of soft pristine sand provides a fabulous backdrop in which to sunbathe. For the full Deauville Beach experience, be sure to rent out a colourful umbrella!
  • Walk the boardwalk: Built in 1923, the historic red ironwood Promenade des Planches boardwalk stretches for 2,000 feet and showcases tremendous views.
  • Enjoy a day at the Races: Deauville has a history of horse racing that dates back to 1863, when riders and horses galloped along the beach. Today, its two courses attract international jockeys, trainers, and horses for its summer and winter race programme that incorporates about 40 races every year.
  • Spot celebrities at The American Film Festival: This famous film festival takes place in September and features premiere screenings of new movie releases and A-List celebrities walking the red carpet.

Stop 7: Cabourg

Boasting a fabulous sandy beach that stretches far into the distance in both directions, Cabourg is another very popular seaside resort that you should make a point of heading to on your road trip in Normandy.

Founded in mediaeval times, over 1400 years ago, this historic region has been a popular spot for sea bathing since 1855. It is situated in the Calvados department of Normandy, at the mouth of the river Dives, and has affectionately been dubbed the ‘Queen of the Côte Fleurie’. 

With a casino, racecourse, several stunning Belle Epoque villas that line the waterfront promenade, beautiful gardens, and a very Grand Hôtel, there is plenty to captivate the visitor.

  • Walk the promenade: The Marcel Proust Promenade is a lovely place to stroll along. Providing eye-catching views of the coastal heights of the Côte Fleurie to the west, the stunning Côte de Nacre coastline to the west and Côte d’Albâtre and Le Havre over the water.
  • Try your luck in the Casino: Why not consider having a flutter at Cabourg’s iconic casino?
  • Check out the Casino Gardens: The Casino Gardens presents an outstanding floral environment that is well worth checking out.
  • Wander down Avenue de la Mer: Explore the boutique shops and restaurants on this popular pedestrianised street.

Stop 8: Caen

Caen is both a port city and the capital of the Normandy region’s Calvados department.

Enjoying a rich history, much of its architecture was constructed during the reign of William the Conqueror. Who, himself, was laid to rest there, after he died in Rouen in 1087.

During the Battle of Normandy in 1944 much of the city was destroyed. However, despite this, several notable buildings remained intact, including the imposing Château de Caen, which was built around 1060. 

Now fully rebuilt, this bustling city on the River Orne, is well known for its central location near several excellent beaches and imperious mountains, as well as being one of the oldest university towns in the country.

  • Visit the Abbey of Sainte-Trinité: Impressive Norman Romanesque abbey that was founded by Matilda of Flanders, the wife of William the Conqueror in mid-11th century. Her tomb lies in the abbey.
  • Head to Colline aux Oiseaux Rose Garden: Gorgeous manicured park with a beautiful rose garden that offers fantastic views over the city and its surroundings.
  • Check out the Abbaye aux Hommes: Established by William the Conqueror in 1063, this abbey is his final resting place. Built in a Norman Romanesque style, it features ornately decorated gothic towers on its western facade.
  • Have fun at the Festyland Parc: Divided into four different zones – Mediaeval, Viking, Belle Époque, and Pirate – Normandy’s largest theme park features two rollercoasters and four splash rides, as well as a 3D cinema, adventure playground, and a petting zoo.
  • Pop into the Château de Bénouville: A stunning stately country home northeast of Caen that was designed in an 18th-century neoclassical style by Claude Nicolas Ledoux.

Stop 9: Bayeux

Nestled on the Aure river, just 10 km from the Channel Coast, Bayeux is an idyllic and historic place to visit on your Normandy road trip.

Radiating a distinctly French air, the city was lucky enough to be quickly liberated by the Allies in June 1944. However, this came at a tragic human cost as evidenced by the commemorative war museum and British cemetery that resides here.

Known for the spectacular 68-metre Tapisserie de Bayeux, a UNESCO-listed 11th-century tapestry that depicts the Norman’s successful conquest of England in 1066, the city also features the impressive Norman-Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame.

In addition, it also boasts a charming mediaeval centre that comprises half-timbered houses and cobbled streets, which has a rather magical feel to it.

  • Revel in the magnificence of Notre-Dame Cathedral of Bayeux: Originally built in a Romanesque style in the 12th century, the church is an historic and stunning sight to visit.
  • Check out the Tapisserie de Bayeux: This incredible 900 year old tapestry will blow you away with its ornate and meticulous detail.
  • Visit the Bayeux War Cemetery: Pay your respects to the 4500+ fallen British soldiers who are buried here.
  • Enjoy the beauty of the old town: Take in the sights of the charming old town, which includes an historic waterwheel.

Stop 10: D-Day Beaches

For many people, the D-Day landing beaches are a must visit destination.

Extending for over 70 km, they run from Sainte-Marie-du-Mont to Ouistreham and also include Colleville-sur-Mer and Arromanches-les-Bains.

Graphically portrayed in the 1998 American epic war film Saving Private Ryan, which starred Tom Hanks and was directed by Steven Spielberg, nearly 3,000 Allied servicemen were killed on D-Day.

Now a testament to the human cost of peace across the world, millions of people come to the area every year to learn more about the events of that fateful day, visiting the numerous cemeteries, museums, and memorials in the area that commemorate what happened.

  • Visit the D-Day Museum in Arromanches: This museum pays homage to the Allied and British forces who fought and perished in the Battle of Normandy.
  • Pay your respects at Omaha Beach: Visit the American Cemetery, where over 3000 US Soldiers are buried, as well as the Overlord Museum.
  • Peruse the Sainte-Mère-Église and Airborne Museum: Discover the story of how paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division played a critical role in liberating the town of Sainte-Mère-Église. The first in Normandy to be liberated.
  • Centre Juno Beach: Family-friendly series of displays, presentations, exhibits and films that convey Canada’s contributions to the Allied war effort.

Stop 11: Granville

Granville has been a popular seaside resort since the back end of the 19th century.

Nestled in between Mont-Saint-Michel to the north and Coutances to the south, it lies on the southwest coast of the Cotentin peninsula.

Presenting sensational views of the Bay of the Mont Saint-Michel, as seen from its fortified headland, this fabulous destination features an eclectic mix of attractions. Its mediaeval Upper Town and bustling fishing port are well worth exploring. While the fabulous Chausey Islands are situated just a 15 km ferry ride away.

Talking of fabulous, the area was the birthplace of Christian Dior, and also boasts a magnificent beach; just as well, on the more sombre side, concrete block houses that provide a link back to the German occupation in World War II.

  • Explore the walled Upper Town: Comprises a gothic church, a house with multiple turrets, fine stone mansions, and a great selection of galleries, shops, restaurants, and crêperies.
  • Peruse the Christian Dior house: Celebrated couturier was born in Granville. His childhood home has been turned into a museum, which hosts an exhibition dedicated to him.
  • Eat lots of seafood: Granville is a major fishing harbour for clams, whelks, cuttlefish, dog cockles, scallops, and sea bream. There are plenty of restaurants where you can treat yourself to a delicious food platter.
  • Attend the Granville Carnival: If you happen to be here in February, you should attend this major event which has run for over 150 years. Attracting around 130,000 visitors every year, this five day festival features over 40 carnival floats and many tons of confetti.

Stop 12: Iles Chausey

Nestled just 15 km from Granville, Iles Chausey is a fascinating place to visit.

Known for its stunning natural beauty and impressive tides, the Chausey archipelago comprises 365 islets at low tide and only 52 at high tide.

Gifted to the Benedictine monks of Mont Saint-Michel by Richard II in 1022, the islands are a haven for fishermen. The pristine landscape also features six outstanding beaches, of which three are open to tourists for sunbathing and recreational activities.

It also boasts an iconic lighthouse too, which towers 39 metres above the sea and has been operational since 1847. It also includes a castle that dates back to 1559 and a chapel that was built in the 1840s.

Dolphins have been known to frequent the area too.

  • Sunbathe or Swim: On any of the three beaches that are open to the public.
  • Visit the chapel: Built around 1850 it possesses gorgeous stained-glass windows that were created by Yves Durand de Saint-Front
  • Check out the castle: Built in 1559, this magnificent structure was restored in 1923 by the industrialist Louis Renault.
  • Explore around the lighthouse: Observe the square stone tower which rises 62 feet from the 2-story keeper’s house that is nestled on the Grand Ile Chausey’s highest point. 

Stop 13: Mont-Saint-Michel

Situated just one kilometre off France’s north west coast, Mont-Saint-Michel is a small island commune that occupies just 240 acres.

Even though it is small – it is home to just 29 people – what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty and history. As it rises dramatically from the sea, don’t be surprised if you break out into goosebumps at first sight of it.

Dominated by the magnificent Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Normandy’s top attractions. It is also an important stop on the Chemin de Saint Jacques, which is the pilgrimage route that leads to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

The stunning abbey is positioned on the highest point of the islet, while the impressive mediaeval village is enclosed by ancient defence walls. During high tide, the Mont Saint-Michel can appear foreboding and impenetrable against the raging waters. But at low tide, it is actually very possible to walk around its perimeter.

  • Take a guided tour of the abbey: Learn all about its history that dates back to the 18th century.
  • Stroll around the Chemin des Remparts: Taking in the magnificent scenic views of the surrounding waterway along the ramparts pathway.
  • Check out the Grand Rue: The island’s only street runs alongside the ramparts. It features a lovely mix of cafes, bars, souvenir shops, restaurants, and hotel accommodations.
  • Walk around the island: You can only do this during low tide, but it will give you a unique perspective of the islet.

You may also be interested in:

  • The Ultimate Corsica Road Trip Itinerary
  • The Perfect South West France Road Trip: Itinerary & tips for planning a road trip in South West France

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Many Other Roads

The Ultimate Normandy Road Trip Guide 2024

normandy trip planning

Thinking of doing a Normandy road trip? Good choice!

This charming area of France has so much to offer with a combination of seaside villages and rustic rural towns, it truly is the perfect slice of France.

Millions of Tourists Flock to Paris Each year but just to the North is one of France’s most Magnificent Destinations , Normandy.

Normandy is a perfect trip and even better when explored by Car!

I have explored Normandy by car and will always think it’s one of the best places to drive in France.

So let’s jump in and look at the best and most scenic drives in Normandy.

By the end, you will have everything you need to drive confidently through Normandy and the ultimate list of things to do for your trip!

🚗 If you don’t want to drive your own car around Normandy and are looking for a good value rental. I always use and recommend Discove r Cars

Planning A Trip? Use The Resources Below!

► Accommodation – I Recommend Bookin g .Com

► Local Tours – I Recommend Viator.Com

► Car Rental – I Always Use DiscoverCars.Com

Normandy By Car (Or Public Transport) Quick Guide:

Route Time: Without stopping, it takes around 3 hours

Where To Stop In 3-4 Days

✔️  Day 1:  Arrive In Normandy ✔️  Day 1: Explore the charming area of Honfleur ✔️  Day 2:  Take in the views from Mont Saint-Michel ✔️ Day 2:  Visit the Bayeux Tapestry ✔️ Day 2: Sample Normandies local cider ✔️ Day 3:  Do a tour of the D-Day Beaches ✔️ Day 4:  Leave Normandy

If I only had a day to explore Normandy, this is how I would spend it 👇

  • D-Day Beaches Tour
  • Take in the views at Mont Saint-Michel
  • Stroll around Honfleur

Getting Here

🏆 Discover Cars : The best and cheapest way to compare EVERY rental option available

🚉 Train : Quickest Option Without Driving

⭐️ Tour : For those who want a road trip vibe but with the luxury of not driving!

The Best Places To Stay In Normandy

📍 L’Absinthe HotelOpens in Honfleur  – Amazing views, and great harbourside location. Each room also has a spa bath! 📍 La Romance et la Romanesque  – Incredible location. Perfect for those wanting a romantic stay.

Your Normandy Road Trip Map

Stops not to miss on your Normandy itinerary

When there are so many amazing places to visit, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to go in Normandy.

Whether you are spending 3 days in Normandy or more, here are some places that you can’t miss on your trip:

A dark blue banner saying Got no time or just don’t know where to start planning your trip?

1. Honfleur

Honfleur is one of the most beautiful seaside villages in Europe and the best place for Seafood! This is one spot everyone needs to visit on a Normandy Road Trip

With over 1,000 years of History, Medieval architecture and an old Port, Honfleur is one of the most charming Coastal Villages in Europe.

With Lots of places to eat and winding streets to explore, the old town of Honfleur is definitely worth visiting!

If you are driving from Paris to Normandy, this is one of the most popular spots because it is so stunning and easy to park at.

This is such a great spot for Foodies so make sure you try the fresh seafood available!

There are so many options and great places around Normandy to stay- But the best by far is L’Absinthe HotelOpens in Honfleur

Its location, welcoming staff and charm keep bringing visitors back again and again.

✅  Book Your Stay Here

2. Mont Saint-Michel

Mont-Saint-Michel is a France must visit location, it is like stepping into a Fairytale and the perfect stop on any Normandy Road Trip

Nothing will grab your imagination and make you feel like you are stepping into a Fairy tale quite like Mont Saint-Michel!

This is the one spot you really can’t miss when in this part of France.

Many people ask if the road trip from Paris to Mont St Michel is worth it, and it totally is. This spot is one of the best places to visit on any road trip to Normandy from Paris or beyond!

✅ Tip: Walk the scenic route: Walk Across the Field In Front of Mont Saint-Michel to take in the Views. It only took 20 minutes and allowed us to take it all in without being surrounded by hundreds of Tourists.

3. Bayeux Tapestry Museum

The Bayeux Tapestry is over 70 meters long and tells the tale of the Norman conquest of England in 1066.

Not only is this beautiful piece of art so unique and displays the most incredible Workmanship, but it has also managed to survive over 9 Centuries!

Even if you aren’t a huge History lover, this is an amazing stop when visiting Normandy.

4. D- Day Beaches

The monument Les Braves is located on the center of Omaha Beach is something everyone needs to visit on a Normandy Road trip

These Beaches played a very important part during World War 2 .

The scenes of allied forces arriving in France have been captured in Films like Saving Private Ryan but is a site everyone needs to visit.

📸 The best activity recommended by other travellers and myself in Normandy is the Normandy Battlefields Tour where you can learn more about these beaches.

Ohama beach and the other D Day beaches are a must visit for anyone in Normandy and France

Not only do you get a very knowledgeable tour guide but it is hands-down one of the best days out in Normandy!

With so many glowing 5-star reviews , you are guaranteed an amazing trip!

✅  You Can Check Out The Hundreds Of Great Reviews & Book Here Today

What To Do In Normandy With More Time

No matter whether you are looking for a Normandy itinerary for 2 days or 2 weeks, you will have the best time exploring.

This stunning region of France offers its visitors so many amazing things to do during their trip!

This picturesque region is filled with charming medieval villages, stunning beaches and historical monuments .

From exploring the famous D-Day Beaches to taking in the views along the Calvados Coastline, there’s something for everyone to do here.

And if you’re hungry, then you’ll be in for a treat! Normandy is renowned for its delicious seafood, cheeses and of course, cider.

Here are a few of the best things to do in Normandy to add to your Itinerary (after you have been to them Do Not Miss Spots).

Spend a few more days exploring Honfleur

Honfleur is a beautiful French Town which you will fall in love with on a Normandy Road Trip

This is one of the prettiest places in the area and there are endless this to do here. It is also one of the best places I visited in Normandy so recommend spending more time here.

Take a Stroll Around Honfleur after you have sampled the Food and take in the Rustic French Buildings.

The Shopping here is great, especially if you love Chocolate!

Try the Cider

Normandy Cider is like no other so make sure you try it on your Normandy Road Trip

I promise there is nothing more refreshing after a day of exploring!

You can pick it up in pretty much every supermarket but for the best experience, I do recommend spending a few hours doing a tour.

The Memorial Museum of Omaha Beach

Memorial Museum of Omaha Beach is a great stop on a Normandy Road Trip

The WW2 Memorial plays such an important role in keeping the memory alive of the Young men who landed at the Normandy Beaches.

It is also a great way to dive into the D-Day beach stories and find out more about its role in History.

Why Should I Visit Normandy?

Normandy has some of the best Seafood in Europe, so make sure you try some when on a Normandy Road Trip

Normandy is a destination where you can get a taste of everything.

It is one of the rare locations where there really is something for everyone.

The Region is strong in history and is famous for producing Ciders, Cheeses and some of the best Seafood ever.

With so much to see and do, this is why having a pre-planned Normandy itinerary is the best way to see as much as possible- Driving the roads in Normandy is also really easy.

There is also another bonus of having your car, you can stock up on some of that amazing produce on the way around!

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Normandy?

Drive the ultimate Normandy Road trip and explore the rest of France in the Summer months where the weather is warmer

The Wine Tastes better, the nights are longer and the Sea feels warmer in the French Summer

June is a great time to explore this fantastic French Region.

