The Normandy Tourist Board has published some stunning video of the magical Mont Saint Michel: an Island once more at the recent high tides:
See more on Le Mont Saint-Michel
A magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery, the Mont-Saint-Michel counts among France’s most stunning sights. For centuries one of Europe’s major pilgrimage destinations, this holy mount is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is its breathtaking bay.
Le Mont Saint Michel was the start point (Grand Départ) for the 2016 Tour de France cycle race on 2 July 2016, , the first day’s route ending at Utah Beach, and the following day ending in nearby Cherbourg (50 Manche, Normandie) on 3 July 2016.
Find holiday accommodation near Le Mont Saint-Michel
France has always been keen on cycling – the annual Tour de France is probably the biggest cycle race in the world, covering over 3000km in 3 weeks each July, yet there are an increasing number of dedicated long-distance France cycle routes, mainly on dedicated cycleways, alongside rivers/canals etc;
- The Veloscenic Cycle Route from Paris to the Mont St Michel – over 450km of well-signposted cycle tracks, greenways and country roads, transporting you from Paris to the Mont St-Michel, passing by the Eiffel Tower, Chartres Cathedral, or even the Château de Versailles.
Velo Francette from Caen to la Rochelle – 615km from the English Channel to the Atlantic coast via Domfront (61 Orne, Normandie), Angers (49 Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire)
La Vélodyssée from Roscoff to Hendaye on the Spanish Border – 1400km along the Atlantic coast
And that’s not all:
From London, you can cycle to Paris thanks to the Avenue Verte cycle route. It connects London to Paris over 400km through a mosaic of landscapes. The Veloscenic and the Avenue Verte share the same end (or starting) point, at Notre-Dame de Paris !
The Loire à Vélo trail – the oldest French cycle route. Tourists can cycle along the Loire river over 800km The Loire à Vélo trail is part of the Eurovelo 6, which connects 10 countries over 3600km, from France to Romania! You’ll soon be able to cycle from the Veloscenic to the Loire à Vélo trail following the V44 from Alençon to Saumur or the V43 (Manche/Atlantique) from Domfront to Angers.
Tour de Manche 1200km from Cherbourg to Roscoff following the coastline of Brittany through the famous Pink Granite Coast and Cap Fréhel. It links up Brittany and Normandy to Dorset and Devon.
The Cathedral de Notre Dame in Rouen is illuminated at night Cathédrale de Lumière 1 June – 15 September 2019 – see www.rouentourisme.com
A new museum opened in Rouen (76 Seine Maritime, Normandie) in 2015 dedicated to the life of that iconic French heroine Joan of Arc: Historial Jeanne d’Arc 7, rue Saint-Romain, 76000 Rouen
In OCTOBER the city of Rouen celebrates Normandy’s food and gastronomy with the Fête du Ventre (Festival of the Stomach) 12 – 13 October 2019 in the Old Market quarter of the city with more than 180 producers of fruit(apples) and vegetables, cheeses, dairy, chocolates, pastries , alcoholic beverages and more…. – see www.rouentourisme.com
Rouen was where Jeanne d’Arc was tried by the English and then burned at the stake in 1431 It was also where a later trial by the French exonerated her posthumously and eventually beatified and canonized her (in 1920). She is one of the patron saints of France.
In Rouen, the memory of Joan of Arc lingers in the patrimony and landscape – the old Market Place, the Keep where she was threatened with torture and the archiepiscopal complex where some of the hearings of her trial were held.
It is perhaps Orléans (45 Loiret,Centre) which has a prior claim on her – she is known as “The Maid of Orléans”, as it was there that she played a major role in lifting the siege of the city of Orléans and ultimately to the restoration of the French King Charles VII.
Reims (51 Marne, Champagne-Ardenne) is another city with links to the Maid – being the place where Charles VII was crowned.
