Normandy | what to see, where to stay

American Cemetery at Omaha Beach - photo (c) 2014 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

A quick trip from Paris by car or train, Normandy is a destination to consider when visiting France — especially in the summer, as it will not be as hot and crowded as Provence and the Cote d'Azur. Normandy has a lot to offer — history, food, and gorgeous scenery.

Honfleur is one of the most picturesque towns that I've ever seen. Wander down to the harbor before dawn to get some absolutely amazing pictures of the reflections in the soft morning light, and take a look at the church and bell tower in the center of town. Lots of restaurants in town, or just enjoy some moule frites while seated at a table overlooking the harbor. We stayed at Ferme Saint Simeon, easily the best hotel in town… and a member of Virtuoso. Just a 10 minute walk outside the village, it has a fabulous Relais & Chateaux restaurant.

The Bayeux Tapestry, located in the village of Bayeux, is a remarkable embroidered cloth about 230 feet long with 50 scenes depicting the story of how William the Conquerer became the King of England. Visitors are given a hand-held device that describes what you are seeing as you look at the embroidery… but very worthwhile if you become familiar with the history in advance of your visit.

The American Cemetery is an awe-inspiring sight with more than 9,000 crosses and stars of David marking the graves of the brave soldiers who gave their lives in the D-Day invasion. While the sight itself is moving, a great tour guide can add an extra dimension to your experience. Stay at Chateau de la Cheneviere, an elegant country experience just 15 minutes from the cemetery.

Bell Tower in Honfleur, France - (c) 2014 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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