France

Discover Calvados

This Northern French region, one of the most popular regions in the country, attracts millions of visitors annually. Its incredible diversity makes it easy to see why. Whether you’re looking for a beach break, an adrenaline-filled adventure holiday or wanting to explore cities steeped in stories of antiquity, you’ll find it in Calvados.

Honfleur

This charismatic fishing village constantly attracts artists. Drawn in, perhaps, by the 16th-18th century townhouses that line the harbour. These creative establishments, some rising 8 stories high & each completely different to the next, are conveyed beautifully onto paper by the artists. Honfleur boasts 80 art galleries, many of which display the local artwork. The town’s church, Saint Catherine’s, dates back to the 1400s, highlighting the historical heritage of the region as a whole. The picturesque cobbled streets are lined with charming restaurants so you’re never stuck for choice.

 

Photo: Fabrizio Sciami

Caen

Caen is home to Chateau de Caen, a castle that dates back to 1060. Wander along the river Orne and take in the alluring nature or pop into one of the many boutiques found in Caen’s medieval streets. The sublime and stunning abbeys, in particular Abbaye aux Hommes, are a grand tribute to the religion they represent and Caen Memorial Museum is noted for its striking structure and fantastic exhibitions.

 

Photo: L.Durand – Calvados Tourisme Libre

Lisieux

Lisieux is one of the most important pilgrimage sights in France, with a stunning cathedral and basilica. Become enchanted with Canon Castle Gardens, find yourself among the steps of a neoclassical temple, retire under a weeping willow, listening to the trickling sounds of the River Laizon or admire the amazing castle, itelf.

Saint Germain de Livet Castle will transport you to a realm of yesteryear. The mismatching brickwork creates a brilliant dimension to the architecture, with black beams stretching down the sides of the walls. As if it were not atmospheric enough, the castle rests on a protective moat of turquoise waters. One may expect a damsel trapped in the upper turret or a charming prince dining in the grand hall.

Bayeux

Famous for its Norman tapestry depicting the battle of 1066, Bayeux has so much more to offer once you have visited this UNESCO piece of art – and you really must visit it. Producing a sensation of quaint invitation similar to Bruges, lose yourself in the intertwining streets of this medieval village, pass water mills and pick up a petite. Not without its monuments, however, the Notre Dame cathedral was consecrated in 1077 in the presence of William the Conqueror.

Trouville Ser Mer

Similar to Honfleur – though perhaps on a slightly grander scale – this fishing port and beach is lined with multi-coloured establishments dating back to the 19th century. Each was designed with an individual architectural design in mind – be that neo-Norman, neoclassical or neo-Italian, making it a wonder to behold.  Trouville Ser Mer won the Family Plus award 2012 and is a fantastic resort to bring children. However, for those looking for an escape with your partner or friends there’s art galleries to peruse and, if you’re feeling lucky, a casino.

 

Photo: Cristian Bortes 

Deauville

Deauville became the vogue beach hotspot in the 19th century and has remained one of the most famous beaches in France, renowned for its beauty and rivalling Cannes and Nice. The grand casino houses restaurants, bars and even a nightclub.  The annual film festival is a red carpet event, attracting international film stars to this exclusive occasion. Overall, Deauville is perfect if you’re looking for a glamorous retreat

 

 

Photo: Dennis Jarvis

Falaise

Birthplace of William the Conqueror, the town’s main attraction, the castle, is where William claimed his first victory at the tender age of 15. The imposing fortress is quite a contrast to the small town situated beneath it. Here the Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais church towers of the unassuming houses. In the town’s main square you’ll find a brilliant statue to the William, looking proud on horseback. Take a hot air balloon to see it all from a stunning birds eye view; drift over miles of pastures and Greenland, taking in the serene Gallic beauty.

 

L.Durand – Calvados Tourisme Libre

Gastronomy

Calvados is incredibly proud of its gastronomical achievements and its apple brandy is the region’s most popular export. As well as brandy, however, Calvados also specialises in apple and pear cider, the fruit plucked fresh from trees fed by rich French soil.

As well as beverages, the region specialises in cheese, specifically Livrot, a fragrant soft cheese that pairs fantastically with the fruity notes in the cider or brandy.

You’ll find fresh markets across Calvados and this is where you’ll find the most authentic items. If you’re going to buy Livrot, pick it up here. The apples and pears used in the famous Calvados libations are also purchasable from the market if you’d prefer a more sobering experience of the fruit. Fresh fish and cured meats are always fantastic from these markets, too.

 

 

Photo: L.Durand – Calvados Tourisme Libre

Adventure

Due to Calvados’s vast natural landscapes, there’s no shortage of adventurous activities, from bungee jumping to horse riding. Just 15km from Caen and Bayeux is Pearl Coast Adventure Park, suitable for children aged 3+, this obstacle course set amongst the trees is great for an adrenaline rush!

There are cycle paths throughout the region, too, from D-Day beach routes to scenic countryside trails. If you prefer 2 feet to 2 wheels, pick up a hiking map and head off on one of the many walking routes, from hikes under 2 hours to day-long treks, pick the duration and difficulty for you. Afterwards find rest in one of the 13,000 campsites in the region.

 

 

Photo – Calvados Tourisme Libre

Coastline

Arriving in Calvados, you’ll find 75 miles of stunning coastline. This massive stretch of beach has sandy beaches with adorable boardwalks on one end, yet magnificent cliff sides on the other. Be astounded by these seaside wonders. Try your hand at surfboarding or water-skiing or simply enjoy the views that have attracted people for centuries.

 

 

Photo: L.Durand – Calvados Tourisme Libre

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