Historial Jeanne d’Arc 7, rue Saint-Romain, 76000 Rouen
Brittany Ferries offers routes from Portsmouth to Le Havre (about 50 miles by car or 50 minutes by train) and Caen (about 85 miles by car) or
DFDS goes from Newhaven to Dieppe (about 40 miles by car, or 50 minutes by train)
For more info on this Cathedral Hotel see Mercure Hotel Cathedrale
The town and port of Cherbourg (50 Manche, Normandie)sits at the top of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy and is an important cross-channel ferry port with crossings from Poole and Portsmouth with Brittany Ferries
The town was seriously damaged in the Second World War, being strategically important to both sides. It has a rich maritime history – including as one of the first places that the Titanic visited on its fateful journey. There is a Titanic exhibition in the famous Citè de la Mer (‘City of the Sea’), which is also home to the La Redoubtable, the world’s largest submarine open to visitors, and the Musée de la Libération (‘Liberation Museum’) inside the 19th century Fort du Roule that crowns the summit of the Montagne du Roule.
The coast around Cherbourg feature dramatic cliffs and between sandy beaches along the Cotentin Peninsula, producing a magnificent coastline. The Cap de la Hague, in particular, offers spectacular rugged cliffs and a rustic moorland landscape.
Cherbourg has lots of good restaurants and is a great place to try some of the tastes of Normandy, a region famous for its apples, cider, mussels and rich butters and cheeses. A visit into the heart of the Old Town will take you to the fresh fish market at Le Vieille Ville, or you can wander through the grand markets of the Place de Gaulle, for fresh produce, delicatessens and flower stalls.
an important and long-established Carnaval with a festive tradition theme
There are plenty of options for accommodation in Cherbourg including B&Bs, self-catering and hotels such as The Marine Hotel situated right on the waterfront overlooking the marina, yet close to the town centre.
In Calvados (14, Calvados, Normandie) between Caen and Lisieux is a unique example of a small French castle that has been miraculously preserved, the Chateau de Crèvecœur has survived to this day, practically intact – Surrounded by a moat, the castle has retained its original two-part layout. The complex includes some 16th Century half-timbered buildings, a herb-garden, a sheep-fold, a bread oven and a pottery kiln.
Located between Caen and Lisieux, the Château de Crèvecoeur-en-Auge is a perfectly preserved medieval site, where visitors can discover centuries of history in one of Normandy’s oldest castle enclosures.
The Château de Crèvecoeur-en-Auge is a fortified castle surrounded by water. The site has preserved its original layout: the mound where the manor house stands and the lower courtyard with the chapel and half-timbered farm buildings.
The Château de Crèvecoeur-en-Auge offers a varied programme of events all year round, including the famous “Médiévales” medieval festival in August.
3 exhibitions tell the story of the Middle Ages and the incredible adventure of the Schlumberger brothers (the family that owns the site).
4 – 11 August 2019 Medieval Festival
Les Médiévales offers an unforgettable journey in time! History brought to life! For eight days, some sixty enthusiasts bring the Crèvecœur estate back to life as it was back in the 15th century. Jousting tournaments, music and troubadours (minstrels), puppet shows and a Medieval Tavern have been some of the highlights of earlier years.
For more info see Chateau de Crèvecœur
In the village is a small auberge hotel – Auberge Du Cheval Blanc
For more info and to check availabilty at this Crèvecoeur-en-Auge auberge see Auberge Du Cheval Blanc
Property of the Schlumberger Museum Foundation since 1970, Crèvecœur castle houses an exhibition focussing on the industrial adventures of the Schlumberger brothers, Conrad and Marcel. Born in Alsace, it was nevertheless in the Pays d’Auge that these genius inventors carried out their research which was to revolutionize mineral prospecting and the exploitation of oil deposits throughout the world.
The Castle – A unique example of a small French castle that has been miraculously preserved, Crèvecœur has survived to this day, practically intact. The inner bailey is protected by the moat, the motte and its curtain wall dating back to the 12th century, slashed with arrow slits. The only way across to the inner bailey, and thus the lord’s dwelling-place, is a single footbridge. The importance of farming is immediately obvious. There is a farm, a dovecote and a barn in the outer bailey, forming a very fine example of regional constructions built using timber panelling. Originally protected by a talus topped with a wooden palisade, it was the place where villagers could take refuge in the event of an attack. It recounts the medieval history of Normandy, vibrant, moving, captivating! Almost ten centuries of history, recorded in documents and objects having survived to the present day, since the 12th century, which was an auspicious period of donations to abbeys, through to the publication in the 19th century of a book relating the history of the Englishmen’s treasure.
