Page 100

L I F ES TYLE

I

C O V E R

S T ORY

I

GOU RM E T

I

A CCO MMO DAT IO N

Above left: Etretat, flanked by dramatic cliffs that inspired the Impressionist painters (photo © Claude Coquilleau/Fotolia.com). Right: The harbour town of Honfleur sits at the opening of the Seine River (photo: © Pierre Janson). Opposite: The UNESCO heritage-listed Mont Saint Michel (photo: © Thierry Seni).

A lasting IMPRESSION A LONGTIME FONT OF INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS AND ARTISTS, NORMANDY IS THE HOME OF MONT SAINT MICHEL, APPLE CIDER, IMPRESSIONIST ART AND MUCH MORE. BY ELLA LOMBARDI

N

ormandy is where rolling green fields meet chalky white cliffs high above the wild seas below. Fill your lungs with sea air or mix it with the high rollers of debonair Deauville. Shop at the fish markets at Trouville, or experience a somber side of modern history at the D-Day beaches. The sight of Mont Saint Michel rising from the ocean will stop you in your tracks; the scent of apple blossoms will intoxicate as you follow the Seine past medieval cities and castles. Normandy is the dairy heart of France. Camembert was created here. But its coastal location also makes sumptuous seafood a must. Pair the two and you get the classic moules a la crème Normande (Normandy-style mussels with cream), best served with the world-famous cider. Chic boutiques sit alongside half-timbered houses and the Gothic cathedral in Rouen, and the centre of Caen is a short drive from the historic cobblestones of Bayeux.

MONT SAINT MICHEL Twice featured in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, the medieval village and 1100-year-

98

MAGAZINE

old abbey Mont Saint Michel is visited by 3.2 million people each year. The relentless onslaught of visitors, along with sediment buildup and encroaching salt marshes, had threatened to landlock the island. In 2005, however, an ambitious 10-year project was begun to restore Mont Saint Michel’s unparalleled marine setting. Next year, the long-awaited completion of a footbridge leading to Mont Saint Michel will allow the tides to flow unhindered once again, returning this wonder of the western world to its former glory.

EN PLEIN AIR Normandy is almost synonymous with Impressionism, such is its connection with the genre. It was in 1872 that Claude Monet painted ‘Impression, Sunrise’, depicting early morning fog in Normandy’s Le Havre. Defying classical art structure with scenes of daily life and landscapes, Monet and his contemporaries launched the Impressionism painting movement. Now the region has a festival dedicated to the genre, and the Impressionist Festival of Normandy (www.normandie-impressioniste.eu)

is being held for the second time (April 27 – September 29, 2013). Look forward to five major exhibitions, to take place in Rouen, Giverny, Le Havre and Caen. This year’s theme is water, and more than 600 exhibitions, concerts and other events will be staged across the region.

70 YEARS SINCE D-DAY Visit any stretch of the Norman coast with beaches that have code names such as Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, and it’s impossible not to be moved by the memory of the men who gave their lives here in 1944. Next year, June 6 marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on this 100-kilometre stretch of coast. Thousands of residents, veterans and their families will gather throughout the region around this date to pay their respects to the 156,000 Allied soldiers who landed here.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Normandy Tourist Board www.normandy-tourism.org

Rendezvous en France 2013  

The official magazine of the French Tourist Bureau in Australia. From the grit and excitement of the Tour de France to the glamour of its ma...