The name Normandy comes from the digestion of the words “North man” (in Scandinavian languages). In fact, the region gets its name from the Vikings (north men) who settled there over a millennium ago. Since, Normandy has seen its fair share of action. What are some of its tourist attractions?
Normandy’s beaches are the historic site of the allies’ Operation Overlord. D-Day has become one of the most famous scenes of modern history, and justly: it marks an incredible victory in a conflict against a decided evil. The term Omaha beach sounds familiar, but in fact, there are also Utah, Sword, Gold, and Juno beaches. You can walk around the sites, where the craters still mark the ground between the bunkers. The American military cemetery is also worth the visit.
The World War II Museums
Given this history, the Normandy region is packed with museums devoted to the conflict, focusing especially on the French or Western European front. Among the most famous are the Museum of the Battle of Normandy, the Musée du Débarquement, the Memorial of Caen, and the brand new Overlord Museum. Admittedly these are tourist attractions, and so the museums are bound to feature English-language labels in each exhibit.
The Bayeux Tapestry
Often considered the first graphic novel, woven in the 1070’s. The tapestry of Bayeux is an embroidered cloth almost 70 meters long, which tells the story of the Norman conquest of England. It features William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex and later King of England, and culminates in the Battle of Hastings. Its unique medieval aesthetic makes it artistically, as well as historically, indispensable.
Looking for a different way to spend your day? Cider and juices are a regional specialty, as well as the local hard liquor, Calvados, and their bottling sites are favorited tourist attractions. A visit to the brewery is great fun, even before the tasting. Enjoying some cool drinks is a great way to take a break from the weighty history of Normandy and still enjoy its uniqueness.