A Year in Normandy
2019 was a busy year for us. We welcomed hundreds of visitors to our beautiful region and organized over a hundred D-Day and history tours. And we served delicious meals to hundreds more at weddings, corporate events and at hosted venues like Chateau de Canisy and Clos l'Abbé. Here's our year in pictures...
We arrived at this incredible castle on a cold January morning. The mist had lifted from the mirror lake and we were treated to a tour of the property and this stunning view of the medieval towers. Since January we've returned several times to take the chateau's guests on private D-Day tours and to enjoy some of the musical events held in the grounds in the summer. To read more about staying at Chateau de Colombières click here
Don't let the azure sky fool you - in Normandy in February it can be very cold, especially on the beaches and bluffs. Here at Arromanches-les-Bains we walked out at low tide to get a close-up look at the Mulberry harbour. This huge feat of engineering made of hollow concrete was floated across the English channel in June 1944, and the harbour was up and running one week after D-Day. For information about our D-Day tours click here
Celandines, cowslips, primroses, wood anemones, narcissus and daffodils, humble dandelions and buttercups... Springtime in Normandy explodes in burst of yellow. We came across this carpet of celandines in the vast grounds of Chateau de Canisy, near Saint Lo. Our region has many beautiful chateau gardens and March is when the season starts. You can read about the garden tours we propose here
We had the pleasure to tour with an intrepid grandmother from Mexico and her young grandson. I suggested crossing the waters to the fabulous island of Mont Saint Michel by horse and carriage. It's the perfect way to arrive (if a little slower than the shuttle bus), and everyone appreciated being dropped off right at the entrance to the village. Those of us with younger legs climbed the 350 steps to the medieval abbey at the top, while Grandma rested up in our favourite auberge!
On a private tour of the D-Day sites we visited the grave of General Lesley McNair - the most senior officer in the American cemetery. The commander of the deception operation known as Fortitude South, McNair was killed in action by friendly fire at the start of the Allied breakthrough on 25th July 1944. If you have a relative who rests in any of the military cemeteries in Normandy we can make all the arrangements to visit the grave.
Back at the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, this time on 6th June. We were delighted to receive an invitation to the ceremony from Presidents Trump and Macron. The weather, the speeches and the atmosphere were wonderful - and it was a real pleasure to see so many veterans. We had the huge privilege to host one D-Day veteran and his family at Chateau de Canisy. The flypast by modern and vintage planes was incredible. Thanks for everything Frances : )
La Pointe du Hoc, the location of the clifftop assault by US Rangers on D-Day 1944, is one of the most visited sites in Normandy. Our tours usually include a visit to the bunkers, craters and cliffs at La Pointe. After escaping from the crowds on this July day, we had a picnic on the bluffs between the point and Omaha beach. The view is absolutely stunning, and it's a pleasure to have a relaxing lunch in such tranquil surroundings.
August is the busiest month in Normandy - D-Day tourists and holidaymakers flock to the beaches. We know how to avoid the crowds however, and even during high season we can still find a quiet moment. We arrived on Omaha Beach after high tide and the sand had barely a footprint on it. Talented French sculptor Annilore Banon, created this impressive monument in solid steel to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004.
In September the summer's crowds have disappeared and the weather remains calm and warm. Here at Utah Beach, a Sherman tank stands guard in front of the D-Day Landings Museum. After visiting the museum and the beach, you can eat Utah mussels at the Roosevelt café, washed down with a glass of cold D-Day beer!
In October we were asked to organize a vintage car rally - a circuit taking in some of the D-Day sites and other historic places. The British owners of these beautiful old MGs (and one lovely 1940s Rolls Royce) visited Bayeux, Arromanches and the house and grounds of Chateau de Canisy. A good time was had by all in spite of the odd rain shower!
This is cider country. The region has thousands of apple orchards like ours here at We Love Normandy HQ. The apples are transformed into le cidre (cider or hard cider) after pressing and fermenting. The product is then bottled (called cidre bouché) or left in the barrel. The cider can be sweet (doux), semi-sweet (demi-sec) or dry (brut). The driest of the dry is called fermier - farmer's cider. Our dogs love to eat the fallen apples! Click here for Food & Drinks tours.
We Love Normandy HQ on a cold December morning last year. Walking in the countryside you'll be seduced by the aromatic smell of applewood burning in farmhouse fireplaces. It's the season for dishes like civet de sanglier (wild boar stew), spicy tajines, fresh scallops, chestnuts, vin chaud... The festive season is is just around the corner, and Normandy's Christmas markets are full of winter fayre. Why not choose Normandy for your holiday getaway? Click here to get in touch...