During this time you will have slightly fewer tourists than in the other Summer Months with amazing Weather. However, if you are looking for slightly cooler weather and cheaper flights, visit in the Spring .

✅ Tip: If you want to Visit Normandy when there are hardly any Tourists but still Great Weather, Try booking your trip for September.

You will find more choices of Accommodation for Cheaper Prices as it’s outside the Peak Summer Season !

How Many Days Do You Need To Visit Normandy?

You could easily spend a week or two relaxing and soaking in Normandy.

However, if you are pressed for time and want to visit more of France and Europe , 3-4 days is the perfect amount of time to see what Normandy has to offer.

But if you are in a hurry, you can do a day trip from Paris to Normandy in just a few hours!

A driving tour of Normandy is the best way to see everything you want in the Region.

Even though the Public Transport in this area is great, you might struggle in the more rural Areas.

Having your own transport means you can beat the crowds and not spend most of your day waiting in the high temperatures!

normandy trip planning

Can You Tour Normandy On Your Own?

plan to stroll through the charming french streets on a 3 week European road trip itinerary

It is incredibly safe and easy to navigate if you want to tour Normandy on your own.

Even though there are many tours available in the area, organising your own trip to Normandy has never been easier (and it will save you lots of money!)

So make the most of this and ask your hotel or accommodation hosts for anything you need.

This will make touring Normandy on your own go so much smoother. And often they will suggest amazing places that you had no idea about!

Getting To Normandy: How To Start Your Trip

With Normandy’s location in the North of France, it is easy to get here from wherever you are starting your Road Trip.

Here are the most popular routes:

Starting Your Visit From Paris

Driving from Paris to Normandy is super easy and the perfect way to explore more of France, even if its just for one day

Driving from Paris to Normandy takes less than 3 hours, so you could even do a day trip if you don’t have much time to spare.

The best route from Paris to Normandy by Car is Via the A13 and A28.

There are also other routes to start your from Paris like the N12.

The best way to decide which route to take is to look at which one will get you to your Normandy starting point the quickest on the day.

✅ Tip: Before setting off from Paris to Normandy, quickly check on Google for any delays on the road. This will help you pick the fastest route & avoid you sitting in traffic.

If you are planning to Explore Normandy by train or you want to pick up your Car Rental in Normandy, a train leaves Paris St-Lazare every 2 hours.

You will want to Jump on a train that takes you into the Historic Cities of Bayeux or Caen.

Bayeux or Caen are very close to the Normandy Beaches and are both great places to start exploring from.

The Train Journey here takes roughly 2.5 hours and costs From €15 .

Starting Your Normandy Road Trip From The UK

There are many ways to get to Normandy and France from the UK, the most popular and cheapest options are the Ferry and Euro Tunnel

Arriving from the UK is pretty easy thanks to the many links to Northern France. These are the easiest ways to get to France from the UK.

If you are Driving your own car from the UK to France, one of the easiest and most popular ways is to use the EuroTunnel .

The EuroTunnel Service can get you from Folkestone, England to Calais, France in 35 Minutes .

⛴️The Dover to Calais Ferry is another service many use and it’s available several times a day and is on average 1 Hour & 30 Minutes .

As soon as you Cross into Calais your getaway can begin!

(The drive time will take you around 4 hours to arrive in Normandy but luckily it is full of amazing views and stress-free!)

The quickest route is normally via A16 and A28 but you may want to double-check this before you set off.

Reaching Normandy From The Airport

Normandy has 2 local Airports but the chepeast and easiest airport to fly into is Paris

If you want to fly into France to start your Normandy getaway, your cheapest and most convenient option would be to arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle.

You can then rent a car from Paris and drive on over to Normandy.

But if you want to avoid driving in Paris, you can get the train or FlixBus which leaves several times a day.

There are other Local Airports closer to Normandy including Deauville and de Caen-Carpiquet.

However, it is usually more expensive to fly to these and the flights are not as frequent as in Paris.

Everything You Need To Know About Driving And Renting A Car In Normandy

Everything you need to know about driving in France and Normandy for your Normandy Road Trip

Toll Roads In Normandy

You will come across many Toll Roads when exploring Normandy and France by Road. Use these Tips to make the process super simple.

👉The tolls are on the right-hand side of the car. If you are from the UK and using your own car, this means the toll payment booth will be on your passenger side.

👉If you are using a left-hand drive vehicle and travelling alone, use the Tolls that have a UK flag so you don’t have to get out of your car.

👉If you are using these routes throughout your trip, it will help your budget to take the scenic routes sometimes where there are no toll roads.

The Price of using the Toll Roads in France is 15-40 Euros and you can pay by Cash or Card.

👉The toll road routes are a lot quicker and easier to drive, but the cost can add up. If you are travelling on a budget, use our ready-to-use map to plan a route avoiding Toll Roads.

Car Rental Prices & Suggestions

Renting a Car for your Normandy Road Trip Couldn’t be easier!

The easiest way to make sure you are getting the best deal is to use a comparison websit e .

This means you can pick the Car and Budget that is perfect for you.

Picking up your Rental from the Airport is the best option, especially if you are on a budget. You can pick your car up as soon as you land and start exploring France.

For one week you can Find Car Rentals for roughly £160 /$222 (187 Euro)

Top Tips For Picking Up Your Rental Car In France

Arranging a Car Rental wherever you are can be pretty stressful, especially in a new country.

Use these tips to make your Car Rental Process go smoothly so you can enjoy your driving tour to the Max!

🇫🇷When checking your rental vehicle, use a device to Film around the car. This is the best way to show any damage that is on the car before you receive it.

🇫🇷Tell the Rental Company Straight away if you notice any damage to the car. You don’t want to return the car after your trip and be charged for damage you didn’t do.

🇫🇷Take a Picture of the Car Miles before you set off. This helps avoid any additional millage charges.

🇫🇷Know your Car insurance options before your trip. It’s becoming more popular to sort your own car insurance before a (You know exactly what you are getting then)

Figuring out a new Car in a new Country can be challenging at times. Make sure you use these free Stress-Free driving tips to make driving in this part of France a breeze.

Normandy Road Trip Must Pack items

Road Trips are Great for picking up the last-minute items you forget to pack. This is a lifesaver for me because I always forget something 🫣

But there are a few things you will need to start your Normandy driving adventure .

Remember to make sure the below items end up in your Suitcase⬇️

Important Documents you will need :

✅Visa if applicable ( If you are a Non- EU National , Check out here for more information about Documents you may need )

✅Your Drivers License

✅Travel Insurance for your trip

Normandy Must Pack Items

✔️Phone Chargers compatible with a car

✔️AUX Cable to play your Fave Podcast & Playlists

✔️ A FRENCH driving kit

✔️Sunglasses & Sun Cream

✔️ A Jumper , just In case the Weather Drops

✔️Your favourite Travel Pillow

✔️Snacks & Water (Because who doesn’t love a snack?)

✔️Pain Medication

✔️Breathalyzer (For them Vineyard Stops you will be tempted by)

✅ I nsider Tip: Download a Playlist and Navigation APP that you can use offline in case the signal cuts out (this happened to me a few times!)

IMPORTANT INFO If You Are Driving Your Own Vehicle

The French are Pretty Hot on Road Safety, so make sure your vehicle has the following things for Driving in Normandy and Beyond (It’s Law)

First Aid Kit, Car Break Down Safety Kit & If you are driving from the UK, a UK Sticker.

👉 Make Sure You Have Your Kit For Driving In France Ready!

🇫🇷 Normandy Road Trip Sign-Off

Normandy gives you the perfect Slice of France if you are there for 1 day or Ten.

No matter how long you plan on driving in France, as long as you have YOUR DRIVING IN FRANCE KIT , you are all set to go and it’s really easy.

Not only is driving around Normandy easy but the best way to save money and visit lots of the sites you can’t see without a car.

But just remember before you go, book any tours or activities in advance to save money and avoid missing out!

I hope you found this article useful! For the best trip to France & Europe, here are some relevant posts:

✔️ The Ultimate Luxury Car Hire Options In France For Your Next Getaway

✔️ What Do You Need To Know About Driving In Europe In Winter? The Complete Guide

✔️ What Countries In Europe Speak English?

✔️ The Best British Airways Cabin Bag For Your Next Flight

✔️ The Best Backpack For All Types Of European Travel

✔️ Where Are The Best Places To Visit In April In Europe?

Want to travel around Europe with Ease?

With all the Different Languages it can be hard to travel across Europe from time to time….

So make sure you download your Free Key Phrase Guide Below to help you explore Europe ⬇️

Your Free Key Phrase Guide

Download the latest version of our European key phrase guide.

normandy trip planning

Lowri Thomas is the founder of Many Other Roads. She lives and travels in Europe and has explored more than 40 countries. She is joined on her travels with her dog Scout and they explore Europe mostly by road. Born in Wales, she also shares the best things to do in Wales, UK and beyond. She helps over 50,000 people per month plan epic Europe adventures and road trips.

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One Trip at a Time

Normandy is a beautiful part of northern France to visit, but many visitors come for the sights that relate to the Battle of Normandy. The battle raged from D-Day on the 6th June 1944 until the end of August. A surprising amount of sites survive to this day, from huge batteries that formed part of the Atlantic Wall to parts of the Mulberry Harbour still resting on Gold Beach .

This suggested (and tested!) itinerary will help you get the most of this historic part of France. We explored the whole of the area from Utah Beach in the west to Sword Beach in the east and beyond. If you have more time to visit you can add in some more of the many museums that cover many different aspects of D-Day and the  Battle of Normandy or take in some great places which are unrelated to World War II.

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Normandy Itinerary Les Braves Monument Omaha Beach

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To get the most out of Normandy you’ll need a car. You won’t be able to get to many of the sites which can be quite remote by public transport in a sensible amount of time or possibly at all. By having a car you can wander through the countryside, visit small villages, explore old bunkers and just stop wherever you want when you spot something interesting.

So let’s hop in the car and take a 3-day road trip around Normandy!

NORMANDY ROAD TRIP OVERVIEW

  • Travel to Normandy
  • DAY 1 : Crisbecq and Azeville Batteries  |  Utah Beach and Landing Museum  |  La Cambe Cemetery  |  Maisy Battery  |  Pointe du Hoc  |  Omaha Beach and Normandy American Cemetery
  • DAY 2 : Bayeux British Cemetery  |  Bayeux Cathedral  |  Bayeux Tapestry  |  Longues-Sur-Mer Battery  |  Musée du Débarquement  |  Gold Beach and Mulberry Harbour  |  Juno Beach and Juno Beach Centre  |  Sword Beach  |  Beny-sur-Mer Cemetery
  • DAY 3 : Site Hillman  |  Memorial Pegasus  |  Ranville Cemetery and Church  |  Mont Canisy Battery  |  Villerville Pillboxes  |  Honfleur
  • Travel Home from Normandy

Click the link on the “DAY” to quickly jump to that section of this itinerary.

NORMANDY ROAD TRIP MAP

Please feel free to download this map for your personal use when planning your trip.

To download this Google Map, click on the grey star at the top of the map and this map will be added to your Google Maps account. You can then view it on your phone or computer in Google Maps by clicking on the menu button, going to “Your Places” and selecting this map. 

We use these maps in the planning stage of creating all our itineraries as you can set out your plan in advance and then quickly reference these maps through the planning process.

WHERE TO STAY IN NORMANDY

Normandy is compact enough that you can set up camp in one spot rather than move from night to night. We picked somewhere fairly central, but you could pretty much do this itinerary whilst staying anywhere within striking distance of the coast.

RECOMMENDED : Ferme de la Rançonnière  3-star hotel in Crepon

This wonderful hotel is centrally located to all the D-Day sites in Normandy, beautifully rustic and charming, excellent dining, and the staff were very helpful prior to arrival answering our question about the accommodations and booking us a specific room.

This hotel also regularly offers deals which include room, breakfast and dinner in their restaurant. We enjoyed two meals at the restaurant, one each from their Terroir and Gastronomic menus, and enjoyed fantastic food both times during our three-night stay.

NORMANDY ROAD TRIP: DAY 1

Crisbecq and Azeville Batteries  |  Utah Beach and Landing Museum  |  La Cambe Cemetery  |  Maisy Battery  |  Pointe du Hoc  |  Omaha Beach and Normandy American Cemetery

Our trip starts out West in the American landing zones of Utah and Omaha Beach . The first stops are two of the enormous batteries that formed part of the Atlantic Wall. Crisbecq and Azeville batteries held large, long-range, artillery that threatened the landing forces and the ships that supported them. At Crisbecq you can understand what it took to destroy these guns, which basically required a direct hit on the concrete classmate.

Normandy Itinerary Crisbecq Battery

From the batteries, it’s time to visit the first of the five beaches. Utah beach is the furthest west of the landing beaches and 23,000 men landed here on D-Day. It was here that a German soldier was quoted as saying “The sea is black with ships”, such was the size of the attacking force. Today, the sandy beach is as tranquil as any other beach in the world and it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like back on the 6th June 1944.

For a first insight into the events of D-Day, a visit to the Utah Beach Landing Museum right next to the beach is next on our itinerary. The museum houses several military vehicles as well as a B26 bomber, thousands of which attacked the enemy before, during and after D-Day. This bomber is painted in the colours of Major Dewhurst who led the final bombing run over Utah beach. Outside the museum are several monuments related to D-Day.

Our next stop might be a bit jarring to some people, but we stopped at La Cambe German War Cemetery . The vast majority of the German soldiers stationed on the Atlantic Wall, defending France, didn’t want to be there. They were men whose lives were cut short due to the actions of others just the same as the Allied soldiers who died. The cemetery holds 21,139 bodies and the focal point it the large central mound, which is a common grave, topped by a large cross.

Normandy Itinerary La Cambe Cemetery

Another battery is up next and the interesting theories and history of Maisy Battery make it a worthwhile stop. The site was lost to history until 2004 and its rediscovery has led to some interesting theories of how and why it was lost and whether some of the events and tactics of D-Day should be reassessed.

The rocky bluff of Pointe du Hoc is the perhaps the place in Normandy where you can best see the result of the Battle of Normandy still. The rugged ground is pockmarked with crater holes to this day and damaged bunkers and casemates litter the landscape. The US Army Rangers Assault Group who scaled these cliffs while under enemy fire to take the battery found that the guns had been moved and replaced with telephone poles.

The second American landing beach Omaha Beach is next on our itinerary. Here, a striking monument to the soldiers who liberated France called Les Braves can be found, surrounded, like so many of the important locations in the area, by the flags of the nations who formed the Allied forces. 34,000 troops landed on this beach under heavy enemy fire and hampered by the loss of all but two of the 29 tanks that were to offer fire support.

The first day finishes with a visit to the Normandy American Cemetery . 9,387 soldiers are buried here together with a memorial to 1,557 soldiers who have no known grave. If you can arrive in time, you can witness the ceremony of the lowering of the flag which happens each evening.  

NORMANDY ROAD TRIP: DAY 2

Bayeux British Cemetery  |  Bayeux Cathedral  |  Bayeux Tapestry  |  Longues-Sur-Mer Battery  |  Musée du Débarquement  |  Gold Beach and Mulberry Harbour  |  Juno Beach and Juno Beach Centre  |  Sword Beach  |  Beny-sur-Mer Cemetery

The second day of your trip starts with a visit to Bayeux War Cemetery . This is the largest Commonwealth WWII cemetery in France and holds the graves of 4,144 soldiers. There are also 500 graves of other nationalities, many of whom are German.

The town of Bayeux is the location for the only non-WWII stops on the itinerary. The stunning Cathedral of Notre-Dame dates back to the 11th-century, the days of Willam the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings. It was a peaceful place to reflect on some of the other sights we had visited.

The cathedral was home for many centuries to the Bayeux Tapestry, but this is now held in the nearby Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux. The tapestry, which is actually an embroidery, tells the story of the Norman conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The work that went into it and the fact it has survived nine centuries are impressive, but the thing that wowed us the most was how long it is.

Normandy Itinerary Bayeux Cathedral

From Bayeux, it’s time to head back to the coast and Longues-Sur-Mer battery . The amazing thing about this battery of four guns is that the batteries still contain their guns. This and the fire control post that can be visited on the cliff edge allow visitors to get a better impression of how these batteries operated.

Moving along the coast we enter the first of the British landing beaches, Gold Beach . It’s here that you’ll find the relatively small Musée du Débarquement which contains beautiful scale models of the Mulberry Harbour that was built off the coast of Gold Beach to enable the Allies to have a deepwater harbour for resupply.

Directly outside the museum is Gold Beach itself, the third of the five beaches on the itinerary. If you can arrive here at low tide, you can walk out onto the beach and explore the Mulberry Harbour pieces that still rest on the beach after all these decades. These enormous concrete structures were towed across the English Channel and connected together to form a structure able to be used to offload millions of tonnes of supplies after D-Day.

