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 Imagine a distinctive lifestyle in Normandy.

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History and Normandy :

pommeChurches & Abbeys

The history of Normandy is closely bound up with that of its abbeys, which, from the 5th century onwards, enjoyed enormous importance politically and economically as well as spiritually, intellectually and artistically.

Of the hundred and twenty in existence in the days of their greatest glory about sixty have survived down to the present day: their buildings represent an architectural heritage of rare wealth and beauty.

The two orders which together took pride of place in Normandy were those of the Benedictines (FECAMP, LESSAY, LONLAY and the MONT ST. MICHEL) and the Premonstratensians, who are said to have inherited their rule from St. Augustine (ARDENNE and LA LUCERNE).

A few abbeys are still functioning as monastic institutions, the best known being at LE BEC HELLOUIN (which has associations with William the Conqueror), ST. WANDRILLE, SOLIGNY (Trappists) and MONDAYE; others, such as JUMIEGES or HAMBYE, are impressive ruins, or - as at ST-MARTIN-DE-BOSCHERVILLE or CERISY-LA-FORET - have nothing left except what are now parish churches.

A few former abbey buildings now accommodate the local town hall, as at CAEN or ROUEN.

With such a galaxy of abbeys, cathedrals and greater or lesser churches Normandy can pride itself on possessing one of the largest and finest collections of stained glass in the whole country and on being one of France's foremost regions for sacred art in general.

The Norman architecture peculiar to Normandy itself, England and Wales, South Italy and Sicily and the Near East is exemplified at its most accomplished in such exceptional masterpieces as the cathedrals of ROUEN, EVREUX, BAYEUX, COUTANCES and SEES or the older portions of the abbey church on the MONT-ST-MICHEL.

for more information about churches & abbeys : www.abbayes-normandes.com

pommeChateaux

The Region possesses a splendid array of castles, Renaissance châteaux and mansions, ranging from the forbidding medieval fortress to the hospitable halftimbered country residence with its thatched roof.

The age of those Dukes of Normandy who were also kings of England has left behind it some impressive masterpieces of military architecture, such as the castles at CAEN and FALAISE (Calvados), the Château Gaillard at LES ANDELYS and the castles of GISORS and HARCOURT (Eure).

Renaissance and post-Renaissance residences open to visitors include the châteaux at BALLEROY, FONTAINE-HENRY, LANTHEUIL, ST.GERMAIN-DE-LIVET (Calvados) ; BIZY and CHAMP-DE-BATAILLE (Eure) ; TOURLAVILLE (Manche); BOURG-ST.LÉONARD , CARROUGES, MORTREE and SASSY (Orne), and BAILLEUL and ETELAN (Seine-Maritime); also the Hôtel de Beaumont at VALOGNES (Manche), the 17 th Century stud farm buildings at LE HARAS-DU-PIN (Orne) and the Manoir d'Ango at VARENGEVILLE (Seine-Maritime).

The castles or châteaux now housing museums include those at CAEN, CREVECOEUR-EN-AUGE and PONTECOULANT (Calvados); BEAUMESNIL and VASCOEUIL (Eure); BRICQUEBEC (Manche); FLERS and TESSE-LA-MADELEINE ( O r n e ) ; a n d DIEPPE, EU and MARTAINVILLE and the Castle of Robert the Devil in the Seine-Maritime. Some of these historic buildings house exhibits associated with famous men, as at FERVAQUES (Henri IV and Châteaubriand), VASCOEUIL (Michelet) or MIROMESNIL (Guy de Maupassant).

pommeDDay beaches : The second word war

Followers of history will know of the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy.  Sadly some 20,000 young men died, and many are buried, here in Normandy.  The Normandy Tourist Board provide Routes through the Historical Area of the Battle of Normandy. Visit the museum at Arromanches, the Caen Memorial and the many War Cemeteries.  Visit the Battle of Normandy Memorial Musuem at Bayeux. Tel 02 33 2 31 51 46 90.

for more information consult : www.dday-guide.com or www.memorial-caen.fr

pommeFamous norman writers

Gustave Flaubert (1821-80): was alternately delighted and exasperated with the "bourgeois" way of life in his native Normandy.  His family home attached to the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, and his pavilion at nearby Croisset, can be visited. Each has a stuffed green parrot.    Born in 1821 in Rouen, he was famous for the novel "Madame Bovary" which took him five years to complete.
Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America  resided in a beautiful manor house where his study is preserved to this day. 

pommeParks and gardens

If there is a land designed for gardens, its got to be Normandy. The light from the skies and the mild climate are just two of the factors which contribute to the subtle and enchanting allure of the gardens.

