The Normandy region
She is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country – with charming seaside resorts such as Deauville, Trouville-sur-Mer and Étretat, wide beaches, lush meadows with spotted cows. Normandy owes its name to the Normans, an ethnic group that developed in the Middle Ages from Vikings and local residents.
The region with 3.3 million inhabitants in the north of France is so buzzing with history that archaeological excavations have been taking place here since 1685. Romantics love the area because of its palaces and castles, culinary fans appreciate the three Norman Cs: camembert, calvados and cider.
Record-time hub at Klosterberg Mont-Saint-Michel
The maximum difference between the ebb and flow at the Mont-Saint-Michel monastery mountain is 14.5 meters. Such a spectacularly increased water level only occurs every 18 years when the sun, moon and earth are in a line. Most recently, this was the case in March 2015 – even the steel footbridge that was built at the time and connects Mont-Saint-Michel to the mainland was flooded.
760 meters to the Unesco World Heritage Site
If you are planning your vacation for the long term and want to experience the next super flood live: The next star series with their water-attracting primal forces will take place in 2033.
The Mont-Saint-Michel is a built-up rock island, currently around 30 inhabitants live in the village around the monastery, which towers over the island. It goes back to the 11th century, until completion it was built over 500 years at the abbey. The iconic rock is one of the most photographed places in France.
Photos of the alabaster coast on Instagram
Because of its light color, it is called the Alabaster Coast. Your most spectacular section is at the seaside resort of Étretat – there the white rock arch Porte d’Aval and the 70 meter high rock needle Aiguille attract tourists and, increasingly, Instagramer. At low tide you can walk between the needle and the bow.
The first seaside resort in France
The neighboring Brits in particular love Normandy, they still represent the largest group of visitors to this day. In 1824, the Duchess of Berry, in a long wool dress and with boots, took her first official swim in the sea off Dieppe, accompanied by 21 gun salutes.
The first French seaside resort was opened, and in 1828 an English-language travel guide called “Romantic Normandy” was published.
Relics on the beach are reminiscent of World War II
This part of the Norman Atlantic beach can feel as smooth as the other side of the ocean. Which is due to place names like Omaha Beach, Utah Beach and Gold Beach.
The US Army, British, Canadian, Polish and French troops landed here on D-Day, June 6, 1944 – the beginning of the well-prepared invasion of the Western Allies in Wehrmacht-occupied Normandy. The landing heralded the end of the Second World War.
To this day, bunkers of the former German “Atlantic Wall” protrude like gloomy giants from the sand. A route inaugurated in 1947 begins at Utah Beach (photo) and marks the 1146-kilometer route of the US Army from here through northern France and Luxembourg to Belgium, marked by red, white and blue milestones: the “Voie de la Liberté” .
Calvados and cider are specialties
Calvados is an integral part of the land of ten million apple trees. Originally, the apple brandy was a disinfectant stomach cleaner (40 and more percent alcohol), which was tipped after eating raw, possibly not completely fresh fish.
Traditionally, calvados are also served before the main course. If you like it less high percentage, drink cider, sparkling apple wine.
“I tell people that my breasts were made in Normandy, from butter and creme fraîche”
That said Laetitia Casta, actress and model. With her ironic saying, Casta, born in 1978 in Pont-Audemer in Normandy, refers to the excellent conditions prevailing in her home country for dairy products, which of course includes the soft cheese of the same name invented in Camembert at the beginning of the 18th century.
The warmth of the mainland and the cold of the English Channel create a microclimate in Normandy that allows a particularly large number of spicy grasses and herbs to thrive, to the delight of the Norman cows, whose milk is particularly aromatic. The Beurre d’Isigny from Lower Normandy in the south of the region has been famous since the 16th century – the butter, of which 4000 tons are produced here every year, is considered by gourmets and top chefs to be the best in the world.
Quirky, record-breaking, typical: You can find more parts of our regional geography series here.
This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home regularly.