Normandy Itinerary Gold Beach

Heading further east takes you to the Canadian landing zone of Juno Beach . It was from the bridgehead established on this beach that the Canadian Forces moved the furthest inland and came closes to any of the landing zones of achieving the objectives for D-Day.

Next to the beach is the Juno Beach Centre where you can learn about the Canadian contribution to D-Day and the wider war effort. Starting with a film projected from within a simulated landing craft to set the scene, the museum holds many personal documents and photographs that help bring home the personal impact of the conflict.

The most easterly landing zone, Sword Beach is the final beach on our itinerary. It was here that the British 2nd Army landed with the goal of securing the eastern flank of the assault. 29,000 men landed here on D-Day, but one of the main objectives for the day, the capture of Caen, was still several kilometres out of reach.

Day 2 ends with a visit to the Canadian cemetery at Beny-Sur-Mer . 2048 soldiers are buried here from those who fell on D-Day to those killed in the Battle of Caen and the men who were illegally executed at Ardenne Abbey. Like all Commonwealth war cemeteries, it is kept in immaculate condition and is a peaceful and sobering place to visit.

NORMANDY ROAD TRIP: DAY 3

Site Hillman  |  Memorial Pegasus  |  Ranville Cemetery and Church  |  Mont Canisy Battery  |  Villerville Pillboxes  |  Honfleur

The last day of this short, but intense, itinerary starts with a visit to Site Hillman. Site Hillman was a bunker complex and command post on D-Day and as such a prime target for the attacking forces. The job of securing the bunker was given to the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment of the British Army. The bunkers were well defended and difficult to capture, but they surrendered on the morning of the 7th June. The site is now a memorial after the land was given to the Suffolk Regiment by the former owner of the land.

Continuing east the itinerary takes you to one of the most daring stories of D-Day and an essential capture of bridges to secure the flank of the attacking forces and protect them from counter-attacks. Memorial Pegasus tells the story of how the 6th Airborne Division landed right next to the bridge in the dead of night early on D-Day and captured the bridge over the Caen canal. Across the new bridge, you can see a building that proudly proclaims that it was the first building to be liberated in France.

Normandy Itinerary Pegasus Bridge

The nearby village of Ranville is the location of the Ranville War Cemetery where those who died in this attack, including the first allied casualty on D-Day Lieutenant H.D. Brotheridge, and others. 2,235 commonwealth soldiers are buried here, as well as 330 Germans and a few others. And a further 48 graves can be found within the churchyard.

The church is worth a visit to see the beautiful stain-glassed window that commemorates the capture of Pegasus Bridge with the words  “In Memoriam 1944 6th Airborne Division”.

Normandy Itinerary Ranville War Cemetery

Heading outside the immediate area of D-Day our itinerary takes in Mont Canisy Battery . Though it saw very little action in the Battle of Normandy this means it is well preserved and an interesting place to visit. Built on top of a hill, it also offers great views of the surrounding area in places.

The final stop on the itinerary takes you to some pillboxes that are rarely visited. From the car park (marked on the map below) you have to walk about 750m (2,500 ft) along the beach to the east to get to the pillboxes. They are not in their original positions having slipped down the beach over the decades. Like the Mulberry Harbour pieces in Arromanche, the pillboxes are interesting to visit and explore.

READ MORE:  If you have time to extend your trip, there are many other towns and places to explore in Normandy such as the nearby Honfleur with its cute harbour and wooden church, Église Ste-Catherine.

BEST TIME TO TAKE AN NORMANDY ROAD TRIP

In our opinion, the best time to visit Normandy is either the spring (March to May) or the autumn (mid-September to October). The weather is good (although it can vary so pack layers!) especially as it gets closer to May, or it can still be warm in September. The summer crowds aren’t in full swing and accommodation rates aren’t as high as the peak season.

BUT, some of the sites may only open during the high season, so be sure to check that any sites you specifically want to visit will be open during the time you plan to be there.

We visited in March and found almost everything we wanted to visit was open and nowhere we visited was very crowded. In some cases, we had “private” tours as we happened to be the only people visiting a particular attraction at the time, which was fantastic!

But you may not be able to visit during those times of the year so what should you expect in the summer or winter?

In the summer (June to mid-September) the days are long (like 10:00 pm sunsets), the weather is warm, and every sightseeing attraction, B&B, and hotel is open. However, with this, you’ll also find the biggest crowds, especially in the most popular sites. This is also the time of year where airfare, car rental, and hotel prices will be the highest. You should also be aware that there are usually events around many sites around the 6th June each year, so accommodation prices could be higher and some sites may be more crowded.

In the winter (November – February) there are fewer daylight hours and in many cases, you’ll find quite a few of the sites are closed. The weather is cold, wet, and can be foggy which can really put a damper on a day of sightseeing – especially when so much of the sights of Normandy are outside or exposed to the elements. But, you are likely to find great prices on airfares, hotels, and B&Bs (though some B&Bs may not be open at all).

RESOURCES | PLAN YOUR NORMANDY ROAD TRIP

To book flights, rental cars, accommodations, and activities for your trip, please check out our recommended travel providers, favourite apps and websites. 

  • Rick Steves’  ‘ Normandy TV show ‘ episode

These are a few tours we would recommend for your Normandy road trip.

Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission but this does not affect the price to you. Please read our   full disclosure policy here . 

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World war ii museums in normandy, world war ii batteries in normandy, world war ii d-day beaches in normandy, 8 great places to visit in normandy, france, world war ii cemeteries in normandy.

Normandy Road Trip – The Best 3 Day Itinerary (+ free map)

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Looking to explore Normandy on a short road trip? Great idea!

Normandy seduces tourists from all over the world thanks to its incredible landmarks among the best of France , its historical towns, its cliffside paths, and its picturesque harbors that give a feeling of endless holidays.

To help you plan your Normandy road trip, I’m sharing with you the best 3 days itinerary through the region, along with options to extend your trip, expert tips, and a free easy-to-follow map. Let’s go! 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

3 Days in Normandy Itinerary Overview + Free Map

Day 1 – rouen , day 2 – étretat, day 3 – le havre/honfleur, extending your road trip to normandy , best time to visit normandy, how to go from paris to normandy, where to stay on your normandy road trip.

You may already know it, but 3 days is certainly not enough to discover the whole Normandy region as it extends on about 30,000 square kilometers. You would need weeks of traveling to visit everything!

So, to make the most out of your 3 days, I’ve focused this itinerary on 4 major spots of Normandy, starting from Paris. The first step of this road trip, Rouen, is located only a 1,5-hour drive from Paris.

Find below a quick overview of the 3-day Normandy itinerary breakdown by day and the map.

coastline of etretat in normandy

Step-by-Step Itinerary

Day 1 visiting Rouen: 

  • Botanical Garden 
  • Panorama de Rouen  

St. Maclou Catholic Church

  • Rouen Cathedral
  • St. Ouen Abbey Church
  • Rue du Gros Horloge 
  • Place du Vieux Marché
  • Église Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc

Day 2 visiting Étretat:  

  • Étretat Gardens
  • Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde
  • Étretat Beach
  • Hike on the cliffs of Étretat

Day 3 visiting Le Havre and Honfleur: 

  • Hanging Gardens of Le Havre

Le Havre Beach

  • St Joseph Church
  • Le Havre Port
  • Catène de Conteneurs 
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame
  • Le Volcan 
  • Jardin des Personnalités
  • Honfleur Beaches
  • St. Catherine’s Church
  • Vieux Bassin

Normandie Road Trip Free Map

To get your Normandie road trip map, simply click on the image below to open it in Google Maps . Then click on the “star” icon to save it to your own maps.

road trip normandie free map

Keep reading below to get more details with photos about each step of this road trip to Normandy.

Rouen is a very good choice to start a Normandy trip when coming from Paris as you won’t spend too much time driving. Also, Rouen is a must-see as it’s the capital of Normandy, a city marked by history since Roman times and full of exceptional sites to discover.  

To be able to see all the following spots in a day, I recommend arriving in Rouen around 10 am at most.   

🚗 Driving time from Paris to Rouen : 1,5 hour

🅿️ Where to park in Rouen : Free parking on Ile Lacroix or several paying parking. Check Rouen parking rules here .

🍕 Where to eat in Rouen : Gill , Bisou , Holy Moly Burger

🏠 Best accommodation in Rouen : Ibis Styles Rouen Centre Rive Gauche

1. Botanical Garden

After arriving in Rouen in the morning, I recommend starting your visit to Rouen with the Botanical Garden.

Park in one of the many parking spots available around and visit for about 1 hour this green oasis full of beautiful plant species from all over the world. The greenhouse inside the park is 170 years old!

rouen botanical garden is the step 1 of the road trip normandie

2. Panorama of Rouen

After visiting the Botanical Garden, head to the Panorama de Rouen on the St Catherine hill to get the most beautiful view you can have of the city. It was here that the famous painter Claude Monet realized his work General View of Rouen in 1892.

You have 2 options to get there: you can drive and park directly on top of the hill, or you can hike up the hill for about 20min round-trip. If you choose to climb the 525 steps, you can park close to the trail entrance. 

From the top, you’ll love seeing Rouen’s best landmarks including the Seine River, Rouen Cathedral, as well as the pretty roofs typical of the region.  Don’t forget your camera to capture this magical moment!

panorama de rouen is another step of this roadtrip normandie

3. Old Town

Get back to your car and head to the Ile Lacroix to park for free before visiting on foot the Old Town of Rouen.

Indeed, it can be difficult to find a parking spot inside the town, especially on weekends, and it can be expensive. That’s why I strongly recommend parking on Ile Lacroix, a small island located only a 10min walk from the heart of the Old Town. It’s free and you can park for as long as you want! 

rouen old town street

Street in the Old Town of Rouen

From Ile Lacroix, the first monument you’ll encounter is the St. Maclou Catholic Church . Classified as a historical monument, the Catholic church of St. Maclou is a jewel of Gothic art completed in 1521.  

Although the church suffered damages during WWII, especially the lantern tower and spire, it was beautifully renovated both inside and outside. 

saint maclou church is part of this normandy itinerary

Right after St. Maclou at only 4min walking distance, you’ll find Rouen’s most famous monument: Rouen Cathedral also known as the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen. 

Built in the 12th century, the cathedral will impress you with its spire that rises to more than 150 meters, the highest cast-iron spire in France . Like St. Maclou, the monument was bombed by the Allies during the Second World War and the building has been constantly transformed.

Inside, you can admire a series of 28 paintings by painter Monet who made the cathedral famous throughout the world.

facade of rouen cathedral

Walk for about 7min to reach the St. Ouen Abbey Church, located right next to the city hall of Rouen. It used to be one of the most powerful Benedictine monasteries in Normandy during the 14th-16th centuries. 

You’ll be impressed by the dimensions of this medieval abbey: 137 meters high and 33 meters under the vaults. Because of its size, some visitors sometimes confuse it with the cathedral! 

Inside, the abbey church has 80 stained glass windows that give it exceptional luminosity. But the building is best known for its great organ, which is one of the most recorded instruments in the world.

exterior of the abbatiale st ouen

After visiting the abbey, walk to the Rue du Gros Horloge , a pretty cobbled street crossing the Old Town famous for its huge clock, one of the most emblematic monuments of Rouen.

The astronomical clock dates from the Renaissance and spans the street by an arch. It tells the time to the people of the city thanks to a double dial with a single needle.

rue du gros horloge in rouen

Rue du Gros Horloge in Rouen

Finish your day at the Place du Vieux Marché , the legendary place where Joan of Arc was burned alive on May 30, 1431.

In the center of this square surrounded by restaurants and bars, sits a large cross symbolizing the pyre on which she was burned. There is also a huge church that was erected in her memory in 1979. 

rouen st joan church from the exterior

Ending the day at the Place du Vieux Marché is perfect as you’ll find plenty of tasty restaurants where you can try some local food. I definitely recommend the Gill or the Bisou . 

After a good night of sleep in Rouen, let’s go west to Étretat, the most unmissable landscape of Normandy. It’s a world-famous seaside resort that attracts 2 million visitors every year thanks to its spectacular chalk cliffs that stretch along several kilometers of coastline. It’s also one of the favorite beach destinations near Paris .

I recommend leaving Rouen in the morning around 9 am to arrive in Étretat around 10.30 am. 

🚗 Driving time from Rouen to Étretat : 1 hour 15min

🅿️ Where to park in Étretat : Parking inside Etretat is free from mid-November to the end of January. If you’re visiting outside this period and if it doesn’t bother you walking for 20min to the beach, I recommend the free parking on the Criquetot l’Esneval road . Otherwise, choose the Parking du Grand Val which is more central and cost 10€ for 10 hours.  But be aware that during the tourist season, from April to September, the parking lots near the city center get full very quickly.   

🍕 Where to eat in Étretat : Lann Bihoué , La Flottille , Le Clos Lupin

🏠 Best accommodation in Étretat : La Famiglia

1. Étretat Gardens

From the Parking du Grand Val, Walk for about 20min through the town of Étretat and its beautiful picturesque streets to reach the Étretat Gardens. From the free parking, it will take you about 30min walk. 

The gardens are made of 7 different areas. Each one has a particular theme and each one is pretty in its own way. There are not only plants but also sculptures and an exceptional view over the cliffs of Étretat. It’s a magical place to get an overview of the town and start your tour.

Entry is 12€ for adults, 7,5€ for kids from 7 to 14 years old, and free for kids under 7. Book your ticket here . 

etretat gardens are part of this road trip to normandy

2. Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde

Right next to the gardens, you’ll find the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Covered with slate and made of stone, this chapel was built in 1854 and rebuilt identically in 1950 after it was destroyed by the Germans during the war.

Although a gate prevents entry into the building, the view from the outside of the chapel is definitely worth a look. The pictures you’ll take of it overlooking the cliffs will be breathtaking.

chapelle notre dame de la garde in etretat

3. Étretat Beach

Go down for 10min towards the beach of Étretat for a beautiful stroll on the seafront, relax while watching the sea, and picnic if you’re lucky with the weather. 

This pebble beach extends over nearly 1 kilometer, between the Falaise d’Amont, and the Falaise d’Aval. All along the beach, you’ll find beautiful landscapes and terraces where you can refresh yourself with a drink or a snack. If you’re visiting during low tide, you’ll be able to see the ancient oyster gardens of Marie Antoinette emerging from the sea.

Being on the beach will make you realize how big are the cliffs from below.

etretat beach is a nice place to spend 3 days in normandy

4. Hike on the cliffs of Étretat

The best way to discover the Alabaster Coast of Étretat is by far hiking. Plenty of trails lead to the top of the cliffs more than 100 meters above the sea and crisscross the entire coastline, offering breathtaking and vertiginous panoramas in places.

The most beautiful hikes in Étretat, without much difficulty overall, are not for those who suffer from vertigo, you have been warned!

nesrine taking a photo of the cliffs of etretat

There are trails for all levels, as some hikes take only an hour, while others can take up to 6 hours. But if there’s one hike that I can recommend as part of this itinerary, it’s the Étretat cliffs hike which takes about 1 hour 45 round trip. Absolutely unmissable, this easy trail starts from the beach of Étretat and winds its way up the most spectacular and emblematic cliffs of Étretat.

Stop by the tourist office before going on a hike to get all the information and maps.

Depending on the time you’ll be back from the hike to the city center, relax on a terrace with a drink or have dinner at Lann Bihoué to taste a Breton crepe. 

After sleeping in Étretat, head south to Le Havre to start the last day of this itinerary. Too often reduced to its industrial port, the city of Le Havre is actually classified by UNESCO for its architectural heritage from the 20th century and fully deserves a visit. 

To make sure you can follow the final day’s itinerary, I recommend leaving from Étretat in the morning at around 9 am to arrive at 9.30 in Le Havre. 

🚗 Driving time from Étretat to Le Havre : 35min

🅿️ Where to park in Le Havre : There are free parking lots close to Le Havre Beach, but they get crowded very quickly. So, if you can’t find a parking spot there, the best thing to do is to park in one of the many green zones (on Quai George V for example). They don’t cost a lot and are free on Sundays. Check here the green zones. 

🍕 Where to eat in Le Havre : Le Bouche à Oreille , Crêpe Chignon

1. Morning and Early Afternoon in Le Havre

Start your tour of Le Havre with a 1-hour visit to the Hanging Gardens ( free parking is available in front of the north entrance). Located in a former 19th-century fort, these unique gardens are perfect for a family or romantic walk. 

The garden has thematic sections dedicated to the 5 continents of the globe. The Japanese garden in particular is not to be missed. You’ll also see a large collection of exotic and aromatic plants with delicate perfumes.

Last but not least, you’ll have a breathtaking panoramic view of the city that stretches out at your feet at the gardens’ main entrance.

hanging gardens of le havre

The Hanging Gardens of Le Havre

Go back to your car and head to the beach of Le Havre . Park at the entrance of the beach or in one of the green zones to quickly access it. 

