Normandy off-the-beaten tracks: Rouen, the Norman abbeys route & the Alabaster coast
Experience the Normandy Region differently from the winding Abbey route along the river Seine, and the Alabaster coast to the Auge cheese country
Rouen / the Norman Abbeys route (Jumièges – Sant-Wandrille) / Fécamp (Palais Bénédictine) / Etretat (overnight)
Rouen: walk around the old town of Rouen, Capital of Upper Normandy, with its gothic churches, half-timbered houses and the old market square where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake. You will go through the 'Gros Horloge' arch, the impressive Cathedral and the Gothic-style Saint-Maclou church.
Jumièges Abbey: half-way between Paris and Le Havre (biggest port in France in terms of containers), and in the heart of the winding Normandy Seine River regional park, Jumièges preserves the largest and earliest of the great Norman abbey churches, where the articulation between Carolingian architecture and Romanesque architecture is the most visible.
Saint-Wandrille Abbey: this abbey, built in 649 by the great-uncle of Charlemagne, is one of the oldest and best preserved in Normandy. Isabey executed a watercolor of the cloister, crossed by a golden light.
Palais Bénédictine of Fécamp: landmark mixing neo-gothic, neo-renaissance and Art Nouveau styles, built at the end of the 19th century for Alexandre-Prosper Le Grand, a spirits trader who made a fortune by inventing and marketing Benedictine liquor. Inside, apart from the distillery and cellars, this is a museum presenting various collections with an exhibition area devoted to contemporary art.
Overnight stay in Etretat, where you will experience a peaceful farming town by the impressive chalk cliffs seaside. Walk through the arch by low tide and enjoy a great view atop the hill.
Etretat / Le Havre (musée André Malraux) / Pont de Normandie / Honfleur / Deauville / Pont-l’Evêque / Paris
Le Havre (musée André Malraux): Consider to pay a visit to the André Malraux which contains one of the most extensive collections of impressionist paintings in France.
Pont de Normandie: a drive on this spectacular masterpiece bridge crossing the Seine River flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
Honfleur: Walking around the charming port on the Seine estuary, from where the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain and the founder of Louisiana, Cavalier de la Salle set sail. It has inspired many famous painters such as Monet and his master Boudin and is considered as a cradle of the impressionism movement. Visit Saint-Catherine church, entirely made of wood, the vaulting made with the technique of a reversed boat shell.
Deauville: Drive along the coastal road to discover Trouville and Deauville, smart seaside resorts of the wealthy Parisians, known also for the American film festival and its boardwalk ‘les Planches’. Nicked named the “Paris 21st Arrondissement”, in Deauville can be found downtown and around the casino, fashion store selling famous French brands as in Paris.
Pont-l’Evêque: visit the town that gave its name to the oldest Normandy cheese in production and experience a cider & calvados farm.