The parks and gardens of Normandy, whether botanical, landscape or historic have become important points of reference. Connoisseurs as well as novices will be enthralled by the wealth of different species as well as the beauty of the individual sites.

You will find 39 sites in www.gardensnormandysussex.com, all members of the association, which have been selected not only for their beauty but also for their hospitality. Visitors can discover a wide range of surroundings and secret walks which change daily according to the weather, plant cycle and with a little help from man.

for more information about parks and gardens : http://www.gardensnormandysussex.com

pommeGastronomy

The people of Normandy take their eating very seriously indeed. Norman recipes are usually quite simple, but as they make use of local dairy produce and apples, the fresh natural flavours come through in a vast range of dishes.

The sea is as bountiful as the region's orchards, and the Norman table boasts such specialities as Dieppe sole with Normandy oysters.

From the delicate flavour of saltmarsh lamb to creamy chicken "à la Vallée d'Auge" and duck "à la Rouennaise", the excellence of Normandy meat is matched only by that of its cheeses: Neufchâtel, Pont-L'Evêque, Livarot (otherwise known as the "Colonel"), and the round Camembert of Marie Harel, these evocative names are famous world-wide.

The creamy omelettes of the Mont Saint Michel, the Vire andouille sausages, tripes cooked "à la mode de Caen", the "boudin" sausages of Mortagne, and the recent introduction to the region of foie gras, all these delicacies and more entice lovers of good food to the area.

Round off a memorable meal with the local desserts: "bourdelots" or "teurgoule", or such sweets as Isigny toffees or apple sugars from Rouen.

Wash the whole meal down with cider, still or sparkling, dry or sweet, or perry, with an occasional pause for a shot of calvados apple brandy to clear the palate: the famous "trou normand". The very essence of apples is distilled into calvados, and pommeau.

Finally, sit back, savour the moment, and enjoy a glass of Benedictine liqueur.

for more information consult : www.normandy-tourism.org

pommeSport and activities

Angling
There are miles of first category waters filled with trout and many lakes for large carps. A Fishing License is required, but easily obtainable at a bait and tackle shop. 

Walking
 The well-established Randonnée Network of trails covers some of the most spectacular scenery in Normandy with its numbered “GR” routes. While at the other end of the scale, local tourist offices will be able to suggest interesting circuits around their particular town or village. 
Contact : Fédération française de randonnée pédestre: tel. 0033 144 899 393

Horse-riding The horse is king in Normandy. Whether you fancy a guided trek across the sand on the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, or an evening trot through open countryside, you will find many local stables and equestrian centres happy to accommodate  you. 
Contact : Comité national de tourisme équestre: tel. 0033 153 261 550  

Golf

Normandy has almost 40 courses, which are as varied as the landscapes they occupy

Cycling  Follow the pre-planned routes or take to the back roads; there is very little traffic to bother you. 
Contact : Fédération française de cyclotourisme: tel. 0033 156 208 888

For the More Adventurous…

Bungy Jumping
Contact :Viaduc de la Souleuvre : tel. 0033 231 663 166

Gliding  
Contact :
Lessay : tel. 0033 233 464 422/ 0033 233 048 33
Vauville: tel. 0033 233 527 772

Hot-air Ballooning
« les Vents d’Ouest » (Manche) : tel. at Les Veys 0033 233 424 908
Montgolfières Clubs de l’Orne (Orne) : tel. at Moulins-sur-Orne 0033 608 728 841
Orne Montgolfière : tel. at La Ferté Macé 0033 233 373 308

Parachuting

The Para-club de la Manche: tel. at Orglandes 0033 233 410 741
Centre école régionale de parachutisme de Normandie Granville Baie du Mont Saint Michel  tel. 0033 233 917 602.
www.normandieparachutisme.fr
Abeille-parachutisme (Calvados) : tel. 0033 231 897 766. www.abeille-parachutisme.com