Stretching over 2 kilometers, this pebble beach is great to chill in the sun and relax. If you have good weather, grab a sandwich and have a picnic at the beach to fully appreciate it. Otherwise, prefer a walk along the jetty to avoid the very strong wind. 

le havre beach is a must of any trip to normandy beaches

After the lunch break, visit Le Havre city center in 1-2 hours starting with St. Joseph Church . You can’t miss this building because of its size and shape. From the outside, the church is very surprising because it does not look like a church at all. But it’s also surprising from the inside!  

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this church was built in 1957 as a tribute to the victims of WWII and has since become an iconic landmark of Le Havre.

st joseph church in le havre

Back to the seafront, stroll along the port of Le Havre up to the Catène de Conteneurs, this colorful structure made of containers symbolic of the city.

You’ll first see the marina, pass by the MuMa (André Malraux Museum of Modern Art) and arrive at the Catène de Conteneurs. If you have time, I recommend taking a drink on one of the terraces facing the structure.  

catene de conteneurs in le havre

Catène de Conteneurs

Finish your walking tour with a quick stop at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame , a beautiful 16th-century church, and at the Volcan (meaning the volcano in French), a performance hall made by architect Oscar Niemeyer that impresses all visitors because of its unique shape.  

le volcan in le havre

2. Afternoon in Honfleur

Get back to your car and drive for about 30min through the Pont de Normandy to Honfleur, the mythical port of Normandy whose village atmosphere charms all tourists from across the world. Well, there’s no better way to finish this trip! 

🚗 Driving time from Le Havre to Honfleur : 35min

🅿️ Where to park in Honfleur : free Parking VL Beaulieu , Naturospace free parking

🍕 Where to eat in Honfleur : Le Gambetta , Chez Justine et Quentin , for brunch: Cakes et Gourmandises – Maison Blondel  

🏠 Best accommodation in Honfleur : Ma Poésie

Start your sightseeing of Honfleur with the Jardin des Personnalités , before the sun goes down. Park your car for free at the Naturospace and walk through this pretty garden towards the beach (the walk will take about 10min). 

jardin des personnalites in honfleur

Jardin des Personnalités in Honfleur

At the end of the garden, an exit gate leads directly to the beaches, Plage du Butin and Honfleur Beach . These sandy beaches aren’t the most beautiful you’ll ever see, but it’s a great spot to breathe some fresh air and relax a bit. You can even swim here in summer! 

honfleur beach is part of this road trip normandy

To go back to Honfleur city center, you can either leave your car at the Jardin des Personnalités and walk for about 20min, or take your car and drive for about 7min to the Parking VL Beaulieu, much easier to access from the city center.  

When in the city center, there are 2 main attractions to see: the Vieux Bassin and St. Catherine’s Church. 

Vieux Bassin is the neighborhood of Honfleur’s picturesque old port and a pleasant place to walk around while admiring the pleasure boats. The narrow, colorful facades of the 17th and 18th-century wooden houses full of bars and restaurants line the harbor and are mirrored in the water. Several of these houses are listed as historical monuments.

honfleur vieux bassin is included in this normandy itinerary 3 days

Honfleur’s Vieux Bassin

Only a 3min-walk from the port through the historical center, discover the magnificent St. Catherine’s Church and its district filled with half-timbered houses that give the feeling of a journey through time. 

It’s one of the last timber-framed churches in France and the largest built in the country with a separate bell tower. It was built in the 15th century, after the Hundred Years War, by shipbuilders. That’s why, when you enter the church, you have the feeling of having above you the hull of an overturned ship.

st catherine church in honfleur

This is the end of DAY 3 and your Normandy road trip is now over! 🎉

But several options are available to you at this stage of the itinerary, depending on whether or not you carry on with your trip: 

  • End your trip here and go back to Paris. It should take you about 2,5 hours but be aware of traffic, it can be really heavy on Sundays. So make sure to check it early in the afternoon. 
  • You can sleep on-site before heading back to Paris or to another Normandy attraction if you want to continue the trip.   
  • If you continue the trip, you can sleep at your next destination instead of sleeping in Honfleur to avoid driving in the morning.

If you choose one of the 2 last options, it means you have more than 3 days to explore Normandy. So, keep reading below to complete your itinerary with other Normandy’s best spots. 👇

Having the chance to extend your Normandy road trip itinerary is really great as the region has so much to offer you could spend months visiting. 

Find below some of the greatest attractions in Normandy you can easily add to the 3 day-itinerary already planned above. Let’s start with Deauville, located only 20min drive from Honfleur. 

PS: the following spots can extend your trip from 1 to 4 days.  

1. Deauville 

Deauville is a seaside resort renowned worldwide and is one of the most popular destinations on the French coast. Especially appreciated by the Parisians, it has earned the nickname of the “21st arrondissement of Paris”.

deauville can be added in your normandy itinerary

Known in particular for its two-kilometer-long sandy beach and its cabins named after international artists, Deauville is a great choice for a day at the beach.

2. Cabourg 

Located only a 30min drive from Deauville, Cabourg is another seaside resort not to be missed on any trip to Normandy beaches. 

Cabourg’s famous beach lined with large hotels and dotted with blue-striped cabins contribute to the town’s picturesque charm. Its historic center is full of architectural gems that will take you back in time.

3. Caen 

Caen is a great historical city with a rich cultural and religious heritage. Located approx 35min drive from Cabourg, the city is known worldwide for its D-Day beaches.

caen is a great stop for a normandie road trip

Caen city center is very dynamic and full of stores and nice cafés. If you are there during the summer, you will be able to see many street festivals.

5. Omaha Beach

The Normandy coastline was the scene of one of the most important events in world history, WWII. It’s therefore difficult to ignore one of the most historically charged sites.

Located about 50min drive from Caen, Omaha is the beach where the American troops came to free France from the Germans in 1945. It’s the most famous of the Normandy landing beaches . 

4. Mont Saint Michel

It’s impossible not to visit the Mont Saint Michel on any Normandy road trip. Located about 1hour45min drive from Omaha Beach, this castle in the middle of the water is an incredible place to see at least once in a lifetime. 

mont saint michel

Mont Saint Michel is in fact a tiny island topped by an abbey known for its tides, the largest in Europe, and the spectacular sceneries they create every day. 

☀️ Summer (June to September) : The best time to visit Normandy is definitely in summer. Temperatures are mild (14 – 25°C) and rain is rare, which is perfect to enjoy the beaches. But you’ll have to deal with the crowds as it’s the high season. Lots of tourists from the world, but also lots of locals come here to enjoy cooler temperatures than elsewhere in France. 

🍂 Fall (September to December) : If you prefer to visit in the off-season to avoid the huge crowds, fall is a great time, especially in September-October as the temperatures vary from 12 to 22°C. 

❄️ Winter (December to March) : You should avoid going to Normandy in winter. It rains a lot, temperatures are cold (2 – 14°C) with an even colder feeling because of the wind typical of the Channel coastline. 

🌸 Spring (March to May) : With fall, going to Normandy in spring is also a good time to avoid people and enjoy mild temperatures, especially in April-May (6 – 18°C). 

There are several ways to travel from Paris to Normandy. But depending on where you want to go in Normandy, one way will be better than the other. Here are the different options: 

🚗 Paris to Normandy by car : The distance from Paris to Normandy is about 200 kilometers. Driving from Paris to Normandy’s Rouen, the first step of this itinerary will take about 1,5 hours.

Click here to choose a car to rent close to you. 

👉 I strongly recommend renting a car for this 3 days in Normandy itinerary so you’ll be free to move as you wish through the region. 

🚄 Paris to Normandy by train : Going to Rouen from Paris Saint Lazare train station will take you 1,5 hours. The French train service serves well the towns of Normandy, including those of this 3-day itinerary. So you can choose the train to do it, but be aware that it will take you more time to travel from one town to another, and that this itinerary will inevitably be modified to match the train hours. 

Click here to check the trains running through Normandy.

I’ve gathered below different accommodation options for you to choose from, breakdown by itinerary stage and travel style: 

Best accommodations in Rouen: 

  • 💰Best Budget: Studio Le Medicis – 4
  • ✅ Comfy: Ibis Styles Rouen Centre Rive Gauche
  • ⭐️ Luxury:  Best Western Plus Hotel Litteraire Gustave Flaubert

Best accommodations in Etretat: 

  • 💰Best Budget: apartement 1 mn to the beach
  • ✅ Comfy:  La Famiglia
  • ⭐️ Luxury: Les Pins de César – La campagne d’Etretat

Best accommodations in Honfleur: 

  • 💰Best Budget: Le17HO
  • ✅ Comfy: Ma Poésie
  • ⭐️ Luxury: Les Maisons De Léa

I hope you will enjoy your road trip Normandie! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below, I always reply. 🙂 

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Plan your 3 day itinerary to Normandy France thanks to this guide with a free map. You will find everything to see and do in Normandy, with suggestions to extend your trip. normandy france travel | things to do in normandy france | normandy france itinerary | road trip to Normandy

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Inspiration and information for the best in luxury, cultural, and active travel, highlights of a 7-day normandy and brittany itinerary, walk, ride, and drive around normandy and brittany in seven days.

  • Our Normandy and Brittany itinerary — at a glance
  • Day 1 – Paris to Rouen
  • Day 2 — Rouen
  • Rouen highlights

Where we ate

Where we stayed.

  • Day 3 – Rouen to Bayeux

Bayeux Highlights

  • Day 4 – Bayeux and D-Day Beaches

D-Day sites highlights

  • Day 5 – Bayeux to Dinan via Mont St. Michel
  • Day 6 – Dinan

Dinan Highlights

  • Day 7 – The Brittany Coast

What we saw

On to paris, related posts:.

There’s so much of France to discover that I think it’s best done in small bites. One of my travel goals is to visit each of France’s regions. Hopefully, sooner rather than later! On this trip, I was able to check off two new regions and I also got to revisit Paris — a city that I think should be part of every France itinerary. Here’s a brief guide to follow for the Normandy and Brittany part of the trip.

Our Normandy and Brittany itinerary — at a glance

Day 1 – paris to rouen.

We arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in the early morning. Although there are other public transportation options (such as the regional RER train) also available, we chose to take a taxi (50 euros) to the Gare St. Lazare to catch our train to Rouen (about 1.5 hours).

Train booking tip: We used the OUI.sncf app to research and book rail tickets while in France.

Day trip from Paris tip:   If you will be using Paris as your base, there are day trips available to Rouen and nearby sites.

Day 2 — Rouen

Place du Vieux Marché at night -- Rouen, France

Place du Vieux Marché at night — Rouen, France

As we often do when first arriving in a new place, we checked in to the hotel and then walked around the area getting a sense of the place. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, we had a quick lunch and then walked around town for a few hours before heading back to the hotel to refresh and get ready for dinner.

Rouen highlights

Place du Vieux Marché — This is the famous square where Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake. A church, Eglise Jeanne d’Arc, stands on the spot where her terrible death occurred.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Rouen — Built between the 12th and 16th centuries, this is the city’s iconic Gothic cathedral. Art enthusiasts may also know that it was the inspiration for a series of Monet’s paintings.

Historical Jeanne d’Arc — A must-see in Rouen, this is an immersive experience that takes you through the investigation and trial of Jeanne d’Arc in a series of rooms in the Archbishop’s Palace on Rue Saint-Romain where her trials took place.

Gros Horloge (the Great Clock) — The 14th-century astronomical clock is easy to spot in an arch above Rue du Gros-Horloge. Take the stairs to the Gothic belfry to get a look at the workings and history of the clock plus great panoramic views of the city.

Favorite meal:  La Petite Auberge serves authentic French (particularly regional) dishes in a cozy half-timbered building. We had lunch here and would love to go back for dinner sometime.

Honorable mention: Cancan is a contemporary bistro and bar on the Place du Vieux Marché.

Place to start the day: Dune, a cafe on Place de La Pucelle, is a great place to start the day with delicious coffee and croissants. We also appreciated the friendly service.

Famous restaurant tip: Although we didn’t dine here, La Couronne is high on the radar for many tourists as the oldest restaurant in France and because of Julia Child who said about her meal there in 1948:

In all the years since the succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. — Julia Child, My Life in France

Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, 15 Place de la Pucelle — Part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection, Hotel de Bourgtheroulde is a contemporary hotel in a 15th-century historic stone mansion. The location is great for exploring the city on foot to visit all of the places mentioned above.

Day 3 – Rouen to Bayeux

As we did not plan on visiting attractions around Rouen where a car would be needed, we decided to travel once again by train to our next stop in Normandy — Bayeux. It is about a 2.5 hour journey including one transfer in Caen. Bayeux is an excellent place to make your base for visiting the Normandy D-Day sites .

Rue Saint-Jean, Bayeux -- Normandy region of France

Rue Saint-Jean, Bayeux — Normandy region of France

Bayeux Tapestry — This beautiful 11th-century 70-yard long tapestry is a must-see attraction while in Bayeux. It depicts William the Conqueror’s story as duke and king, through battles, victories and other dramas of the Middle Ages.

Bayeux Cathedral — This Romanesque and Gothic cathedral is a commanding sight in Bayeux with beautiful decor, particularly seen in its stained glass windows. Some of the pieces above the altar are from the13th century.

Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum  — The museum is an excellent place to start a visit to Normandy’s historic sites relating to World War II and the Battle of Normandy. There are many exhibits of wartime gear including uniforms, weapons, communications equipment, and vehicles.

Day 4 – Bayeux and D-Day Beaches

This is where the driving portion of our trip begins. We took a taxi (about 7 euros) from the hotel to the Hertz rental location at the Total Petrol station in town. From there, we traveled about 20 minutes to Arromanches, the first of our D-Day sites. Refer to our previous post about the Normandy D-Day sites for more information and photos. The map below gives you a general idea of the locations visited. It’s not an exact representation of the routes taken.

Arromanches, France

Arromanches, France

Arromanches — The village of Arromanches was a key location for D-Day operations. From the clifftop above the village, there are vistas of the English Channel and remnants of the concrete caissons that formed the Mulberries (artificial harbors) that were vital in getting Allied vehicles and equipment to shore. On the clifftop, there is also the Arromanches 360  cinema, where you can watch an excellent film, “Normandy’s 100 Days”. Also take time to visit the D-Day Landing Museum in the village.

Longues-sur-Mer  — Near the village of Longues-sur-Mer is the Batterie Allemande de Longues-sur-Mer, a German gun battery and lookout bunker that was strategically positioned for views of the English Channel and approaching Allied forces.

Omaha Beach — In Vierville-sur-Mer, walk along the same wide expanse of sand at Omaha Beach that U.S. troops crossed on D-Day. Of the five D-Day beaches, Omaha Beach saw the greatest casualties with about 2,400 troops killed, wounded, or missing in action.

American Cemetery —  The cemetery is located in Colleville-sur-Mer on the site of the original burial grounds established by the U.S. Army on June 8, 1944 to bury their dead. This is a must see and provided the most moving experiences during an emotional day.  We recommend checking the time for the flag lowering which was the highlight of this experience.

Hôtel le Lion d’Or, 71 Rue Saint-Jean — It’s said that this was General Eisenhower’s favorite place to stay in Bayeux. All I know for sure is that we really liked it. But here’s a heads up for summer visitors — there is no air conditioning in the hotel’s 31 rooms.

La Marine — While seeing the sights in Arromanches, we stopped for lunch at La Marine Hotel on the beachfront. The food is very good and there are nice views of the village, beach, and surrounding cliffs.

La Rapiere, 53 Rue Saint-Jean — It was at this small restaurant where we had our favorite meal in Bayeux. La Rapiere serves regional dishes in a very cozy setting. It gets very busy, so be sure to make a reservation.

Patisserie Ordioni, 25 Rue Saint-Jean – For pastries and coffee before a day of sightseeing, try this wonderful bakery that was recommended to us by a local.

Day 5 – Bayeux to Dinan via Mont St. Michel

Mont St. Michel

Mont St. Michel

Mont Saint-Michel — This important historic site about 73 miles from Bayeux was our final stop in Normandy. We spent about 3.5 hours, including a quick lunch, exploring the island of Mont Saint-Michel, its abbey (first built in the 8th century) at the top and the winding streets of the village surrounding it. From Mont Saint-Michel, we drove about 36 miles to Dinan where we checked in to our hotel, strolled a bit around town and had a lovely dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Day 6 – Dinan

Strolling a cobbled street in Dinan, France

Strolling a cobbled street in Dinan, France

We felt that a full day of exploring Dinan on the Rance River was sufficient to at least get a look at the main attractions and feel the town’s charming ambiance. However, if you have more time, an extra day or so here would be a good addition to this itinerary. Refer to our previous post with detail about this charming town and main attractions  and activities, including the Basilica of St. Sauveur, English Garden, walking the ramparts and riverside path to Léhon, and browsing the shops and galleries lining the cobbled streets from Place St. Sauveur down to the riverside.

La Maison Pavie, 10 Place St. Sauveur — This is a bed and breakfast located in a historic 15th-century half-timbered house on Place St. Sauveur across from the basilica. It has five spacious and beautifully-decorated guest rooms.