There are a selection of “medieval” gardens in central France which could be worth a visit to explore both history and horticulture: See our map of French Gardens
Jardins du château d’Ainay-le-Vieil at Ainay-le-Vieil (18 Cher, Centre-Val-de-Loire) just off the A71 autoroute north of St Amand-Montrond in the shadow of an impressive 15th Century fortified castle, known as the “Petit Carcassonne“. The garden also has a rose garden (roseraie) due to its turrets and roofs. (open 1 April – 15 November)
Jardin médiéval de Bois Richeux at Pierres (28 Eure-et-Loir, Centre) between Chartres and Dreux to the west of Paris. “A green oasis on an “ocean of corn”, the garden of Bois Richeux is a manor garden from Middle-Ages. An interpretation of the enclosed garden as described in the XIIIth century. Simple aromatics and ancient vegetables are cultivated to feed the body and the mind. (open Summer only)
Jardins du Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan at Maisonnais (18 Cher, Centre-Val-de-Loire) between Montluçon and Bourges. A former monastery and listed historical monument, the Prieuré d’Orsan was established in 1107 by Robert d’Arbrissel as an off-shoot of the Abbey of Fontevraud. The Orsan Gardens are a true architectural gem inspired by medieval tapestries and illuminations. It enjoys an idyllic location in the Berry region, Central France. Brainchild of two architects, Sonia Lesot & Patrice Taravella, these remarkable Gardens combine symbolic landscape creation and organic crop production.(open Easter – All Saints Day)
Abbaye de Thiron-Gardais at Thiron-Gardais (28 Eure-et-Loir, Centre-Val-de-Loire) just north of Chateaudun not far from the A11 autoroute – a medieval monastery on the pilgrim route to Mont St Michel – this is not one, but 10 themed gardens including herbs, vegetables, aromatic plants, rhodedendrons and a rose garden! and in October there is a Autumn Festival (Festival d’Automne).(open May-October)
Jardins du Chateau du Rivau at Lemerle (37 Indre-et-Loire, Centre-Val-de-Loire) near Chinon. The Chateau du Rivau offers fairytale gardens. art sculpture and its numerous activities. In a whimsical and fun environement. With its authentic medieval gardens and splendid lavender against the white walls of the Chateau, some stunning vistas are offered.(open May- September)
other French Gardens to visit:
- Jardins artistiques de Drulon (18 Cher)
- Parc floral d’Apremont (18 Cher)
- Le Jardin de Marie (18 Cher)
- Jardins du domaine de Georges Sand (36 Indre)
- Château d’Azay-le-Ferron (36 Indre)
- Château de Bouges (36 Indre)
- les jardins du château de Valmer (37 Indre-et-Loire)
- Chateau de la Bourdaisiere (37 Indre-et-Loire)
- L’arboretum de la Martinière (37 Indre-et-Loire)
- Chateau de Villandry (37 Indre-et-Loire)
- Pagode de Chanteloup (37 Indre-et-Loire)
- Château de Cheverny (41 Loir-et-Cher)
- Château de Beauregard (41 Loir-et-Cher)
- Château de Talcy (41 Loir-et-Cher)
- Plessis Sasnières (41 Loir-et-Cher)
- Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire (41 Loir-et-Cher)
- Arboretum National des Barres (45 Loiret)
- Parc Floral de La Source (45 Loiret)
- Arboretum des Grandes Bruyères (45 Loiret)
- Château de Chamerolles (45 Loiret)
- Jardins de Roquelin (45 Loiret)
- Chateau de Vendeuvre (14 Calvados, Normandy)
- Jardins Henri le Sidaner (60 Oise, Hauts de France)
- Abbaye de Chaalis (60 Oise, Hauts de France)
- Domaine de Rayol (83 Var, Provence PACA)
- Les Chemins de la Rose (49 Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire)
The Chateau de Vendeuvre plays host to a tulip festival (Festival de la Tulipe) 1-30 April 2020 which should be a great celebration of Spring – especially after such a long winter.
