MAIN TOURIST SITES AND TOWNS
Mont saint Michel stands in the middle of a vast bay opening out onto the English Channel. The shifting outlines of this vast bay are swept by Europe’s highest tides. The most outstanding approach to Mont Saint Michel is to cross the bay as the pilgrims used to do it before the road was built…(I can organize it for you).
The abbey of Mont Saint Michel is the highpoint of medieval architecture from the Middle Ages, constructed on a rock pinnacle, where, at the top is the most commanding viewpoint from which to discover the bay. The visit of the abbey’s audacious and innovative rooms is evocative of one of Christianity’s most important pilgrimage monument. This is the first French site to be listed on the UNESCO world heritage.
Capital city of southern Normandy, Caen owes this honorific title to William “the bastard” (before he became “the conqueror”) and his wife Mathilda.
The town developed around three major poles: the fortress and the two main Benedictine abbeys founded by the couple and still standing nowadays despite all the destructions of the Battle of Normandy… A rich heritage to discover.
Liberated on June 7th by the Allies and mostly spared from the bombings, Bayeux has kept all the treasures of its rich heritage : the beautiful cathedral and the famous “Bayeux Tapestry”, that depicts in 58 scenes the preparation and the conquest of England by William “the Bastard”, Duke of Normandy, who, after the battle of Hastings in 1066, became king of England.
A major defensive harbor at the time of the Hundred Years’ war, Honfleur, on the left bank of the Seine river, controlled the mouth of this royal river. From the 16th century, with the great discoveries, Honfleur was the birthplace of numerous navigators.
Samuel de Champlain organized several departures from Honfleur to Canada and particularly in 1608 with the founding of Quebec.
Since the 19th century, Honfleur has been the meeting place of the artists; Eugene Boudin gathered around him many fellow artists such as Monet, Jongkind, Dubourg… as well as poets like Charles Baudelaire. Impressionism was born there…
Just like the town of Bayeux, Honfleur was totally spared from the bombings of WWII and has therefore kept all its picturesque attractiveness.
|> THE PAYS D’AUGE:
Here… man hears the grass growing…
The Pays d’Auge is the postcard image of Normandy that everyone dreams about: a half timbered cottage with its thatched roof in the middle of a field planted with apple trees, and under the apple trees…
The beautiful brown and white Normandy cows !
A rich, green, fertile farming region and horse breeding region, that provides the farmers with everything they need to produce all the local specialties: Cheeses, cider, calvados (apple brandy), all of these that have made the reputation of Norman gastronomy.
Follow in the steps of historical personages such as Joan of Arc, Pierre Corneille, Gustave Flaubert and many others who have contributed to Rouen’s prestigious history.
A visit to Claude Monet’s house and gardens is an enchanting experience as the gardens and water lilies blossom again as in the days of the impressionist master! The gardens have been replanted in 1980 as they once were, the collection of Japanese prints restored and left in the house to be admired. Monet arrived here in 1883 and lived here until his death in 1926, he was 86 years old.
A visit of the village allows discovery of more of the environment of the impressionist painter and the village life at his time.
|> THE MUSÉE DES IMPRESSIONNISMES – GIVERNY:
Just a short walking distance from Monet’s house, opened in 1992, the museum of American art founded by the American businessman Daniel Terra and his wife Judith. Daniel Terra had begun collecting American art in the 1970’s and had quickly assembled an important collection, including numerous pictures painted by American artists who were part of the colony of American artists of Giverny, from 1887 until the first world war.
The museum has evolved over the years and featured temporary exhibitions devoted to all periods of American art. Supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art in Chicago, the museum fulfilled the Foundation’s overarching mission: to promote American Art throughout the world!
In 2009, a partnership was signed between the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Conseil général de l’Eure, the Conseil régional de Haute-Normandie, the Conseil général de la Seine-Maritime, the Communauté d’Agglomération des Portes de l’Eure, the Municipality of Vernon and the musée d’Orsay, to create the musée des impressionnismes Giverny that replaces the musée d’art américain. This museum is dedicated to the history of Impressionism and its aftermath, together with its more distant impact on the second half of the twentieth century.