Favorite meal : Le Cantorbery, 6 Rue St. Claire — This charming and intimate restaurant is located in a 17th-century house on a quiet street near the old town square. Service was impeccable and the regionally-inspired courses were and deliciously prepared.

Day 7 – The Brittany Coast

Perros-Guirec on the Brittany coast, France

Perros-Guirec on the Brittany coast, France

We were looking to round out our northeast France trip with a coastal experience. There are many choices for diverse scenery and available activities along the Breton coast.

Perros-Guirec — This gorgeous area of the Brittany coast is called the Pink Granite Coast . There is a wonderful trail along the coast through the abundant rock formations with gorgeous English Channel views. We had about three hours to spend in the area for the walk and lunch on the harbor.

Then it was on to Combrit (a little over two hours via inland route) where we would spend the night.

The harbor at Combrit, France

The harbor at Combrit, France

Combrit — There are numerous cities and locations that we could have chosen for our last night in the Brittany region, but Mr. TWS loves water and coastal vacations and came across an ad for an inn in the small village of Combrit. Being off-season for Combrit, a very popular spring and summer getaway spot, it was very quiet when we visited and quite affordable.

Basically, our time in Combrit was a brief, but enjoyable, chance to just relax and soak up a coastal resort town’s ambiance (albeit in the off season). After check-in at our hotel, we took a long, leisurely walk along the harbor and through some residential neighborhoods of this small village.

Villa Tri Men, 16 Rue du Phare — Villa Tri Men is a lovely inn with 33 rooms. As one of only two couples staying in the hotel that night, we got a beautiful large room with a wrap-around terrace and views overlooking the harbor. One of the wonderful benefits of traveling in the off season!

Le Bistrot du Bac on the port of Sainte-Marine — The restaurant at the hotel was not open on the night we arrived, but the bistro (also run by the owners of the hotel) was perfect for drinks on the patio and later dinner inside. It was the only choice in town, but it was a good one.

Then it was on to Paris for three days . We returned our rental car to the Hertz location across from the railway station in Quimper (13 miles from Combrit). From there we took the train to Gare Montparnasse in Paris.

Whether you follow in our footsteps or make changes that suit your trip plans, I know that you’ll love visiting the Normandy and Brittany regions of France.

Abby Sivy and Cindy Parker of Bohemia Boulder enjoying time in Paris during art retreat

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18 thoughts on “ Highlights of a 7-Day Normandy and Brittany Itinerary ”

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Our visit to Normandy was my favorite visit to France. We also used Bayeaux as a base for exploring the history of D Day. We used a tour company called the Battle Bus at the time for a 2 day small mini van tour that in large part traced the sites featured in the series Band of Brothers. When we weren’t in 1944, I visited the Bayeaux Tapastry Museum for a quick trip back to 1066. We also rented a car to visit Mount Ste. Michel and do a loop of some of the quaint towns. Nice memories.

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Bayeux really is a great place to use as a base to visit the area. Thanks for the tip about Battle Bud. That might definitely be of interest to some of our readers.

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Is driving difficult in the Normandy area ? We are wanting to rent a car in Caen and drive to Mont St Michelle, Honfleur, Omaha Beach area, etc?

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One of our favorite places in the world. We’ve been to Normandy a few times and spent a week biking in Brittany last year. The landscapes are lovely, of course, but the highlights for me were the Bayeux Tapestry (I’m a Latin geek) and the Normandy beaches, including Pointe du Hoc. Pointe du Hoc is interesting because the French haven’t restored the site to its pre-battle condition. Shell craters, barbed wire, bunkers and gun mounts are still there.

Thanks for the info about Pointe du Hoc. We didn’t get there this trip and will definitely put it on the next itinerary in the region.

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What an action filled time you had exploring the coastal region in France. I can only imagine how historic the visit to Normandy must have been. Thanks for including your top spots in each location. It will make travel planning much easier.

I’m so glad that the post will help you with your travel planning for Normandy and Brittany!

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Super post! Normandy and Brittany is a region of France that I have not yet visited. There is obviously much to see, do, and enjoy!

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I think we’d love following your itinerary here, so many quaint villages and stops along the way. I’d especially love Rouen I think. Thanks for so many good details on where to stay and sites to see. Bookmarking this one for later!

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Thanks for this. We stayed nearby to Dinan a couple of years back and we really enjoyed the towns along the Emerald Coast west from S. Malo – it’s a beautiful drive with lots of little coves and bays – as well as the inland towns and even the larger cities such as Rennes. The town we stayed in was Pleudihen-sur-Rance and the local boulangerie was famed for its pastries. A short walk to the river and there was a local seal who could be found resting on the boat ramp. Great place.

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Great detailed post! I love your photo of the Mont Saint-Michel. I’ll be saving this for future reference. I hope we can visit this year. I’m falling in love with the streets of Dinan.

About 20 years ago we stayed in Arromanches and really enjoyed the area. Three years ago we took the kids and stayed for a week near Dinan and ventured around to the nearby towns. We loved Brittany. So diverse – a brilliant coastline with picturesque villages and little coves and inland the towns were equally as lovely.

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Mont St. Michel looks amazing. I’ve never even heard of Dinan before – thanks for the inspiration.

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Thanks for posting the itinerary. Hope to do a very similar trip. Just not sure about driving the area. Any problems with signage, left side of the road, etc? Planning to take the train from Paris to Caen or Bayeux and renting a car and driving the area. Thoughts or suggestions?

Hi Lisa – Definitely try to do a trip in the area. I’m happy if this itinerary can provide you with some ideas. We didn’t plan on spending any time in Caen, so found it best to rent the car from Hertz in Bayeux where we were staying. It was easy to get to the D-Day sites from there. In fact, if you’re going to see the D-Day sites, renting a car is really the best option unless you want to get with an organized tour. We liked the flexibility of being on our own. It was also nice not to have to drive around a bigger city like Caen. Driving around the areas of Normandy and Brittany that we visited was easy (in my opinion — I love to drive!).

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Catherine, I will be traveling to Brittany Oct 29 to Nov 6 with my 90 year old parents. What time of year were you there? My Father lived in Brittany and Paris during WWll, and I am not sure he’s up for Normandy. And do you have other ideas for us? Thank you and I am looking at the hotels you suggested as well. And the dining!!

Hi Ann — Sounds like you have a very special trip coming up. It will probably be quite sentimental for your father. We were there at the beginning of October and the weather was beautiful.There was one very rainy day, but it didn’t deter our spirits as we walked around Mont St. Michel (on the border of Normandy and Brittany). I don’t know if you saw my post about Dinan, but that would definitely be a town I would visiting in Brittany. I also did a separate post about The Pink Granite Coast that I mention in this article. It’s a beautiful area to see. If your parents may not be up for walking on the path there, it’s still worth a visit — particularly if you’ll be driving and can easily get around. If we’d had more time, I would have liked to visit St Malo, Cancale and other coastal towns. I hope this helps! Please let us know how you enjoy the trip.

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The Travelling Hiker

5 Day Normandy Road Trip Itineray

Are you planning a road trip to Normandy? Thinking of staying there for a couple of days or maybe a long weekend? Hopefully, this post will help you plan your visit to the beautiful region of Normandy. This region will not leave you indifferent, since it offers a wide variety of things to do.  During this 4 day Normandy road trip, I was able to visit a Unesco world heritage site, discover beautiful coastal towns, hike along white cliffs, and enjoy the cultural offer of the city of Rouen.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Planning your road trip to normandy, transportation.

The best way to move around Normandy is by car. You can reach all of the places I visited during my trip with public transport but driving your car will give you more flexibility. For this trip, I used my own car but if you are thinking of renting a car I always use  Rentalcars.com   since it compares the prices of the biggest car rental companies and gives you the flexibility to cancel until 48h before your trip in case anything happens. 

Accommodation

When choosing your accommodation, you will  also have to decide whether you prefer to change hotels frequently or to set a base in a specific place. They both have pros and cons. 

  • Choosing to change hotels every night will mean less driving time since you will only drive one way each day. Otherwise, you will have to drive back and forth every day. 
  • On the other side, if you decide to stay at a fixed place during your trip you will not have to worry about opening and closing your suitcase daily.

In general, I am not a fan of changing hotels every night and since this was a short trip, I decided to opt for the second option and set base in Rouen where I stayed at the hotel  Urban Style de l’Europe . 

5 DAY NORMANDY ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

Let’s dive right into it! Here is my 5-day Normandy Road Trip Itinerary!

Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Getting to Rouen

Route: From Brussels to Rouen (Distance: 343 km; Driving time: 3h 30 minutes)

Hotel:  Urban Style de l’Europe

normandy trip planning

The first day is all about getting to Normandy, France. In our case, since we live in Belgium, we chose to drive there. It took us approximately 4 hours to get to Rouen, where we were going to set base. 

If you’re flying into France, the closest international airport to Normandy is probably in Paris. From there, you will have to rent a car and drive to Normandy. This should take you somewhere around 2 hours.

Day 2: Mont Saint Michel

Route: From Rouen to Mont Saint Michel and return (Distance: 249 km; Driving time: 2h 25 minutes)

normandy trip planning

To get to Mont Saint Michel you have to park your car in the parking located 2,5km outside the island. From there, you can either walk to the island which takes around 30 minutes, or take one of the free shuttle buses that connect with the island. In my case, I decided to walk because the waiting line to take the free shuttle was very long.

4 Day Normandy Road Trip

Even though it was a 30-minute walk, it went by quite fast. We stopped to take photos of the island every few hundred meters. It is impressive to see how it gets bigger as you get closer. 

Before you enter the town and if the water is low you can walk around the town walls. 

Tip : If you plan to do this, you might want to think about wearing some shoes that you will not mind getting muddy. Remember this area is covered by the sea daily!

Once you enter the town walls, it will feel like you have walked back in time! Just walk around its streets and enjoy the ambiance. I recommend that you get there as soon as possible. Mont Saint Michel can get really busy during the summer months.

You should also plan to visit the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel. On their  website , you can find all information about opening times and prices. Remember you need to book your visit in advance!

4 Day Normandy Road Trip

If you want to see the water go up and surround the island, you might want to book a hotel to spend a night in Mont Sant Michel. In our case, since we had to drive back to Rouen we could not stay to watch this.

Day 3: Etretat

Route: From Rouen to Etretat and Return (Distance: 168 km; Driving time: 2h 10min)

Walking: 15 km

normandy trip planning

On Day 3 of our road trip, we spent the day hiking the beautiful white cliffs of Étretat, a small coastal town known for its cliffs with natural arches. 

The town of Étretat and its surroundings are so beautiful that you will not be disappointed.  There are many things you can do:

  • Walk around its charming streets;
  • Visit the  Étretat Gardens ;
  • Go for a hike and enjoy the amazing views from its cliffs;
  • Rent some stand-up paddle and enjoy the view of the cliffs from the sea;
  • Enjoy a day on its beach.

If you want to know all about our hiking day in Étretat be sure to check my blog post:  Hiking the chalk cliffs of Étretat

Hiking in Etretat (La Manneporte)

On the fourth day,  we were a bit tired from the previous day hike so we decided to take it a bit slow and visit Honfleur and Le Havre

normandy trip planning

Honfleur is a charming small port town on the coast of Normandy. It is the perfect place to get lost through its paved streets admiring the cute houses and enjoy the local shops on a slow morning. 

My favorite part was Le Vieux Bassin which is the name of its port. It was so pretty that we decided to sit at a coffee place overlooking the port with its boats and colorful houses. 

Other places you should not miss are Saint Catherine’s Church, Notre Dame de Grace Chapel, and Normandy’s Bridge which connects Honfleur and Le Havre.

In the late afternoon, we decided to drive through the bridge of Normandy and visit Le Havre. There was not much to do there, but we watched a beautiful sunset there.

Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

Day 5: Rouen and Return Home

Route: From Rouen to Brussels (Distance: 343 km; Driving time: 3h 30 minutes)

On our last day, it was time to visit the city we had established as our base during our short getaway. We had already discovered its charm with night walks on our way to dinner and we could not wait to visit it during the day. 

We began with a visit to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Did you know this cathedral inspired Monet for his series of cathedral paintings?

During our visit, we were also quite lucky because there was a light show every night in the cathedral. 

Afterwards, we continued to walk around Rouen and visited the Big Clock Tower whose mechanism is one of the oldest in Europe. 

normandy trip planning

If you like Impressionism painting, another must-visit in Rouen is its  Museum of Fine Arts . This museum has an amazing collection of impressionist paintings from Monet, Renoir, etc. We were really impressed with it.

We finished our visit to Rouen with an amazing lunch in the Old Market Square (Place du Vieux Marché) before we started our drive back to Belgium.

MAP WITH LOCATIONS

And that’s it for my 5-day road trip itinerary in Normandy. I hope you liked it and it made you want to visit this region of France. Let me know what you think in the comments!

DISCLAIMER:  Did you know?  This blog uses affiliate partnerships. When you click and book or make a purchase through one of my blog posts, I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting The Travelling Hiker!

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4 Day Normandy Road Trip

2 thoughts on “5 Day Normandy Road Trip Itineray”

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Hello Casey. Thank you for your nice words. I hope it was helpful.

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The Daily Packers

Normandy & brittany road trip authentic itinerary for 2 weeks (france).

Picture of AlexOu

  • August 24, 2020
  • Brittany , Europe , France , France , Road Trip

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Introduction: Normandy & Brittany Road Trip

It is time to discover the west part of France. Learn about D-Day and the famous landings in the Normandy beach at WWII and then fall in love with medieval towns.

We made the trip in 11/12 days but If you are coming from abroad, plan 2 weeks.

This Normandy & Brittany road trip is an overview of the region and there would be enough to do for months. But we kept it to the essential.

Table of Contents

Mapping the day.

Get our full Normandy & Brittany Map

Why pin one by one when you can get them all at once?

Western France Travel Map

Western France Travel Map

Normandy & brittany road trip itinerary overview.

West of France can be travelled by plane, train, bus but the best way to enjoy it is by car. This allow you to really be flexible and get around places. This is going to be an intense and a bit rushed itinerary, but you will get all the highlights.

  • Day 1: Arrive in Paris
  • Day 2: Omaha beach
  • Day 3: Utah, Ravalet Castle and Cherbourg
  • Day 4: Mont Saint-Michel
  • Day 5: Saint-Malo
  • Day 6: Saint-Malo
  • Day 7: Quimper
  • Day 8: Lorient
  • Day 9: Belle Ile en Mer
  • Day 10: Ile aux Moines
  • Day 11: Vannes, Josselin
  • Day 12: Vitré
  • Day 13: Versailles
  • Day 14: Return

Day by Day Normandy & Brittany Road trip itinerary overview

Arrive in France or jump this day

Arrive in the morning near the Normandy’s coast. Visit the Longues-sur-Mer battery and then walk along the coast to stretch a bit your legs.

Keep on until the beach of Omaha. Visit the Normandy American Cemetery, then the Memorial Museum of Omaha Beach, walks along the beach were the US troops landed.

Drive a bit further and explore the Pointe du Hoc to finish the day.

  • Where to stay: La Faisanderie (€) Chambres d’hôtes Les 4 Vents Pointe du Hoc (€€) Le Manoir de Ravenoville (€€€)

Read More: The Genuine Normandy landings D-Day 2-Day guide

Drive to Utah Beach, walk along the coast and discover the monument there. Visit its D-Day museum and to finish the WWII part of the trip make a last stop at Crisbecq Battery

Hop on the car and drive to Ravalet Castle. Enjoy the beginning of the after under the shade of the park while admiring the Castle.

To finish the day, go to Cherbourg and visit La Cité de la Mer and the 1st French Nuclear Submarine.

  • Stay at: Hotel Le Cercle (€) Mercure Cherbourg Centre Port (€€)

Read More : The Genuine Ravalet Castle Travel Guide

Leave early in the morning and drive to the Mont Saint Michel. Visit the Mont Saint Michel and its Abbey.

Drive to Saint-Malo to end the day.

  • Stay in Saint-Malo at: Hotel des Abers (€€) Apartment Le 1725 (€€€)
  • Or Nearby at: Novotel Thalassa Dinard (€€) Castelbrac (€€€)

Read More: The Genuine Mont Saint Michel Travel Guide & The Genuine 2-day Saint Malo Travel Guide

Start the day by strolling in the old medieval town, visit the Saint-Malo Cathedral and Walk on the ramparts.

In the afternoon visit the Fort National and Fort du petit Bé.

Read More:  The Genuine 2-day Saint Malo Travel Guide

Stroll a bit more in the city of Saint-Malo, discover its History Museum of the city. Take your car for a lunch in Cancale where the must to try are Oyster and seafood.

Drive back and end your day in Dinard and walk along the coast.

Drive to Quimper. Walk along the Odet and then head to the old city. Visit the Art Museum and the Cathedral Saint Corentin.

