Looking to explore Calvados but short for time? These ten must-see sites offer you the perfect insight into its identity and the great diversity of landscapes you will find in Calvados.
Honfleur and its old harbour
This truly colourful harbour town was a great source of inspiration for the Impressionist painters! And how not to keel over at the dizzying heights of the tall and narrow terraced houses that surround its Old Harbour, or one of the historic buildings here, that have survived the centuries? Take a stroll through the Garden of Fame, before heading as far as the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace and enjoy unrestricted views over Honfleur.
This country gathers nature paths, gardens, castles, typical half-timbered buildings and stud farms. The picturesque villages of Beuvron-en-Auge, Cambremer or Beaufour-Druval are all on the Cider Route, a 44-kilometre route that brings together no fewer than 18 apple producers. Romantic Cabourg is just 15km away with its long promenade and immense sandy beach.
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer
An Olympian setting where heroes are laid to rest. Looming above the immensity of Omaha Beach, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is home to the graves of 9,387 American soldiers who fell during the Battle of Normandy. A rush of emotion awaits you as you cast your gaze over these lines of white marble steles on their velvet green lawn, as far as the eye can see, and as you attend the daily Flag Ceremony.
The Bayeux Tapestry
The medieval city of Bayeux escaped the 1944 bombings. Don’t miss its cathedral, the paved streets, historic centre and the Bayeux Tapestry, a 70-meter embroidery telling the story of the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror, over 58 detailed scenes.
Falaise and Suisse Normande
Falaise is the birthplace of William the Conqueror and cradle of the Anglo-Norman dynasty. For those looking for quiet and originality, don’t miss the panoramic views of the Crest Route, Rochers de la Houle, Rochers des Parcs and the Hom Loop, and stop in at the characterful village of Clécy.
A conservatory for peace and a museum on World War II, the Mémorial de Caen takes you on an eventful journey through history and teaches you how this conflict left a lasting mark on Calvados, Normandy and the world over. A major site and a necessary introduction for visitors wishing to discover the D-Day Landing Beaches.
Basilica of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Such was the price paid by William the Conqueror for the right to marry his distant cousin, Mathilda of Flanders. It was in compensation to the Church that the Duke of Normandy had the Men's Abbey founded in 1063, where his tomb now houses his only relic, a femur! 950 years later, as you walk through the huge white nave, you can fully grasp the scale of the epic life led by this future King of England.
Deauville is imbued with a scent of elegance, whatever the season. An afternoon stroll here will take you past its proud seafront hotels, the stylish boutiques in its central streets, where Coco Chanel once had her own store and, of course, to the famous 'Planches' boardwalk that runs along the fine sandy beach and where the stars of the American silver screen can be seen every September over the Deauville Film Festival.