This elegant 18th Century chateau, which also houses a collection of miniature furniture and has some famous gardens is open to the public each afternoon 2pm – 6pm – and will be showing at least 30,000 spring bulbs: tulips, daffodils, narcissi, crocuses etc.
It promises to be a riot of colour and you’ll be able to admire some rare specimens too.
Admire a flowery carpet of crocus in the water surprise gardens. Hasty tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths, and narcissus compose this border.
Thousands of tulips of various colors welcome you to the shell grotto. At the foot of wild cherries in flowers, see irregularly cut tulips with never two exactly similar flowers.
Vendeuvre is situated south of Caen (14 Calvados, Normandie) near Falaise. The Chateau is also open for visits to the house, gardens and museum May – September.
For more info see www.vendeuvre.com
For accommodation locally including hotels, gites, B&B including the B&B and self-catering at La Ferme de l’Oudon which is in the heart of the Pays d’Auge and offers an all-year indoor heated pool – just 4km away!
For more info on this Normandy B&B see La Ferme de l’Oudon
Brittany Ferries is to launch a new budget service on its routes from Portsmouth to Le Havre and Santander in Spain.
From 25 March 2014 the new “no-frills” service could provide budget conscious travellers to western and central France with an alternative to the short-sea crossings from Dover/Folkestone – cutting mileage considerably and reducing the need for overnight accommodation en route.
There will be a weekend service between Portsmouth and Santander in northern Spain and five return crossings between Portsmouth and Le Havre, one of which will be freight-only.
Branded Brittany Ferries économie, this new product is designed to appeal to those who wish to travel to France or Spain at a very reasonable fare without the cruise-style experience normally provided by Brittany Ferries.
Nonetheless, customers can expect good quality French catering on board (but with a limited choice) served by bilingual French crew. The cabins will all have en-suite facilities, but without carpets, and there will be a lounge where seats can be reserved on overnight crossings. Pet owners will welcome the 12 pet-friendly cabins and there will be two specially equipped cabins for disabled passengers. Entertainment will be restricted to a movie lounge.
One way fares for a car plus two this spring will start at just £79 to France and £169 (including reclining seats) to Spain.
These crossings maybe a bit slower (e.g. 4hrs Portsmouth – Le Havre).
The traditional Brittany Ferries crossings do tend to have great standards of food and accommodation compared to the more “functional” short sea crossings and do offer a more civilised and relaxed way to Normandie, Brittany and western France – so that your holiday can feel like it has begun as soon as the ferry docks.
The rather sedate coastal resort of Deauville (14 Calvados, Normandie) hosts an annual American Films Festival (Festival du Cinéma Américain)
6 – 15 September 2019.
The Festival du Cinéma Américain de Deauville is a film competition showcasing American productions. The seaside resort welcomes a glittering parade of celebrities and filmmakers. The program includes an interesting mix of big studio productions, indie films, shorts and documentaries.
The French have a rather schizophrenic approach to Hollywood- often disparaging it for its sometimes reckless pursuit of profit and the box office, and comparing less well against the supposedly more “artistic” and philosophical films made by the French. Many US films are dubbed into French, whereas few French films are screened outside France – a notable exception being the Oscar-winning silent movie “The Artist” Yet there is a large minority of the French who love all things American, especially their movies and movie stars. It is no accident that other than the Oscars etc, France hosts one of the glitziest Film Festivals in Cannes each year. Deauville is an elegant resort with a famous Casino and is popular with well-heeled Parisians being about 2 hrs from Paris. It is known as “queen of the Norman beaches”!
For more info on the Deauville American Films Festival see www.festival-deauville.com
A few kilometres outside the town in rolling countryside is the Hotel Les Manoirs de Tourgéville set in beautiful parkland and offering many comforts including large indoor heated pool and in addition to the main building there are five timber Norman manors.