Then explore the Retirement garden and end your day with a crepes in Place au Beurre.

  • Stay at: L’orangerie de Lanniron (€) Hotel et Spa Ginkgo (€€) Le Banellou (€€€)

Read More : The Genuine 1-day Quimper Travel Guide

Drive to Lorient where you will visit the Keroman Submarine Base (biggest Nazi base in the Atlantic). Visit the K3 Block and then the K2 Block and the Fiore Submarine. A cold war submarines.

Then keep on driving to Quiberon, where you will be taking the ferry to Belle-ile en Mer.

  • Where to Stay: Hotel Aux Tamaris (€) Chambres d’Hôtes aux Poulains (€€) Citadelle Vauban (€€€)

Read More: The Genuine Lorient La Base Travel Guide & The Genuine Belle Ile en Mer Travel Guide

Rent a scooter, car or bike and explore all the island.

Read More:   The Genuine Belle Ile en Mer Travel Guide

Leave with the first ferry to Quiberon, and drive to Baden (Port Blanc) where you will be taking another ferry to visit Ile Aux Moines. Rent a bike and enjoy the day on a small island.

At the end of the day, take the ferry back and drive to Vannes where you will be staying overnight.

  • Where to Stay: Ti Laouenek (€) Patern Moines (€) Maison de la Garenne & Spa (€€)

Read More The Genuine Ile aux Moines Travel Guide & The Genuine Vannes Travel Guide

In the morning, visit the old city of Vannes with its ramparts, gardens, and medieval vibes.

Then head to Josselin where you will have lunch and then visit the stunning Castle.

Finish the day by driving to Vitré.

  • Stay at: Le Magic Hôtel & Spa (€€) Charmant T2 au calme centre-ville (€€)

Read more: The Genuine Josselin Castle Travel Guide & The Genuine Vitré & Vitré Castle Travel Guide

Visit the Medieval town of Vitré and discover its stunning medieval Castle. Walk along its ramparts and learn about the history of the Castle.

Then head toward Versailles, visit Versailles Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet.

  • Stay at: Le Petit Nailly ( €) Les Carrés (€€) Le Louis Versailles Château – Mgallery (€€€)  Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace (€€€€)

Read more: The Genuine Vitré & Vitré Castle Travel Guide & The Genuine Palace of Versailles Travel Guide

Be the first at the palace of Versailles and start the day by visiting the Palaces. Organized a guided visited to discover more and then visit the garden and parks of the Palace of Versailles.

Read more:   The Genuine Palace of Versailles Travel Guide

First feelings are always the most natural. Louis XIV

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The Genuine Josselin Castle Travel Guide (1-day)

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Ile Aux Moines Travel

The Genuine Ile aux Moines Travel Guide (1-day)

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The Genuine Belle Ile en Mer Travel Guide (1-day +)

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  • Detailed 3 Day Itinerary for Visiting the Normandy Beaches (From Travelers Who’ve Been 8 Times!)

by Ellen | Aug 21, 2022 | Destinations , Europe , Trip Planning | 3 comments

Detailed 3 Day Itinerary for Visiting the Normandy Beaches (From Travelers Who’ve Been 8 Times!)

That was the whirlwind way we became full-time digital nomads and left for our second trip to Normandy, France in 2018. We’ve been 8 times now and go back every year, normally staying for a month at a time.

From our first trip to Europe in 2016, this beautiful region of France has captured our hearts and we could talk about it for hours.

In an effort to keep the word count down a bit though, this post is focused on visiting the D-Day beaches in Normandy for the first time.

But because we can’t help ourselves, we’ll also pop in fun recommendations outside of the normal museums and tourist sites like where to find an absolutely charming creperie and where to find the French meals we dream about.

In this detailed 3-day itinerary for visiting the Normandy beaches and D-Day sites, you’ll find everything you need to know for planning your first trip to Normandy, France.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Planning a Trip to Visit Normandy

  • Where to Stay
  • Where to Eat in Normandy
  • Detailed 3-Day Itinerary for Visiting the Normandy Beaches + D-Day Sites

Day 1: Train. Museum. Castle.

  • Day 2: Omaha Beach, American and German Cemetery
  • Day 3: By Land and By Sea On the Way Out

How many days to visit Normandy?

Normandy is more than a day trip from Paris.

We recommend 3 to 5 days: 3 days if you’re just going for the Normandy beaches and 5 days if you want to see some of the cultural sites as well.

I know there are some guides out there that talk about visiting Mont St. Michel, Bayeux and the Normandy Beaches all in 3 days. But fitting in as much as possible into a day misses a lot of the essence of traveling in Normandy.

A large part of visiting Normandy is relaxing into the pace of life in the French countryside.

Spend an hour in the morning at the weekly market perusing the fresh cheeses and cider.

Take those extra few minutes to learn the stories of the region from your Bed and Breakfast host.

Enjoy the crackle of the fire and the taste of the wine during your 3-hour dinner – complete with a cheese AND dessert course.

normandy trip planning

Any tips renting a car and driving in Normandy from Caen ,do you need to purchase the SUPERPAK insurance seemingly every rental agency tries to hawk and what about the triple AAA international drivers license ? please share your thoughts.

Ellen

Hi there! We’ve rented from the major companies like Hertz and Avis in Caen pretty easily. I do recommend getting the additional insurance if you are not using a credit card that has rental car coverage. You do not need a AAA international driver’s license to drive in France. Hope that was helpful and enjoy your trip!

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4 Days in Normandy, France: A Picturesque Road Trip Itinerary

Are you considering, or planning a road trip through Normandy? This itinerary includes places you should consider for your visit to Normandy, including Mont Saint Michel, the white cliffs of Étretat, and the picturesque village of Honfleur. So if you’re looking for a culture trip, nature, and architectural marvels, keep reading my guide for road tripping through Normandy!

To kick off your Normandy road trip, I recommend flying into Paris and renting a car from there.

Day 1: Mont Saint Michel

On the morning of day 1, pick up your rental car in Paris and start your Normandy road trip with a visit to the iconic Mont Saint Michel.

Driving time from Paris to Mont Saint Michel: 4 hours

normandy trip planning

Mont Saint Michel

As you approach the village from the highway, Mont Saint Michel comes into view, and it is simply awe striking! I mean, can you think of a better way to start your Normandy road trip?!

When you arrive in Mont Saint Michel, check into your hotel to drop your things off, then go out towards the island.

Here’s a pro tip: do some research on the tide times before your trip!  Tide levels vary throughout the year, and so a bit of research can ensure that you experience the dramatic tides.

I recommend to visit Mont Saint Michel and its inner walls during low tide. When the tide is low, you can walk across the bridge that connects France mainland to Mont Saint Michel. Once inside, you’ll start to feel like you’ve just gone through time. Everything screams medieval: the cobblestone foot paths, the narrow alleys, the flags on display, and even the fonts used in front of shops and restaurants.

If you can manage it, stay on the island when the tide starts to come in. From the many viewpoints on Mont Saint Michel, you can see the tide rising quickly to surround the island. If your hotel is not on the island, I recommend to get out of Mont Saint Michel before the high tide blocks the exit.

Mont Saint Michel hotels

I stayed at Le Beauvoir for its price and location. It’s a 45 minute, scenic walk to Mont Saint Michel.

You can also book a hotel closer to, or in Mont Saint Michel.

Day 2: Omaha Beach, American Cemetery, Longues-sur-Mer Battery

It’s now day 2 of your road trip in Normandy.

Feel free to use the morning to visit Mont Saint Michel or see the tide change one last time. Once you’ve checked out of your hotel, drive east towards Normandy’s D-Day landing beaches. Whether you’re a history buff or not, I don’t believe this area of Normandy should be skipped.

Driving time from Mont Saint Michel to Omaha Beach: 2 hours

normandy trip planning

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach sits on a strip stretching for kilometers where golden, soft sand meets the blue English Channel. At the site sits a monument dedicated to the Allied Forces who came ashore Normandy’s beaches.

The part of the beach where the monument sits is the busiest strip, especially in the summer. You can walk down the strip for about 10-20 minutes and the amount of people on the beach goes down, allowing you to enjoy some time dipping in the water or napping as the saltwater fills the air. If you’re not in the mood to swim, the beach has a lovely promenade for you to walk on.

Where to eat: Restaurant La Trinquette . Hands down, La Trinquette ranks in the top 2 of best restaurants I ate in during my trip in Normandy! La Trinquette specializes in seafood and local cuisine.

Driving time from Omaha Beach to American Cemetery: 10 minutes

normandy trip planning

Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial

Established in 1944, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial was the first American cemetery on European soil. There is said to be over 9,000 burials on site, marked by white tombstones.

Open generally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. during high season), give yourself some time to walk around the grounds and to read about the D-Day landings on Normandy’s beaches.

Driving time from American Cemetery to German bunkers: 30 minutes

normandy trip planning

Longues-sur-Mer Battery German bunkers

Not many people are aware of this place, which makes a visit here even more irresistible. Longues-sur-Mer was home to at least 4 German bunkers, which all overlook the English Channel. The bunkers were well equipped for an enemy invasion, housing at least one cannon each with multiple ammunition hiding spots.

The bunkers are still standing and pretty much in tact.

Driving time from Longues-sur-Mer to Honfleur: 1.5 hours

normandy trip planning

Arrive in Honfleur on the evening of day 2. Get yourself checked into your hotel and walk around the old town.

Honfleur was one of my favorite stops in Normandy. It’s a French village with so much charm and beauty. At night, with a mix of the city’s cobblestone streets and well-lit streets, you might actually start asking yourself, “is it Christmas?”.

Bonus : if you arrive on a Wednesday, you can enjoy the night market at the port. Several vendors sell the local drinks of cider and Calvados, a spirit made from apples. They’ll even let you have some tastings!

Where I stayed: Citotel Hôtel Monet . This small and charming, family-run hotel sits on the edge of Honfleur’s old town. With free private parking available, you will feel at ease leaving your car behind and walking around the old town and port.

normandy trip planning

Day 3: Honfleur, Étretat

Use the first half of day 3 to explore Honfleur and eat a delicious lunch.

The port is the most touristic area of the town. One side of the port has buildings made of stone, thus giving us medieval vibes. The other part of the port has buildings with a half-timbered foundation, but the finishing of the buildings resemble those you might find in the Netherlands.

I recommend to walk around the port, but do not eat there.

Where to eat : Au P’tit Mareyeur . The food I ate in Au P’tit Mareyeur was definitely a highlight of my trip, and was my favorite restaurant in Normandy! The food was affordable and very tasty. I ordered the “menu”, which comes with two appetizers, a main dish, and dessert for about 25€.

After lunch, drive east to Étretat to visit the chalk white cliffs famously painted by some of France’s notable artists.

Keep your eyes alert, as you’ll get to drive on the Normandy Bridge (‘ Pont de Normandie’ in French ). At the time of its completion in 1995, Normandy Bridge was the longest spanning cable-stayed bridge in the world.

Driving time from Honfleur to Étretat: 1.5 hours

normandy trip planning

Imagine white cliffs so steep that they appear to just dive into the sea. That’s what you’ll find in Étretat. Étretat is one of Normandy’s most incredible and natural landscapes. It has also been the inspiration to many of France’s impressionist painters, including Claude Monet.

The white cliffs of Étretat might seem a bit intimidating to non-hikers, but it shouldn’t be. They’ve done a great job of easing everyone’s access to the top of the cliffs. There are stairs which lead you from the beaches in Étretat to the cliffs.

The path on top of the cliffs are marked and are fairly easy to walk on. Depending on the weather and your energy level, you can spend either an hour up there or several hours. Just be sure to bring a windbreaker with a hood in case it rains.

Where to sleep: Château du Landin . If you come to France with the hope of staying in a château, then consider a stay in this château hotel. I stayed at Château du Landin for a night in August, and I didn’t regret it at all! Read more about my stay.

Alternatively, consider staying in Honfleur for 2 nights and then driving to Étretat on Day 4 if you want to slow your pace down a little. 

normandy trip planning

Day 4: Château du Landin, Giverny, and Paris

Enjoy your breakfast on the terrace of Château du Landin. The château enjoys panoramic views overlooking the Seine River. Take a dip in the outdoor jacuzzi, or explore the grounds on foot or bike.

Once you’ve checked out and are ready to go, drive to Giverny, a small village near Paris.

Driving time from Château du Landin to Giverny: 1 hour

normandy trip planning

The small and super charming village of Giverny is a nice place to stop for about half a day. Giverny is famous for being home to many of France’s Impressionist painters. The most notable impressionist who lived there was Claude Monet, who was a founder of French Impressionist painting.

Take some time to visit Monet’s House and Gardens, one of the most visited landmarks in France, and the second most visited in Normandy. When you’re finished, walk around the small village to discover why the artists were so drawn to Giverny.

Driving time from Giverny to Paris: 1-2 hours (depending on traffic)

normandy trip planning

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8 thoughts on “4 days in normandy, france: a picturesque road trip itinerary”.

normandy trip planning

I can’t stress enough how badly I want to see Mont St. Michel. I’m flipping desperate for it. Thanks so much for the guide, I will keep it for the future!!! I really appreciate the note about high tide, I’ll need to plan around that. Would have probably ignored it on my own. Haha

normandy trip planning

Mont Saint Michel was one of my faaav stops! When I went in August, there were 2 high tides: one in the morning and one at night. Def look into this for when you wanna go!

normandy trip planning

One of my biggest regrets was not visiting Normandy while living in France! It’s such a beautiful place with so much history-this will be super helpful for my visit in the future!

I’m glad to hear it! 🙂

normandy trip planning

Great road trip itinerary and gorgeous photographs. We’ve stayed in Normandy for a week two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Such picturesque villages, great beaches. Great spot to slow down and breath for a little while.

Thanks a lot, Sarah! That’s exactly how I felt about Normandy. It’s definitely a good environment for slow travel and unique scenery.

normandy trip planning

I love this post because you’ve captured an array of activities. There are beautiful natural sights, quaint neighborhoods and interesting military history. It’s exactly the way I like to travel! Beautiful photos! Must visit Normandy!

Thank you, Natasha!

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' class=

Hello, I was hoping for some assistance with our trip to Normandy.

Sunday June 19 - Rent a car in Paris on Saturday June 18th evening or Sunday June 19 morning, drive to Honfleur , Caen , Bayeux . Stay overnight in Bayeux

Monday June 20 - all day sightseeing of D day beaches & N American cemetery (Utah, Pont du Hoc, Omaha, cemetery before 5 pm flag ceremony). Stay overnight in Bayeux

Tuesday June 21st - Bayeux in the morning, we drive to Mont St Michel. Overnight in Mont St Michel

Wed June 22nd - Mont St Michel in the morning. return to Paris. Stop in Giverny, see Monet gardens.

1) Rental car - I doubt Rental car places will be open in Viroflay or Versailles over the weekend. Will Gare Montparnesse be the closest place to rent a car ?

2) Hotel recommendations in Bayeux and MSM? Stay on MSM or outside/across? Airbnb or hotel? We are going to have a friend from paris join us for part of the trip, but she has never been to Normandy. Is Bayeux a good base?

3) Tour guide availability in Bayeux area for D Day beaches & Cemetery tour? We contacted Dale Booth & they are fully booked in June.

4) Feedback on trip? Too tight? My husband is a huge World War II buff, so this may be very limited but we also need to visit Nantes to see friends, and sightsee in Paris.

Kind regards

' class=

I don’t 5hink you need a tour fro the D day beaches and area, unless your hubby wants lots of details. With a car it is easy to find on your own.

Sorry I don’t know MSM hotels. Wednesday for Giverny is good, they are closed on Monday.

For Mont St Michel, a hotel is probably a better bet than an AirBNB. Staying on the island is a cool experience. Best to just bring an overnight bag and leave your luggage in the car , though. (You will park on the mainland.) Staying in La Caserne, across from MSM, is a good idea if you want to photograph views of the island at different times.

Question 4… Your itinerary is doable, but it is tight. If your husband is a huge WWII buff, he may be disappointed that you are only seeing a few D-Day sites. There are dozens of sites, cemeteries, and museums in the area. This site provides some ideas:

https://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/discover/history/d-day-and-the-battle-of-normandy/sites-and-attractions/

You can also visit the Brittany American Cemetery when you are in the area of Mont St Michel.

https://www.abmc.gov/Brittany

normandy trip planning

for what its worth, when it comes to PLANS, its all on paper until you hit the ground and start moving. Travel is fluid/dynamic and things can change for better or worse.

since you have commitments and you have worked those into your trip its what you need and have to do.

also, 1 week just SUCKS, but its all you have and once you are ready to leave, you will probably start acclimating to the time difference and then have to go back home. Jet Lag may hit you hard for this short tip.

Bayeux , is nice. If you dont know, it was barely touched by WWII, so to me, it was really cool/charming place to stay.

If you havent, you may want to get a travel book or do some research on where you are going if you have any interests in the place/things you may see. You may find there are other things nearby.

