CULTURE FRANCIA

Table of Contents

22 Unusual Things to Do in Normandy

Up-to-Date 2024  –  By Culture Francia Team

Table of Contents

22 Less Touristy Things to Do

  Name Appeal Type Visit Cost
01 ➡️ Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue ★★★☆☆ Town - Port - -
02 ➡️ Beuvron-en-Auge ★★★☆☆ Village - -
03 ➡️ Barfleur ★★★☆☆ Village - Port - -
04 Petites & Grandes Dalles ★★★☆☆ Hiking + Villages Self Free
05 Biville Dunes ★★★☆☆ Hiking Self Free
06 Hatainville ★★★☆☆ Hiking Self Free
07 Rock of Oëtre ★★★☆☆ Hiking Self Free
08 Château du Champ de Bataille ★★★☆☆ Castle Self Paid
09 ➡️ Etretat ★★★☆☆ Town - Seaside resort - -
10 ➡️ Dieppe ★★☆☆☆ Town - Seaside resort - -
11 ➡️ Giverny ★★☆☆☆ Village - -
12 ➡️ Les Andelys ★★☆☆☆ Town - -
13 ➡️ Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei ★★☆☆☆ Village - -
14 ➡️ Le Bec-Hellouin ★★☆☆☆ Village - -
15 ➡️ Lyons-la-Forêt ★★☆☆☆ Village - -
16 ➡️ Veules-les-Roses ★★☆☆☆ Town - Seaside resort - -
17 Jumièges Abbey ★★☆☆☆ Abbey Ruin Self Paid
18 Hambye Abbey ★★☆☆☆ Abbey Ruin Self Paid
19 Other Seaside Resorts ★★☆☆☆ Seaside Activities - -
20 Biking Inland ★★☆☆☆ Biking Self Free
21 Cherbourg ★☆☆☆☆ City - Port - -
22 ➡️ Lisieux ★☆☆☆☆ Town - -

01. Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue Town

Aerial view of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue village, focusing on a marina filled with boats and the surrounding quaint buildings.

Overall Appeal ★★★☆☆

Saint Vaast la Hougue is a charming fishing port known for its maritime heritage. The town is famous for its delicious oysters and seafood restaurants. Visitors can hike the scenic harbor and nearby Tatihou Island.

02. Beuvron-en-Auge Village

Quaint street in Beuvron-en-Auge village lined with half-timbered houses and a few outdoor café tables under a clear blue sky.

Overall Appeal ★★★☆☆

Beuvron-en-Auge is a beautiful village in the heart of the Pays d’Auge, renowned for its well-preserved timber-framed houses and cider production. The village offers a glimpse into traditional Norman life with its charming streets and artisanal shops.

03. Barfleur Village

Aerial view of Barfleur village with a harbor filled with boats, rocky shorelines, and a mix of residential and commercial buildings along the waterfront.

Overall Appeal ★★★☆☆

Barfleur is a quaint fishing village with a picturesque harbor and historic granite houses. 

04. Petites & Grandes Dalles

An aerial view of Petites Dalles, featuring dramatic cliffs beside a coastal village, with the sea waves gently hitting the shore and wind turbines visible in the distance.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Hiking

Visit Self
Cost Free

Petites Dalles and Grandes Dalles are twin hamlets nestled along the coast, renowned for the architecture of their villas, stunning white chalk cliffs, and pebbled shores.

05. Bivilles Dunes

Expansive sandy dunes at Biville with sparse vegetation and a rusty old vehicle partially buried in the sand under a bright, sunny sky.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Hiking

Visit Self
Cost Free

The Biville Dunes are a natural wonder along the Normandy coast, featuring greenish sand dunes. This protected area is is home to various plant species and scattered with the ruins of old tanks, a reminder of its past as a military training ground.

06. Hatainville

Expansive sandy beach bordered by sand dunes and clear, blue waters, showcasing the natural beauty of Hatainville Dunes.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Hiking

Visit Self
Cost Free

Hatainville features a long beach, greenish dunes, and a cliff offering panoramic views of the beach, the dunes and the sea.

07. Rock of Oëtre

Rocky outcrop overlooking a dense, green forest and rolling hills, offering a stunning panoramic view of the landscape at Roche d'Oëtre.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Hiking

Visit Self
Cost Free

The Rock of Oëtre provides panoramic views over the Valley. This ancient rock formation is one of the oldest geological sites in Normandy. 

It’s part of the “Suisse Normande” area (meaning Norman Switzerland, due to its natural landscape reminiscent of Switzerland).

08. Château du Champ de Bataille

Majestic view of Chateau Champ de Bataille with its manicured gardens, symmetrical pathways, and grand château in the background.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Renaissance Castle

Visit Self
Cost Paid

Château du Champ de Bataille is a luxurious 17th-century castle with magnificent gardens. It showcases lavish interiors, extensive art collections, and meticulously designed landscapes.