For more info and to check availabilty at this Normandy hotel see Les Manoirs de Tourgéville
There looks to be some healthy competition on the western cross-channel crossing from Portsmouth – Le Havre, when
go head to head. Since P&O Ferries pulled out of this route a few years ago, competition has been lacking – with the only other alternatives being the short-sea crossing from Dover – Calais or Brittany Ferries’ longer crossings to Caen or St Malo or Roscoff further west.
DFDS now operate the Newhaven – Dieppe route (4 hours)
Beyond the obvious advantages for those living in the South or SouthWest of England, this is also an attractive route for travellers to or from the Midlands and North, as it avoids London and the M25, whilst the A43 and A34 south from the M1 at Northampton via Oxford is, despite not being a motorway, dual carriageway most of its length and generally less busy – although the Oxford By-Pass (A34) can cause a few delays on rush hour. The other alternative is the M42/M40 from Leicester to Oxford, but this can get quite busy around Birmingham! On the French side, Le Havre is about 2 hours from Paris on the A13 – or if you are heading to the southwest you can avoid Paris altogether!
It is a few years since I have been in Le Havre, and never particularly liked the often “brutalist” post-war architecture – but maybe I am wrong – as….
In July 2005, UNESCO added the Le Havre city centre, rebuilt by Auguste Perret, to its World Heritage List. Perret was a major 20th century architect and a “poet in concrete” who was both traditionalist and innovative in his approach. He successfully rose to the challenge before him, seeking inspiration in architectural tradition and drawing on his own strong desire for modernisation to reinvent a unique, open city centre that is harmonious and resolutely innovative across an area of 133 hectares. Le Havre city centre is the first 20th century urban settlement in Europe to be added to the World Heritage List.
The delights of Rouen are within easy reach!
The resort of Deauville ( 14 Calvados, Normandie) holds a spectacular New Years Eve Parade for young and old alike
From 5.30pm in the Place Yves Saint Laurent the grande parade de Deauville is a floodlit parade of floats and balloons and is a fine close to the old Year.
As every year, Deauville is celebrating the last day of the year with a street parade : from 5:30pm starting from the Place Yves Saint Laurent, the artist company Les Quidams has imagined a show featuring 4m-tall giants meeting the huge flying fishes of the Aérosculpture Company, thereby creating a kind of magic sea in the city…
Then you can start the New Year with the organised swim in the sea on New Years Day (1 January ) with the Bain du 1 Janvier!! (12 noon) – hot drinks provided for bathers!
Stay on a few days and go horse-racing at the winter meeting of the Courses Hippiques.
For more info on New Years Eve at Deauville see www.deauville.org/fr/
In Deauville stay at the L’Augeval – Hôtel de Charme in a pair of manor houses, just a 10-minute walk from the beach!
For more info and to check availabilty at this Deauville Hotel see L’Augeval
There is an annual cider festival at Le Sap (61 Orne, Normandie), not far from Vimoutiers and Camembert country! 11-12 November 2017 – Fête du Cidre à l’ancienne
- Traditional production of cider with specific tools of the 18th century usually exhibited in the museum “from the apple to the Calvados” (apple brandy)
- Traditional cider distillation to get Calvados thanks to itinerant stills
- Market of local products and demonstrations of local crafts
- Musical atmosphere and refreshment stall (to eat and drink)
So this is the time to indulge in those classic Normandy flavours – cheese, cider – not forgetting cream and Calvados! more info on the Festival see www.normandie-tourisme.fr
Also nearby there is the Route du Cidre with its itineries through the cider country of the Pays d’Auge
Every 5 years Rouen (76 Seine-Maritime, Normandie) and the Seine hosts the Armada, l’Armada de Rouen 6-16 June 2019.
also Normania – a medieval festival held in the Parc des Expositions 9-10 February 2019 – with an evening entertainment , and a market which will offer everything from traditional armour to medieval cheese!? Performances include Norman story-telling and music from the pirate-inspired band – see www.parcexporouen.com
The highlight will include many tall ships such as the Belem, the Thalassa,and the JR Tolkien, Millions of visitors are once again expected along the quays of the port of Rouen. They will enjoy concerts, gigantic fireworks and plenty of other entertainments. And of course, you can visit the 50 or so vessels present free of charge.. The finest and largest sailing ships, the most modern warships and many other outstanding ships, coming from all over the world, will have sailed up the 120 kilometres of the River Seine through the beautiful landscapes of Normandy.
