The fact that many Parisians like to spend their weekends and vacations on the Normandy Riviera coast shouldn’t surprise you. The region lies only a couple of hours by train from the French capital and has plenty to offer visitors looking for luxury and tranquility.
Following in the footsteps of so many Parisians, let’s discover why they’re so attached to “the other Rivièra”. Let’s take a look at five personal highlights and must-sees. Try not to fall in love already!
5 Personal Highlights in Normandy Riviera
1. Elegant Cabourg
Cabourg looks like it’s been catapulted from the Belle Epoque era, with its splendid villas and peaceful atmosphere. This chique coastal town may appear small, but rest assured that everything is available to make your stay enjoyable.
The gorgeous sand beach stretches out for four kilometers—and is one of the longest sand beaches on the coast of Normandy—which makes going for stroll on the endless and elegant promenade a mandatory thing to do. Author Marcel Proust adored Cabourg and liked to stay at the imposing Grand Hôtel, a hotspot among the French bourgeoisie. Later on, regulars included Edith Piaf and Dalida.
Travel tip: enjoy a spa treatment at the Thalazur Hotel Cabourg. Located across from the sea, the hotel offers all kinds of wellness treatments in an oasis of peace. Make your experience complete by spending a couple of nights there as well.
2. Star-gazing in Deauville
Because of the beautiful light that hits the sea water, Deauville has always appealed to artists, filmmakers, fashion designers and photographers.
The bourgeoisie followed in their slipstream, making Deauville into a small coastal town where you can spot celebrities and movie stars, go to horse races and shop endlessly. Make sure to go for a walk along “les planches”, a section of the promenade that’s become famous for its beach cabins bearing the names of the movie stars who visited Deauville.
Fun fact: Deauville is where Coco Chanel opened her very first boutique in 1913. She loved the striped shirts worn by fishermen and the soft brown color of the beach. These two sources of inspiration are clearly visible in her collections, and made her world-famous.
3. Shaking Some Cocktails
In Fécamp, you’re advised to set aside some time for a visit to the Palais Bénédictine. This is where people have produced the renowned Bénédictine liqueur for a hundred years. Not only is the building an impressive architectural highlight, it also houses an interesting museum teaching you all you need to know about this exceptional beverage.
The most fun part, of course, is learning how to shake your own Bénédictine cocktail. You can do that by participating in an actual cocktail workshop. You’ll learn how to distinguish the subtle tastes of a Bénédictine liqueur and how to shake three personal cocktails. You’re guaranteed to leave this workshop in a happy mood.
4. English Gardens in a French Village
Varengeville sur Mer lies a stone’s throw from Diepe. This picturesque village is home to one of the most beautiful historical monuments on the Normandy Riviera, the English gardens of “le Bois du Moutiers”, a wonderful oasis of peace.
In the gardens, you’ll find the arts and crafts villa, a gathering place for famous scientists and artists who discuss how they can make the world a more beautiful place. Needless to say, this is an inspiring location.
5. City Tripping in Rouen
While the Normandy Riviera coast radiates peace and elegance, Rouen looks like a bustling and vibrant city. The capital of Normandy is well-known as the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake—definitely visit the Joan of Arc Museum!—and for its cathedral that’s the subject of one of Monet’s most famous paintings.
A new attraction is the Panorama XXL, where you can admire life-like 360-degree panoramas. This fantastic attraction shows everything from the jungles of Amazonia to the era of Joan of Arc.