09. Etretat Town

Panoramic view of Etretat town with its pebble beach, white cliffs, and lush green hills, all overlooking the clear blue sea.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Etretat, beyond its famous cliffs, is a picturesque coastal town with quaint streets lined with half-timbered houses, boutique shops, and cafes. Etretat also features a beautiful beach.

10. Dieppe Town

Scenic view of Dieppe town with a marina filled with boats, historic buildings along the waterfront, and a backdrop of hills and a cloudy sky.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Dieppe is a historic port town known for its maritime heritage and pebble beaches. It also hosts the lively Dieppe Kite Festival every year. 

11. Giverny Village

A quaint street in Giverny with charming stone houses, green shutters, and lush greenery. The quiet scene includes a couple of people walking or cycling under a partly cloudy sky.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Giverny, beyond Monet’s house and gardens, is a charming village with picturesque streets lined with stone cottages, vibrant flower, and artisanal shops. Visitors can explore the Museum of Impressionism, showcasing a variety of works inspired by the local landscape.

Giverny also offers beautiful walking paths along the Seine River and through the surrounding countryside.

12. Les Andelys Town

Picturesque town of Les Andelys nestled along a river with historic buildings, a central church, and lush greenery surrounding the area.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Les Andelys is a picturesque town known for the Château Gaillard, perched above the Seine River.

13. Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei Village

Tranquil scene of Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei, featuring a stone bridge over a river, surrounded by quaint houses and lush greenery.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei is a picturesque village nestled in a loop of the Sarthe River, known for its artistic heritage and scenic beauty.

14. Le Bec-Hellouin Village

Scenic view of Le Bec-Hellouin village with charming half-timbered houses, a church with a spire, and a well-manicured lawn under a partly cloudy sky.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Le Bec-Hellouin is a tranquil village known for its abbey and well-preserved medieval architecture. The village is surrounded by lush countryside, offering a peaceful retreat. 

15. Lyons-la-Forêt Village

Charming village scene of Lyon-la-Forêt with half-timbered houses and a large, thatched market hall in the center, surrounded by a cobblestone street and flowers.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Lyons-la-Forêt is a charming village surrounded by one of the largest beech forests in Europe. The village boasts beautiful half-timbered houses, a historic market square, and picturesque streets.

16. Veules-les-Roses Village

Charming cottage with a thatched roof in Veules-les-Roses village, nestled along a quiet river and surrounded by greenery and colorful flowers.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

Veules-les-Roses is a picturesque village. It features charming half-timbered houses, a beach, and the shortest river in France. The village is also known for its artistic and literary heritage.

17. Jumièges Abbey

The majestic ruins of Jumieges Abbey, featuring towering stone arches and columns, with a lush, tree-filled background.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Romanesque Abbey Ruin

Visit Self
Cost Paid

Abbaye de Jumièges is one of the oldest and most impressive abbeys in Normandy. The majestic ruins in beautiful parkland create a serene atmosphere.

18. Hambye Abbey

Ruins of Hambye Abbey, showcasing its medieval stone architecture with partially intact walls and arches set against a backdrop of green lawns and trees.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Gothic Abbey Ruin

Visit Self
Cost Paid

Abbey Hambye is a stunning example of medieval Cistercian architecture nestled in lush countryside. It offers a peaceful retreat with well-preserved ruins and beautiful gardens.

19. Other Seaside Resorts

View of Cabourg's beachfront lined with grand, historic buildings, sunbathers on the sandy beach, and a clear, calm sea.

Overall Appeal ★★☆☆☆

The Normandy coast features numerous seaside resorts, often situated next to each other, that share similar characteristics: Belle Époque architecture, grand hotels, restaurants, casinos, and large sandy beaches.

Examples
– 📍 Cabourg
– 📍 Houlgate
– 📍 Arromanches-les-Bains

20. Biking Inland

A cyclist riding on a bridge surrounded by lush green forest in Normandy, capturing the essence of a peaceful countryside bike ride.

Appeal ★★☆☆☆
Type A

Visit Self
Cost Free

Biking inland in Normandy is a wonderful way to explore the region’s rolling countryside, picturesque villages, and historic landmarks.

21. Cherbourg City

Aerial view of Cherbourg town featuring a bustling port, modern buildings, and the expansive blue sea.

Overall Appeal ★☆☆☆☆

Cherbourg is a port city known for its maritime museum, La Cité de la Mer, housed in a former transatlantic terminal. The city features a harbor and historic fortifications.

22. Lisieux Town

The grand Lisieux Basilica with its ornate façade, arched entrances, and spires, set against a clear blue sky and framed by trees.

Overall Appeal ★☆☆☆☆

Lisieux is famous for the Basilica of Saint Thérèse, drawing pilgrims from around the globe.

16 Top Things to Do

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