If you need to go to Nantes I would do it at the same time than Normandy since you will already be on the western coast of France . You could train to Nantes and get a car from there. Or the other way around if you can get your rental car near Viroflay. Visit Giverny first before Honfleur and Bayeux . Once in Mont St Michel, you could get to Nantes. Otherwise I would at least get to Rennes, drop you rental car there and train back to Paris to save time.

Drive all the way from Paris and wanting to visit Honfleur, Caen and then get to Bayeux. I fill it might be too much or you'll just pass by quickly through all those places. Dropping Caen might be an idea if you want to be able to enjoy Honfleur. But if the Caen Memorial Museum is important for your husband, forget about Honfleur to be able to visit as much of the museum possible.

Bayeux is indeed a great base to visit the D Day beaches. Have a tour guide would certainly allow you to see a lot more since that person would know exactly where to go. And often some insight knowledge that you might not have otherwise.

As for which tour, you might want to have a look at TA top then tours from Bayeux : https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attractions-g187181-Activities-c42-Bayeux_Calvados_Basse_Normandie_Normandy.html

Last time I was in Bayeux, I stay at Hotel Reine Mathilde and I could see the cathedral from my room. Very well located. https://hotel-bayeux-reinemathilde.fr/en/

Thank you all so much for your prompt replies. Certainly some options to think through. Thank you for the hotel recommendations as well.

I may be back with more questions :-)

Kind Regards

Back with more questions.

2) we see plenty of airbnb and hotel options for Bayeux . We ll be with a friend in Bayeux so we think airbnb will be better. For MSM, I see a hotel is recommended? Any suggestions?

3) We also started wondering if this is our first time to Normandy and limited time, rather than booking car rental , airbnb/hotel, are there are guided tour companies from Paris that have 3-4 day trips? We understand that our own car will give us more freedom. But curious to see if there are any options as we decide. We don't want to do a day trip especially with our 6 year old son, and the tours I see from Paris seem to be the jammed 1 day trips.

4) We have to go to Nantes on our way back to Paris, because of the schedule of our friend who is accompanying us to Paris. So going to Giverny on the way back is what I am leaning towards, which gives us time to spend in Caen on Sunday June 19 on way to Bayeux. We might have to skip Honfleur . I'll do more research. As one of you mentioned, travel is fluid.

Avis is as reliable as Europcar, Hertz and all the big international rental agencies.

2 - I never stayed at the Mont itself always in the area doing a day trip to Mont St Michel so can't recommend any.

3 - I can't recommend any multiday tours but you can have a look. I think that no matter how many days, tours always are pretty packed. Might not be the best with a young one with you. But tours do give you more insights and are a lot more time efficient because they know exactly where to go and what to see.

I think that it would be a long day for him but a real treat for your husband. You might also want to consider him taking a day tour or half day tour while you are doing something else with your son. Like you said, having a car sure will give you more freedon and flexibility. It's a hard question to answer and I think you are the only one who would know.

Here are a few tours I found :

https://www.bestoffrancetours.com/10-multi-day-tours

https://www.privatetrip.fr/tours/d-day-normandy-other-battle-tours/

https://www.toursbylocals.com/d-day-normandy-full-day-private-tour-by-car-from-paris

https://www.pariscityvision.com/en/normandy-saint-malo-mont-saint-michel-2-days

Good luck with your planning !

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Eighty Years On, British D-Day Veterans Sail to Normandy Once Again

Reuters

Veterans leave on board the Mont St Michel ship en route to Caen in France, as part of events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, Britain, June 4, 2024. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

By Elizabeth Pineau and Gerhard Mey

OUISTREHAM, France/PORTSMOUTH, England (Reuters) - British veterans sailed on Tuesday to Normandy where, 80 years ago this week, they fought to liberate France as part of D-Day, preparing to taking part in ceremonies marking a major turning point of World War Two.

The special voyage was part of celebrations for D-Day's 80th anniversary, likely to be the last marked on a grand scale in the presence of those who fought in 1944. About 200 veterans, most American and British, are expected to take part.

With war raging on Europe's borders, this week's D-Day ceremonies carry special resonance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will be among Thursday's guests.

"Thank you. I'm happy to be here," one veteran, Joe Mines, said after he and some two dozen other veterans - the star passengers onboard the Mont St. Michel ferry - arrived in Ouistreham, France.

They were welcomed by bagpipe players, and three veterans handed a commemorative torch to youths in front of the ferry.

The ferry had set off from Portsmouth, the main departure point for the 5,000 ships that headed to Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, the beaches made famous by the June 6, 1944, operation. 

Surrounded by naval ships and civilian boats, it was waved off by small crowds who lined the docks, as tugboats sprayed water, a traditional tribute. A wreath-laying ceremony took place during the trip to remember those who did not make it to shore. About 4,400 Allied troops died on D-Day.

John Dennett, 99, told the BBC he was looking forward to the ceremonies of the coming days. "It's a chance of a lifetime. Eighty years ago, it's a long time, going back, to see what we started," he said. 

Aged between 97 and 103, many of the veterans had walking sticks or were in wheelchairs, and wore military medals pinned to their lapels.

Earlier in the day, dozens of elderly U.S. veterans paid tribute to their fallen World War Two comrades in the U.S. cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, also in Normandy.

"It's our duty to remember them and make sure people realise how evil the world can become if you do not really take care," 99-year-old veteran Colonel Joe Peterburs told Reuters.

An Army Air Force pilot during World War Two, Peterburs did not take part in D-Day but began combat missions aged 19 and was made a prisoner in Germany when his plane was shot down. He managed to escape and went on to serve in the military for 36 years, including stints in Korea and Vietnam.

"I see all the graves. The bravery and the sacrifice of these men killed in their youth who could not live a full life," he said, as he looked from his wheelchair at row after row of white marble crosses - some with names, some unmarked - that show the toll that history's largest amphibious invasion took on allied forces.

"He feels a lot of survival guilt. He prays every night for all (those) that he left behind," said his granddaughter, Sabrina Peterburs, who travelled with him. "It's very emotional to be here with him and the other veterans and see the gratefulness of French people."

The French army conducted an exercise at dawn with dozens of soldiers landing on Omaha Beach, re-enacting D-Day.

"We think of the dead, those who came before us," said Lieutenant Jeremy from the French Legion's 13th Demi-Brigade. "We are happy to honour our elders by doing what they did 80 years ago."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Lucien Libert at Omaha Beach and Colleville, Gerhard Mey in Portsmouth; writing by Ingrid Melander and Sarah Young; editing by Alexandra Hudson and Jonathan Oatis)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters .

Photos You Should See - May 2024

A voter fills out a ballot paper during general elections in Nkandla, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Wednesday May 29, 2024. South Africans are voting in an election seen as their country's most important in 30 years, and one that could put them in unknown territory in the short history of their democracy, the three-decade dominance of the African National Congress party being the target of a new generation of discontent in a country of 62 million people — half of whom are estimated to be living in poverty. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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Opinion | William A. Ryan: Trip to Normandy evokes a time…

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Opinion | William A. Ryan: Trip to Normandy evokes a time of action for Illinois World War II veteran

Frank Kohnke, 98, at Medina Nursing and Rehab on May 28, 2024, in Durand, Illinois. Kohnke enlisted as a 16-year-old, later serving as a paratrooper in World War II. He is traveling to Normandy, France, for the 80th anniversary of D-Day. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

It’s hard not to get excited — one of them will be traveling to Normandy for the occasion. But increasingly frail at 98, Frank Kohnke is a bit anxious about the upcoming trip.

“What if everyone wants me to tell war stories?” he asks. “Sometimes I forget the details. All I really know is I’m so, so proud of what we accomplished.”

Kohnke straightens his 101st Airborne cap, glances at the American flag hanging above his bed and holds a sepia-toned photograph of him in Army greens. “I’m not sure why they’d invite us old-timers anyway,” he says, genuinely perplexed.

At the beginning of June, the Army kicks off 10 days in Normandy to commemorate perhaps the most iconic military maneuver in modern history: the day America and her Allies stormed the beaches of France with the aim of freeing Europe from Nazi tyranny. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to attend. But the guests of honor will be the nearly 130 World War II veterans such as Kohnke who are making the trip on two medically supported Honor Flights.

I have the privilege of leading a group of soldiers from First Army, the unit that commanded all ground and airborne forces on D-Day, as we return to the sands so entwined with our history. It has been humbling to learn about the heroes we will meet there.

Kohnke is emblematic of a great generation that unceremoniously answered when the nation called. The Milwaukee teenager enlisted at age 16, lying about his birthday and forging his mother’s signature. He was desperate to be a paratrooper, a bold new military specialty that trained men to jump out of perfectly good airplanes and float into combat zones under silk chutes and the cover of darkness.

“You look at it now, and you just think: ‘Stupid,’” Kohnke laughs. “But that’s the definition of being young. I was stupid, but, oh, how I wanted to be a paratrooper.”

He was assigned to the 101st Airborne, an untested unit that was stood up just days before the end of World War I and never saw action then. But before World War II, the 101st was reorganized with parachute regiments, and it got the critical assignment of dropping deep behind enemy lines hours before the invasion. Its commander would famously call the mission a “rendezvous with destiny.”

Kohnke arrived in France just after the June 6 landings, and on Sept. 17, his 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in the largest airborne operation of all time. Operation Market Garden sought to capture bridges over the Rhine, allowing the Allies to advance into Germany through the Netherlands and encircle the Ruhr industrial region, the heart of the Nazi war machine.

The operation failed; losses were catastrophic. Nearly 4,000 Americans were killed, severely wounded or taken prisoner. Eight decades later, Kohnke does not talk about it.

“I don’t like to remember the bad things,” he says. “At my age, it’s better just to forget them.”

Frank Kohnke, 98, holds his enlistment portrait on May 28, 2024. He enlisted at age 16, lying about his birthday and forging his mother's signature. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

If Kohnke’s story isn’t remarkable enough, down the hallway from him in the nursing home are two other World War II heroes. Sverre Vinje is resting after physical therapy for a broken hip. At 99, he had been living independently and still driving until a recent fall. Vinje was on the USS Donaldson when the atomic bombs were dropped and the Japanese surrendered. He remembers sailing into Yokohama Harbor days later.

“We saw all the guns lined up,” Vinje says. “We would have lost so many Americans if we’d had to invade. My God, we’d have lost good men.”

Gordon Walstrom hears the war talk and scoots over in his wheelchair. He served in the Army’s 25th Infantry Division during the final months of the war in the Pacific and remained as part of the occupation force after the Japanese surrender.

“You’re 18 and still a daredevil,” he says. “But I can tell you they got our attention real quick when we got briefings about the dangers of radiation from the bombs.”

This 80th anniversary will likely be one of the last big D-Day celebrations to include so many living World War II veterans. Only about 100,000 of the more than 16 million Americans who served during that conflict are still living. It is truly remarkable that inside the 89-bed nursing home in tiny Durand there are three in one hallway.

The military has an expression: “We stand on the shoulders of giants.” Kohnke, Vinje and Walstrom are the living embodiment: patriotic, wise, humble. And they retain that dark sense of humor unique to those of us who have experienced the hell of war.

On this warm spring morning, Kohnke blurts out something on his mind: “What if I up and die over there?”

One of his friends deadpans: “Well, then they’ll either send you home in a vase or bury you over there. Basically, the same options you had in 1944 — and at least you’ll go out doing something more fun than napping in a nursing home bed.”

There it is: the old belly laugh.

“You’re right,” Kohnke smiles. “I’m going back to France.”

Maj. Gen. William A. Ryan is the acting commander of First Army, headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois.

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Our Favorite Paris Tours for Families You Won't Want to Miss

P aris is such a great choice for your next trip to Europe with your kids. The City of Lights offers beauty, history, and an abundance of activities for children of all ages. One of the best things about planning a Paris vacation is all the family-friendly tours, engaging museum guides, French baking classes, fun day trips, and boat rides you can book. It makes visiting Paris much easier with kids. If you’re overwhelmed with choices, this is a curated list of the best Paris tours for families so your entire family has the best time possible!

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Best Paris Tours for Families

Planning a family trip to Paris can be an unforgettable adventure, with amazing experiences for both kids and adults. From exploring the city’s iconic attractions to immersing in the local culture through engaging cooking classes, Paris offers activities for all ages. We promise these are the best Paris tours for families that are sure to add a bit of magic to your itinerary!

Free Tours in Paris

Paris highlights walking tour.

Is this your first time in the French Capital? It’s a good idea to start your family trip with a city tour. This  Free Tour of Paris  is tips-based so you know your guide will work hard for their earnings.

The first stop on this twice-daily tour is Hôtel de Ville which ends around 2.5 hours later in Tuileries Gardens. Visit iconic landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Pont des Arts, Pont Neuf, and so much more.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the history of Paris, and get your bearings. It’s also a great opportunity to ask a local guide for recommendations! 

Be warned: it’s not a short walk. Wear comfortable shoes and bring strollers or carriers for small children.

Paris Mysteries and Legends Walking Tour

If this is a return family trip and you want to explore off the beaten track, check out the Free Paris Mysteries and Legends Tour . Again, it’s a tips-based tour in the heart of Paris but focuses less on the tourist attractions and more on the dark secrets hidden in the heart of Paris.

This 2.5-hour evening tour starts at Saint Michel Fountain and ends at Place Saint Innocents. You will visit and uncover the mysteries of Paris’s churches, cemeteries, criminals, and executions. This guided tour isn’t scary but it does take place at night so it’s better suited to those visiting Paris with teens .

Paris City Tours

Montmartre tour for kids (with sacré-coeur).

With its twisting cobblestone streets and artistic heritage, Montmartre is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods to experience in Paris. This super fun 2.5-hour  Montmartre Kids Tour is one of the best private walking tours and the best Paris tours for families.

A kid-friendly guide will allow you to follow in the footsteps of artists like Van Gogh and Picasso. They will take you around the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and other cool spots in the surrounding neighborhood. Your kids won’t get bored and you can see Paris’s most beautiful neighborhood up close. Win-win!

Paris in a Day Tour for Kids (with Louvre)

Only have one full day to see the highlights of Paris and don’t want to waste a single second? Context Travel offers this super comprehensive, private six-hour Paris Tour for kids of all ages. 

Visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Louvre, the lively Latin Quarter, churches, beautiful parks, and the top spots in Paris. One day isn’t enough to see everything, but you will feel like you made the most of your time.

Paris Seine Private Boat Tour

The Seine River flows through the middle of the city and is featured in countless songs and novels. Sailing along it is an unmissable experience! Families of up to five with kids of any age will love this  Private Boat Tour on the Seine River . 

It’s a 90-minute tour and your boat captain/guide will share fun facts about the structures and buildings as you sail along. Feel free to bring any snacks and pets on board too!

Paris Vintage Tour in a Sidecar Motorcycle

Walking tours and bus tours are great ways to explore Paris. But if you’re looking for unique and exciting activities, this Paris Motorcycle Sidecar Tour  ticks those boxes! 

This 90-minute private tour will pick you up from your hotel. From there you will head to the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, and Eiffel Tower in style. Note that only two passengers can fit in the sidecar but children as young as three can join the tour.

Louvre Private Family Tour with Treasure Hunt

There are plenty of kid-friendly museums in Paris , but a visit of Louvre Museum is on everyone’s Paris bucket list. Don’t be tempted to skip it with kids.

How can you explore the Louvre’s most famous masterpieces and ancient artifacts without dragging your kids around or bribing them first? Easy! Book this private, two-hour  Louvre Family Tour and Scavenger Hunt  with Paris Muse. 

This is one of the best Paris tours for families. We love that it allows you to skip the line and see the best works of art (including the Mona Lisa!) while keeping your kids engaged. It is perfect for children ages six to 12.

Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Tour

If you haven’t booked your tickets for the Eiffel Tower in advance, you can expect super long lines. We’re talking waits of one hour plus! When you have young kids, it’s absolutely worth booking this  Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Tour  in advance.

Spend more time admiring the views from this famous observation point than looking at it from below!

Orsay Museum Private Tour for Kids

Kid-friendly museum tours are a must if you want your smaller children to soak up the artistic culture of Paris. It’s just a more enjoyable, fun experience for everyone!

This private  Orsay Museum Tour for Kids  can be as short as 90 minutes or as long as three hours, whatever works for your family.

Explore this beautiful Beaux Arts former railway station and the best of French art from the turn of the 20th century in this stimulating, skip-the-line experience.

Paris Biking Tours

Paris fat tire tours.

Avoid climbing up and down the steps of metro stations and walking until your feet blister. Hop on a  Paris Day Bike Tour run by Fat Tire Tours and experience Paris by bike! This guided tour is the perfect activity for the first day of your vacation as you can get acquainted with the city.

The 3.5-hour tour is perfect for the whole family. There are a lot of options for kids of all ages including tandem bikes, trailers, and baby seats. See all of the top attractions in Paris and on the morning tour, and you will have a break for lunch near Tuileries Gardens. 

