Art Media/Glow Images; tim gardside travel/Alamy; J-Charles Gérard/Photononstop/Glow Images
Follow the shoreline northeast to reach
Normandy’s legendary 19th-century
resorts on the splendid Côte Fleurie
(Flowered Coast), once a summer
haunt of Europe’s aristocracy and high
society. There’s still that classy feel in
places, especially at Deauville, with its
grand casino, racecourse, and yacht
marina. Among its neighbors, the pic-
turesque harbor of Honfleur attracted
an arty crowd — including the impres-
sionist painters, who used to gather here
for the view across the Seine estuary.
Nowadays, the soaring Pont de
Normandie toll bridge connects
Honfleur to the north bank of the
Seine. From here all the way to Dieppe
is the Côte d’Albâtre (Alabaster Coast),
known as much for its chalk cliffs and
stunning sea-carved rock archways as
for its sand and surf, especially at the
resort of Étretat.
Bayeux and Caen, the Côte Fleurie, and
all the landing beaches, except Utah
Beach, are within the
Calvados at the heart of Normandy. But
even more than wartime victories or
prewar style, the name of Calvados is
synonymous with fine apple brandy.
Normans have long been renowned
throughout France as great trencher-
men. In fact, so huge are their family
feasts that they invented the
. Literally the “Norman gap,”
this is a brief pause between two
courses of a large meal, during which
diners happily “relax their stomachs”
by sipping a glass of Calvados.
The apples for Calvados — and the
other local brews, hard cider, and the
— come mainly
from the Pays d’Auge area. This rural
backcountry between Caen and the
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Cool, bright spring days give way
to warm summers with average highs from
68°F to 73°F.
A walk in the woods. Well-
marked footpaths and bicycle trails crisscross
Normandy’s beautiful, spacious forests, such
as the Forêt de Lyons or Forêt de Brotonne on
either side of the River Seine.
Recommended — a car is
essential for traveling off the beaten track.
France Government Tourism Office
Normandy Tourist Board
IntervalWorld.com INTERVAL WORLD
LEFT: The River Seine flows through Normandy, slipping by Rouen and making its way through tranquil farmland and past vibrant ports, until it joins the sea at
Le Havre. RIGHT: Normans have long been admired for Calvados, their excellent apple brandy. The region also produces distinctive cheeses, thick and delicious
cream, and wonderful butter. Fresh seafood is plentiful along the coastline.