The Pristine Coastlines of Normandy

The Pristine Coastlines of Normandy

The over 640 kilometers of Normandy's coastline are made up of a number of beaches with descriptive names like the Côte d'Albâtre, Côte Fleurie, Côte de Nacre, and others. The Normandy coast is a continuous stretch of low-lying beaches and breathtaking cliffsides from Tréport to Cancale. The Côte d'Albâtre extends from the quaint Tréport station to the imposing harbor of Le Havre, whose postwar renovation earned it a spot on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites. Its cliffsides are a 100-meter-tall chalk wall that forms an imposing barrier. Many ports and tourist destinations may be found in the rolling valleys, including Etretat, which is well-known worldwide for its enormous arch on the Aval Cliff, Dieppe, a significant port right next to England, and Rouen, the City of a Thousand Bells.

Along with waterways, flowerbeds, shady passageways, and opulent homes, the Pays d'Auge's prairies and apple orchards are interspersed between the Seine and the Orne. More than 40 kilometers of fine sand beaches, cliffs, and rocksides can be found along the Côte Fleurie. The emphasis is shared by charming permanent seashore stations. Deauville, Trouville, Honfleur, and Caubourg, the "Beach of Romantics," are just a few of these lovely locations with their own unique personalities.

Between Ouistreham and Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, you may find beaches in the Canadian, British, and American sectors (Sword, Juno, and Gold), as well as the American sector (Omaha and Utah). Even some of the code names from the conflict have survived. All of these places—Arromanches and its man-made bridge, American military cemeteries, the Pointe du Hoc, a memorial to the bravery of young American shoulders, museums, monuments, waypoints, artillery pieces, and tanks—remind us of the horrors of war. These sandy beaches serve as both vacation spots and memorials, offering a wide range of seashore activities.

Just a few miles from the Landing Beaches, on the Orne River, sits Caen. The city marked a significant turning point in the fight to free France from Nazi rule the day after the Allies stormed the beaches. A moving stop on your travel through Normandy is the renowned Mémorial de Caen, a magnificent museum devoted to the history of the Second World War. The museum also emphasizes the necessity of peace as well as the overall history of the 20th century.

The rocky overhang of Nord Cotentin emerges from the water as it follows the Bay des Veys. Wild cliffs and pebble beaches abound at this "end of the world," which is also covered in heather and wildflowers. Some of the highest in Europe, the Jobourg Cliffs rise 128 meters above the ground. The indication of the expansive beaches on the west coast is a smoother shoreline farther away, in the north. To the west of Cotentin, along its 355 kilometers of coastline, La Manche offers a collection of islands (Anglo-Norman islands like Jersey, Guernesey, Aurigny, Sercq, Chausey, etc.).

Cherbourg is a haven in the middle of La Manche because of its prime location at the tip of the Cotentin Peninsula. The western coast enjoys protection from the east and north winds, mild Gulf Stream currents, and a long ribbon of sand that stretches 100 kilometers down the beach, infrequently broken up by attractive ports and cliffs. In front of Mont Saint Michel, the Wonder of the West, it formally and spectacularly comes to an end. The beaches here are sunny, and there are some of the biggest tides in all of Europe.

Learn about the Normandy coasts before naturally exploring all of France's coastlines.