From Le Havre to Paris, the Armada has become a major unifying event along the River Seine.
Surrounded by 2 large national parks – the Normandie-Maine (Parc naturel régional Normandie-Maine) and Perche (Parc Naturel Regional du Perche) Alencon is a great place to visit The town is particularly proud of its unique lace-making traditions, listed by UNESCO as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ and celebrated at the local fine arts museum, and its many extraordinary women. As the one-time capital of a small duchy, this town has a fascinating history.
There is a Christmas Market Marché de Noël to lure you to Normandy in December – at Alençon (61 Orne, Normandie)
6 – 8 December and 13 – 15 December 2019
Alençon Christmas Market has up to 50 stalls selling Christmas goodies, New Orleans style music and dancing with a group called “the red onions”! (Les Oignons Rouges), entertainments for Children, a Gospel Choir and a Father Christmas – the streets of the town will be most festive! Guest of Honour in 2014 was Les Landes (Aquitaine)
For more info see en.normandie-tourisme.fr
For more info on this stylish B&B see Château de Sarceaux
Alençon in Lower Normandy is barely known to foreign tourists, yet it is a delight for those who enjoy getting away from the usual tourist traps to see a bit of “real” France: a little gem in Lower Normandy untainted by tacky tourist shops, but justly proud of its rich history, architecture, produce and traditions.
Many a motor sport fan passes Alençon en route to the Le Mans 24 Hours or the GP Motor Bike races, just 25 miles to the south of Alençon, but all that most of them see is the frankly boring and uninspiring Route Nationale (was the N138, now the D338) which bypasses the real town centre with its architecture dating from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
Pity for them, because Alençon is a super little Normandy town still unspoilt by tourism, but with much to offer the discerning traveller. Our kind of place!!! visitnormandy
In the heart of Normandy, famous for apples, cider, cream and cheese there is an Apple Festival – Foire de la pomme in October – see Vimoutiers
In the town of Vimoutiers (14 Calvados,Normandie) there will be numerous events where you can get to know the different varieties of apples, buy some apple tarts for charity, go on a photographic safari around the orchards, sample cider, Calvados and Pommeau ( a blend of Apple Juice and Calvados Apple Brandy) etc …
The Pays d’Auge is the most emblematic area of Calvados and produces some of the best cheese and cider. There is an established Cider Route which you can follow and included several cider distilleries – e.g.
Visit a distillery on the Cider Route in the Pays d’Auge, between Caen and Lisieux in Calvados.
Visit the Calvados Dupont distillery – Discover the particularities of farm-produced cider and unique triple fermented cider. To close your visit, enjoy a taste of cider, calvados, pommeau, calvados cream and some home-made specialities: Cuvée Colette, Calvados Reserve and Givre!
Guided tour in French, English or Italian lasts: 15 minutes.
Free distillery and cellar visits all year round. Guided tours (subject to a fee) at 3pm from 1st May to 31st August (tour lasts: 1 hour).
Of course whilst there you can buy and try the little local cheese – Camembert!
For more info see www.normandie-tourisme.fr
Kite Festival at Dieppe (76 Seine-Maritime, Normandie) – the channel port hosts an international kite flying festival
8 – 16 September 2018 – next in 2020!
Every 2 years, there are eight hectares of lawn between the city and the sea which is available to the kite flyers and the public. This exceptional area forms a kind of natural amphitheatre.
See the best teams and acrobatic kite pilots, the best creative artists, but also a wide range of traditional kites.
