Normandy is a land of dramatic coastal scenery. Granite cliffs give way to long stretches of pebbly beaches. The landscape is accented by the meanders of the river Seine as it approaches its estuary. It is a landscape that has witnessed some of the seminal events of Europe's long and storied history.
William the conqueror departed Normandy in 1066 to invade England. The intricate detail on the famed Bayeux Tapestry depicts cartoon scenes of the battle, notable both for their remarkable artistry and the bias in favour of the Normans. The old medieval city of Rouen (home to Monet's favourite Gothic cathedral) witnessed Joan of Arc tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1431. Cemeteries and memorials to the D-Day landings of 1944, the largest seaborne invasion in history, dot the beaches of the region.
The chic seaside resort of Deauville hosted the start of a different sort of empire. It was here that Coco Chanel started a fashion renaissance by opening her first boutique.
Today, Normandy is overwhelmingly agricultural and is appreciated by the gastronomically fastidious French for its excellent produce, particularly dairy and seafood. Normandy also has a reputation for producing great cider, the perfect accompaniment for the fresh fish and seafood coming off the boats each morning.