Normandy may be infamous for its D-Day invasion, but it also offers a host of exciting and downright amazing attractions. Northwest of Paris, the region of Normandy is nestled between Brittany and La Manche, or the English Channel. Other claims to fame include Monet's Garden at Giverny, the Gothic architecture of Rouen and a the majestic Mont Saint Michel that seems to rise magically from the waters.
Anyone who swoons at the paintings Claude Monet made of his garden will swoon all the more if they see that garden in person. Located in the Eure Department in Normandy, Monet's Garden in Giverny is blooming with delicate greenery infused with equally delicate dapples of sunlight. It is not difficult to figure out where the creative genius got much of his inspiration. His home and the Fondation Claude Monet are also on the grounds. The garden is closed on Mondays and during the winter, Nov. 1 through March 31. Getting there can be an adventure within itself, as the closest train will leave you at Vernon, which is about four miles from the garden. Walk, rent a bicycle or take a local bus or cab the rest of the way, depending on your whimsy at the moment.
Fondation Claude Monet
84, rue Claude Monet
27620 -- Giverny, Normandy
02 32 51 28 21
The centerpiece of the architecturally rich Rouen is definitely its cathedral. This Gothic structure towers in the center of the city and is well-known for its glory across the country. The rest of Rouen is equally as impressive, with a medieval quarter that has been restored after it was bombed nearly to shreds during World War II. Rouen is also the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, adding to its allure for history buffs. Plenty of shops, restaurants and hotels round out the city, also making it an ideal place to stay as you further explore Normandy.
Rouen Tourism Office
25, place de la Cathédrale
02 32 08 32 40
Mont Saint Michel
Get ready for crowds---and one of the most awesome structures in the world---if you take a trek to Mont Saint Michel. This glorious attraction, which beckons more than 3 million visitors each year, is nestled on a small island that is accessible by causeway only during high tide and by land the rest of the time. Highlights of this majestic structure include its abbey, a monastery and the nearby village stocked with restaurants, shops and even some hotels if you have the cash to stay there.
Mont Saint Michel
Normandy coast near mouth of Couesnon River
02 33 6014 30
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.