This free festival allows you to learn how to build kites with workshops, and flying kites at sessions supervised by professionals. Specific activities are organized for the children…
The Festival International de Cerf-volant is held on the beaches at Dieppe (76 Seine-Maritime, Normandie)
For 2012 the general theme was “The five elements: Treasures of Humanity”, whilst the theme of the Artistic Kite Contest was”The 5 Elements: Air, Space, Earth, Water and Fire.”
The United Kingdom was the “guest of honour”!
Cerf Volants is also the term for Stag Beetles in french, literally meaning “flying stags” .
Dieppe is an impressive Channel port with an inner harbour for small and sailing boats, whilst the Cross-Channel ferries from Newhaven dock just a short distance along the coast. There is a fish market and a good selection of interesting shops in the old town.
For more info on the Kite Festival at Dieppe see the organiser’s website
Sail Direct from Newhaven–Dieppe with DFDS
This is very French – a snail farm in the middle of Normandie!
Situated in the Normandie-Maine Natural Regional Park near Alençon (61 Orne, Basse-Normandie) the Escargot du Patis welcomes visitors by appointment to see around the farm and learn more about the farming of this delicacy as part of the Bienvenue à la Ferme scheme
3 – 13 April 2020 offers 10 days across France when craft studios, workshops etc open their doors to the public with les Journées Européens des Métiers d’Art (European Artistic Craft Days)
For this new edition, the National Institute of Arts and Crafts mobilizes the whole France (metropolitan France and overseas) on for a weekend in Spring to discover a new theme
On the program: workshops openings, collaborations with museums and heritage sites, training centers open days, exhibitions, shows , workshops, thematic tours, etc.
In previous years the European Artistic Crafts Days have highlighted the 217 arts and crafts, their richness and diversity in the areas of conservation-restoration and creation.
Just head for the Crafts in France website at www.journeesdesmetiersdart.com select your region or département and find out what’s on where you are! (available early March)
Amongst the events in previous years have been some of the “most beautiful villages in France”(Plus Beaux Villages de France):
- Angles-sur-L’anglin (86 Vienne, Nouvelle Aquitaine) – embroidery
- Seillans (83 Var, Provence PACA) – corn-making
- Le Bec-Hellouin (27 Eure, Normandie) – pottery
- La Bastide-Clairence (64 Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Nouvelle Aquitaine) -sculpture etc
Now available: The Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France
Lisieux (14 Calvados, Normandie) holds it traditional Christmas market on the place Mitterand from 13 – 15 December 2019.
Don’t miss the choirs singing and the arrival of Father Christmas himself. More than seventy stands sell gifts, food and other Christmas provisions.
Famous for its brilliant white basilica, the annual Christmas mass takes places in the crypt of Saint Theresa’s Basilica at 9.30pm on Christmas Eve.
Lisieux is famous worldwide thanks to Thérèse Martin, better known as Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus and the town is considered to be the second most important town of pilgrimage in France, with 700,000 people visiting the Basilica, constructed in Saint Theresa’s honour, every year. The Basilica is also the largest church built in France in the 20th century.
Within easy reach of both Caen and Le Havre‘s ferry ports (less than an hour) and 150 km from Paris.
More information from the Lisieux and Pays d’Auge commune tourist office:www.lisieux-tourisme.com/
By train to Lisieux with Rail Europe
The traditional Christmas market and festive events in Rouen (76 Seine-Maritime, Normandie) take place from 27 November – 31 December 2019 – closed 25 December around the Cathedral (place de la Cathedrale). In previous years there has also been an ice rink (patinoire) and a Big Wheel (Grande Roue)
There is also a Grand Parade in the city on Sunday 8 December 2019
An ideal destination for a short break via Caen or Le Havre – with
For ice skating fans, the outdoor rink is not to be missed.
For more info see www.rouentourisme.com
By Train to Rouen with Rail Europe
Rouen, beside the river Seine, is Normandy’s cultured, historic, gastronomic capital. Monet’s canvases of the cathedral have made it the best-loved building in town, but many other glories stand out, including fine museums,art galleries and the church dedicated to the tragic Joan of Arc.