Versailles Bike Tour

There’s  so  much to see in the beautiful town of Versailles beyond the famous royal palace! Fat Tire Tours’s 8.5-hour  Versailles Bike Tour  ensures round-trip transportation from Paris, a guided tour of the grounds, visits to Marie Antoinette’s private villa, timed entrance to Versailles Palace, and so much more.

It offers all the flexible bike options the Paris day tour offers so everyone can enjoy a family-friendly adventure cycling around Versailles.

Paris at Night Tours

Paris free night walking tour.

If you arrive in Paris late in the afternoon, don’t waste your first evening! Join Free Walking Tours’s two-hour  Paris Free Night Walking Tour  and get to know the City of Lights on a tip-based tour with an enthusiastic, expert guide.

This two-hour tour starts at the Tulleries metro station. Stops include Avenue des Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, several churches, Alexander III Bridge, and a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Seine Dinner Cruise with Live Music

If you’re traveling with older kids, they will love the novelty of eating dinner on a boat! We like this 2.5-hour  Seine River Sightseeing Dinner Cruise  with live music will be such a special treat.

You will be served a three or four-course meal as you sail past the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and other notable landmarks along the Seine’s UNESCO-certified banks.

Paris Open Top Bus Night Tour

One of the best nighttime Paris tours for families with small kids is this  Paris Open Top Bus Tour . It’s only a 90-minute tour, which is ideal for early bedtimes, and you can listen to an audio guide as you drive around the city. 

Best Paris Food Tours and Classes

Macaron making class.

Take a break from walking around the city and make a quintessential French treat! This two-hour  Macaron Making Class  by Get Your Guide includes a demonstration, baking your own macarons, a tea break, and a to-go box of your own bakes so you can eat them later.

Even better, you get the recipe so you can (attempt to) bake at home too. Note that it’s only for children ages 12 and above. 

La Cuisine Paris Food Tour

While La Cuisine is known for its cooking, baking, and patisserie classes, it also runs several small-group  Paris Food Tours  that are perfect for families with children aged 13 and older.

Learn about the history of French cuisine from an expert guide and taste lots of delicious local treats depending on the two-hour tour you choose.

Explore the neighborhoods of Marais or Les Halles or join their Pastry & Chocolate or Morning Market food tours. Whichever you choose, you will be able to sample delicious cheeses, breads, desserts, meats, pastries, and so much more! Arrive starving.

Paris by Mouth Food Tour

Paris by Mouth has been rated the number 1 food tour in Paris by TripAdvisor for many years, so you should have high expectations!

They run several small-group, three-hour  Paris Food Tours  in several neighborhoods and allow kids as young as 10 to join.

They run tours in the East Saint-Germain, West Saint-Germain, North Marais, South Marais, and the Left Bank neighborhoods as well as one called French Cheese Explosion. The only tour that isn’t quite kid-friendly is their French Wine Discovery tour! 

Paris Market Tour for Kids

France is known for its colorful food markets overflowing with seasonal produce, so this is one of the top Paris tours for families you can’t miss. Context Travel’s two-hour, private  Paris Family Food Tour  will show you around Marché d’Aligre, Marché Beauvau, and Marché d’Aligre.

The entire family will learn about the staples of French cuisine and taste fresh cheeses, charcuterie, and pastries.

French Bakery Behind-the-Scenes

Peaking behind the curtain of a French bakery is an experience so few get to have! With this two-hour, small-group  Paris Bakery Behind-the-Scenes and Baking  experience, you and your kids will be able to bake in a real, working Parisian bakery. Babies and infants can join, but school-age kids will get more out of this opportunity.

Enjoy a French breakfast, learn how a bakery operates, and even bake your very own baguette.

Paris Chocolate Tours and Classes

Paris chocolate and pastry tour.

Delectable sweet treats are a vital part of French culture and one that visitors of all ages can enjoy! Munch on the best Parisian meringues, crêpes, éclairs, macarons, hot or iced cocoa, ice cream, or pastries on this award-winning, two-hour, small group  Chocolate & Pastries Tour . There is also a freshly-baked, surprise dish to look forward to!

Paris Sweets Family Tour and Treasure Hunt

Take your younger children on a treasure hunt for tasty treats through the lively Saint-Germain-des Prés neighborhood. The  Sweet & Chocolate Family Treasure Hunt  is one of the best Paris tours for families. You get a kid-friendly, private tour guide and at least seven sweet/chocolate tastings!

Paris Chocolate Making Workshop

Don’t just eat the chocolate, learn how to make it in a fun, 45-minute class at the Choco Story Museum in Paris. Book this  Chocolate Making Workshop for your children aged seven and up and leave the class with your own chocolate bar that you get to decorate. 

There are opportunities to taste other chocolates and entrance to the Choco-Story Museum is also included.

Day Tours From Paris

Paris day tour to normandy.

If your older children are studying World War II, or you would like them to learn more, then take a day trip to Normandy. It’s one of the best places to find out about this significant part of American and French history. This small-group Normandy Day Tour   is a comprehensive, 12-hour tour hitting all the top sites.

You will visit the D-day landing beaches of Omaha, the Overlord Museum, and the Normandy American Cemetery. Pointe du Hoc and Longues-sur-Mer Battery, the locations of German bunkers and gun batteries, are also part of the tour, and skip-the-line tickets are included.

Paris to Giverny Day Tour

Giverny is a great Paris day trip for the whole family if you have less time. It’s only a one-hour drive from Paris so it’s doable with young children.

Book this half-day, small-group Giverny Day Trip to escape the city and visit beautiful gardens and villages in the French countryside.

On this tour, you visit the estate of impressionist painter Monet and his Water Garden. Witness the inspiration behind his famous waterlily paintings first-hand! There is the opportunity to stroll around Giverny village and visit Claude Monet’s tomb too.

Mont St. Michel from Paris Day Tour

Although this magical location is a four-hour drive from Paris, you will have no problems convincing your kids to visit a real fairytale castle! We love this small-group Mont St. Michel Full Day Trip , where you won’t have to worry about driving, navigating, or waiting in line for a ticket. Entrance fees, audio guides, and lots of free time are included!

Mont. St Michel is a tidal island and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Normandy with an incredibly picturesque village and cathedral sitting at the top of the hill. It needs to be seen to be believed and there’s no way your kids won’t love visiting this unique place.

Disneyland Paris Ticket and Transfers

It’s not surprising that Disneyland Paris is a popular day trip for families! But tickets for the theme park and shuttle buses during peak seasons can sell out. If you have little kids, navigating the metro public transportation can also be a pain. Opting for this private Disneyland Paris Entry Ticket and Transfer  could be a better option.

You can explore the amusement parks at your own pace and get picked up and dropped off at your hotel at a time that’s convenient.

Book the Best Paris Tours for Families on Your Trip

There are plenty of family-friendly, expert guides who take care of everything so everyone can enjoy your family vacation. You don’t have to spend hours and hours researching!

Whether you want to fill your time learning how to make macarons and pain au chocolat in cooking classes or hire a private guide for full-day trips, everyone will enjoy these Paris tours for families.

The post Our Favorite Paris Tours for Families You Won’t Want to Miss appeared first on .

Planning a family trip to Paris can be unforgettable, with amazing experiences for both kids and adults. Paris offers activities for all ages and these are some of the best Paris tours for families.

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  1. Normandy Road Trip: Ultimate 7 Day Itinerary

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  2. The Ultimate Normandy Road Trip Guide 2024

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  3. How to Plan a 2-day Normandy Itinerary from Paris to Bayeux

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  4. 4 Days in Normandy, France: A Picturesque Road Trip Itinerary

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  5. Tips to plan your Normandy road trip (France)

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  6. Normandy Road Trip

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COMMENTS

  1. The Ultimate 3, 4 or 5 Day Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

    Located along the northwest coast of France, planning the perfect 3, 4 or 5-day Normandy road trip itinerary is an excellent way to experience this diverse region. Boasting picturesque countryside, charming coastal towns, and iconic landmarks, this is an excellent corner of France to explore. Whether you're interested in the history of the D ...

  2. Normandy Travel Guide Resources & Trip Planning Info by Rick Steves

    Sweeping coastlines, half-timbered towns, and thatched roofs decorate the rolling green hills of Normandy. Despite the peacefulness you sense today, the region's history is filled with war, from Viking invasions to William the Conqueror, from Joan of Arc, and of course the 1944 battles of D-Day. The rugged, rainy Norman coast harbors wartime bunkers and enchanting fishing villages like ...

  3. Plan your trip to Normandy

    Normandy is one of the most famous destinations in France and in the world, most notably for its culture, architecture, picture-perfect coastline, historic D-Day Landing Beaches, delicious food and welcoming atmosphere. Whether you're visiting Normandy to holiday, work or study, we have all the information you need to plan the perfect trip ...

  4. The Ultimate One Week Road Trip Itinerary For Normandy

    Here's an overview of my recommended one week itinerary for visiting Normandy: Day 1: Drive to Rouen, stop in Giverny or at Chateau Gaillard. Day 2: Explore Rouen. Day 3: Drive to Honfleur. Day 4: Day Trip To Etretat and/or Fecamp. Day 5: Day trip to Le Havre or Deauville. Day 6: Drive To Bayeux.

  5. Four days in Normandy road trip: The perfect Normandy itinerary

    Planning your Normandy road trip? Get your perfect laid-back Normandy itinerary for four days in Normandy, including the Normandy cider trail, Honfleur, Rouen, one of the most beautiful villages in Normandy, the epic cliffs of Étretat, and Omaha Beach. This road trip is perfect for a long weekend from Paris!

  6. Plan a trip to Normandy in northern France

    What's in this article. 4 day northern France itinerary - Rouen & Normandy's classic coast. Day 1 - Rouen: Medieval city with half timbered houses. Day 2 - Picturesque harbour town Honfleur. Day 3 - Trouville by the sea. Day 4 - Étretat - the spectacular Normandy coastline. Tips for visiting Normandy with kids.

  7. Normandy Road Trip: Ultimate 7 Day Itinerary

    Lonely Planet Normandy & D Day Beaches Road Trips. Normandy 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary. Evreux - Giverny - Rouen - Dieppe - Fécamp - Étretat - Le Havre - Honfleur - Deauville - Falaise - Caen - Bayeux - Saint-Lô - Mont-Saint-Michel. Distance 534km. Duration 7 days. Drive Time 9 hours.

  8. The Ultimate Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

    The Perfect Itinerary for a Road Trip in Normandy. Planning a driving tour of Normandy? Well here are some terrific places to visit during your time there. Stop 1: Rouen. The capital of Northern France, Rouen is the perfect place to start your scenic drives in Normandy.

  9. The Ultimate Normandy Road Trip Guide 2024

    Normandy By Car (Or Public Transport) Quick Guide: Route Time: Without stopping, it takes around 3 hours. Where To Stop In 3-4 Days. ️ Day 1: Arrive In Normandy. ️ Day 1: Explore the charming area of Honfleur. ️ Day 2: Take in the views from Mont Saint-Michel.

  10. Best of Normandy 3 Day Road Trip Itinerary

    BEST TIME TO TAKE AN NORMANDY ROAD TRIP. In our opinion, the best time to visit Normandy is either the spring (March to May) or the autumn (mid-September to October). The weather is good (although it can vary so pack layers!) especially as it gets closer to May, or it can still be warm in September.

  11. Normandy Road Trip

    To help you plan your Normandy road trip, I'm sharing with you the best 3 days itinerary through the region, along with options to extend your trip, expert tips, and a free easy-to-follow map. ... Rouen is a very good choice to start a Normandy trip when coming from Paris as you won't spend too much time driving. Also, Rouen is a must-see ...

  12. Normandy Trip Planner

    Plan Your Trip To Normandy With Triptile™. 5 days or less. 6 - 7 days. 8 days or more. Thinking about exploring Normandy and unsure about which itineraries to consider? We recommend exploring the top Normandy tours below, curated by seasoned travel experts and validated by numerous travelers. These meticulously crafted Normandy trip packages ...

  13. The Best of Normandy, France: 3-Day Itinerary

    The Best of Normandy, France: 3-Day Itinerary. 03/28/2022 France. Last Updated on 03/02/2024. Normandy is known for the 4 Cs: cider, calvados, cream and camembert. I think chateaus, cemeteries and conquerer (as in William the Conquerer, Duke of Normandy and King of England) are more Cs the region is famous for, but I will assume the 4Cs are ...

  14. Normandy Tourism: The official tourism website of Normandy, France

    Welcome to the official Normandy Tourism website, packed with ideas for things to see and do, places to stay, events, maps, videos and more! Close menu. ... Plan your trip . Go back; Accommodation ; Places to eat ; Things to see and do ; What's on ; Useful visitor information ; Brochures, maps and guides ; The Normandy you'll love .

  15. Highlights of a 7-Day Normandy and Brittany Itinerary

    Table Of Contents. Walk, ride, and drive around Normandy and Brittany in seven days. Our Normandy and Brittany itinerary — at a glance. Day 1 - Paris to Rouen. Day 2 — Rouen. Rouen highlights. Where we ate. Where we stayed. Day 3 - Rouen to Bayeux.

  16. 5 Day Normandy Road Trip Itineray

    Here is my 5-day Normandy Road Trip Itinerary! Day 1: Getting to Rouen. Route: From Brussels to Rouen (Distance: 343 km; Driving time: 3h 30 minutes) Hotel: Urban Style de l'Europe. The first day is all about getting to Normandy, France. In our case, since we live in Belgium, we chose to drive there.

  17. Normandy & Brittany Road Trip Authentic Itinerary for 2 Weeks (France)

    It is time to discover the west part of France. Learn about D-Day and the famous landings in the Normandy beach at WWII and then fall in love with medieval towns. We made the trip in 11/12 days but If you are coming from abroad, plan 2 weeks. This Normandy & Brittany road trip is an overview of the region and there would be enough to do for months.

  18. Detailed 3-Day Itinerary for Visiting the Normandy Beaches

    Normandy is more than a day trip from Paris. We recommend 3 to 5 days: 3 days if you're just going for the Normandy beaches and 5 days if you want to see some of the cultural sites as well. I know there are some guides out there that talk about visiting Mont St. Michel, Bayeux and the Normandy Beaches all in 3 days.

  19. 4 Days in Normandy, France: A Picturesque Road Trip Itinerary

    There is said to be over 9,000 burials on site, marked by white tombstones. Open generally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. during high season), give yourself some time to walk around the grounds and to read about the D-Day landings on Normandy's beaches. Driving time from American Cemetery to German bunkers: 30 minutes.

  20. Normandy trip planner: make a Normandy itinerary & map

    Normandy is a region of northern France. Its varied coastline includes white-chalk cliffs and WWII beachheads, including Omaha Beach, site of the famous D-Day landing. Just off the coast, the rocky island of Mont-Saint-Michel is topped by a soaring Gothic abbey. The city of Rouen, dominated by Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, is where military ...

  21. Plan my trip to Normandy

    BEST TIME TO VISIT NORMANDY. From April to October, temperatures are mild (15-28°C / 55-85 ° F) and days are longer. In Winter, you'll find opportunities to relax and enjoy nature, especially during the food festivals, some of the best in France (3-10°C / 35-50°F). WEATHER FORECAST IN NORMANDY.

  22. Normandy Trip planning

    Sunday June 19 - Rent a car in Paris on Saturday June 18th evening or Sunday June 19 morning, drive to Honfleur, Caen, Bayeux. Stay overnight in Bayeux. Monday June 20 - all day sightseeing of D day beaches & N American cemetery (Utah, Pont du Hoc, Omaha, cemetery before 5 pm flag ceremony). Stay overnight in Bayeux.

  23. Visit Normandy

    Plan your Visit to Normandy with free Normandy itineraries, guides, things to do and maps. Create your personal guide to Normandy with full information on all top attractions ... Visit A City is all about the fun of planning the details of your trip. We believe that your own personal trip requires you to have your own personal travel guide.

  24. 80th anniversary of D-Day: This year will likely be the last major D

    Allied forces are seen landing on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. ... The various countries putting together the event are now planning what is expected to be the most extensive D-Day ...

  25. Eighty Years On, British D-Day Veterans Sail to Normandy Once Again

    Reuters. Veterans leave on board the Mont St Michel ship en route to Caen in France, as part of events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, Britain, June 4, 2024.

  26. 12:30 Report

    On the surface, President Biden's trip to Normandy, France, is a stately ceremonial visit as a commander in chief to commemorate a historic battle. But dig a little deeper, and Biden's goal is ...

  27. Op-ed: Normandy trip evokes a time of action for Illinois WWII veteran

    Frank Kohnke arrived in France just after the June 6 landings and 80 years later will travel back to Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.

  28. Our Favorite Paris Tours for Families You Won't Want to Miss

    Planning a family trip to Paris can be unforgettable, with amazing experiences for both kids and adults. ... Paris Day Tour to Normandy. If your older children are studying World War II, or you ...