By Photo: Myrabella –  Wikimedia

Top 10 Incredible Facts about Normandy Region in France


 

The Normandy region of France is made up of a 360-mile beautiful coastline that has a history dating back to World War II and Mont Saint Michel.

The region has beautiful towns and villages that have several historic landmarks. There are lush farmlands best for apples. It is the leading region on France that produces cider, thanks to plenty of apples.

Other gastronomic delights in Normandy include cheese, beef, delicious mutton, and calvados that is gotten from distilled apples. You will also find plenty of delicious seafood fished from the English Channel.

The WWII attraction in this region such as Caen Memorial tells the history of the events leading to D-Day. In Giverny, you will find the museum with 200-foot long Bayeux tapestry and is a haven for art lovers.

In Deauville, Trouville and Honfleur have some of the most charming seaside resorts like Dieppe, Fecamp and Etretat.

With this in mind, let us now look at the 10 incredible facts about the Normandy region.

1. The Allied invasion of Normandy was the largest military operation

Landing ships putting cargo ashore on Omaha Beach, By MIckStephenson – Wikimedia

This is one of the historical events that has permanently etched itself to the Normandy region. This event happened between 1935 and 1945 during World War II.

Before the invasion, the German forces occupied the Normandy region in France in 1940.

The battle of Normandy lasted for three months and it was the largest military invasion to ever happen. Between June 1944 and August 1944 led to the Allied Liberation of western Europe from the Nazi.

The operation named, Operation Overlord, also known as D-Day involved American, British and Canadian soldiers landing on Normandy beach.

On that day, at least 156,000 soldiers landed on five beaches along the heavily fortified coast.

There were 6,939 ships and landing vessels, and 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders that delivered airborne troops.

The towns of Caen, Cherbourg, Carentan, Falaise and other towns suffered many casualties during this battle. This continued until the Falaise gap between Chambois and Mont Ormel was closed.

The rest of Normandy was liberated on 9 May 1945 at the end of the war, when the Occupation of the Channel Islands successfully ended.

2. A deceptive campaign was conducted targeting the Germans

Before D-Day, the Allied forces carried a false campaign to deceive the Germans about the invasion.

The campaign that was carried out involved tricking the Nazi forces that the attack would start Pas-de-Calais a coastline close to England.

This was done through fake radio transmissions, double agents, and a phantom army. They also lied about including Norway in their line of invasion thereby distracting the Germans. These tactics succeeded in deceiving the Germans who were caught off guard.

The Allied forces were able to defeat the Nazi forces by the end of August 1944 and France was liberated.

3. Normandy was once a Roman territory

Normandy was once occupied by the Romans who had occupied and developed the land through developing roads and introducing a policy of urbanization.

Historians have found out that there were several Gallo-Roman Villas in the Normandy region. Parts of the villa remains were found along the Seine-Maritime route.

The house plans were laid out according to two major plans common with the Romans. The features of the first houses were tall and slender with their façade facing the south.

The second plan was similar to Italian Villas that were organized around a square courtyard. These can still be found at Saint Marguerite Sur Mer.

The Romans used local materials such as limestone, chalk, brick and cob. They are the ones who introduced the design of the half-timbered house together with Celtic huts. The heating systems of these villas relied on the Roman hypocaust.

The temples of Evreux made the town an important pilgrimage site. It has several Roman forums, Roman baths, a basilica, and a Gallic theatre.

The roman empire fell at around 476 BC.

4. Agriculture was the main economic activity in Normandy

By Wikimedia Commons

If you have been to Normandy then you know that agriculture still supports the economy of the region. The region produced wheat, linen, apples, cider among other produce.

Other economic activities included weaving, metallurgy, sugar refining, shipbuilding and the making of ceramics, you can find a ceramic museum in Giverny.

Agriculture continued to be important but was disrupted in the 1780s after an economic crisis of the Ancien Regime leading to the French Revolution.

The region experienced some bad harvests which affected the economy of the province. They signed up on the Eden agreement in 1786 which led unemployment and many Normans worked under poor conditions.

There was an economic revival after the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. New economic activities included tourism which has flourished to date.

5. Historical sites in Normandy

There are several historical sites in Normandy, thanks to the events that happened here. One of the most popular sites includes the D-Day beaches. This is where the largest military landing happened in 1944.

Along the beaches, you will find monuments, museums, bunkers and cemeteries that commemorate the battle of Normandy.

Bayeux was the first beach town in Normandy to be liberated by the allied forces. The town has a beautiful cathedral, a museum with the 200-foot long Bayeux tapestry that depicts the tale of William the conqueror’s expedition to England in the 11th century.

Another important site is the Caen War memorial that takes the visitors through the 20th-century journey of WWII and cold war. This is a good place to visit to understand the history of Normandy.

6. Normandy had some of the greatest Dukes

By Myrabella – Wikimedia

During the Middle Ages, Normandy was one of the greatest dukedoms that rivalled the power and prestige of the kingdom of France. The dukes of Normandy achieved the same status as the kings of France, to whom they owed allegiance.

The first duke was William the conqueror, who was the nephew of England’s King Edward the confessor.

William was meant to take after King Edward but he was objected by his cousin Harold. He, therefore, invaded England in 1066. More of their story is told at the Bayeux Tapestry.

The dukes strengthened Normandy’s status as well as maintaining a good relationship with the Kings of France. They ensured that Normandy had their own money, justice system and levied taxes.

The dukes had their armies and archdiocese and were independent of the French kingdom, they paid homage to each new monarch.

7. The most beautiful abbey is found in Normandy

By W. Bulach – Wikimedia

You must have heard of Mont Saint Michel; it is an enchanting Abbey perched on a 264-foot high rocky island connected to mainland France by a boardwalk. The abbey is surrounded by half a mile of massive walls. To get to the abbey, you will have to climb a series of steep stairs.

This is the second most visited site in France after the Eiffel Tower. This building was built after St. Michel got a vision from an angel to build an abbey. It has served as a church and a prison too.

The tides here are said to be the highest and the most dangerous in Europe. When the tides come in, the speed sounds like hundreds of dashing horses. This worked to the advantage of the abbey because it was never invaded.

8. Normandy has the best culinary experience

When in Normandy, rest assured that you can have the best dining experience in the whole of France. The region has more than 38 Michelin star chefs and restaurants.

This province of France is known for its cheese, naturally salted lamb from the meadows and Calvados. If you happen to be in Livarot, be sure to sample their famous cheese going by the same name.

The other famous cheese from this region includes Camembert, Pont l’Evêque and Pavé d’Auge.

They are paired with a glass of sweet and crisp apple cider. These can be found at the Fromageries where they show how the cheese is produced and preserved. You can also buy some from their shops.

Something else to sample is their fresh fish and seafood.

9. Upper Normandy offers a tranquil holiday destination

By Gzzz – Wikimedia

If you are planning a vacation to the Normandy region and are looking to have a quiet holiday, head over to the Upper region.

This region has beautiful coastlines and tranquil countryside. The seaside is made up of a 600 kilometre stretch of beautiful limestone cliffs, pebbly coves and golden sand on the beach; perfect for a holiday.

There are several family resorts along the Cherbourg peninsula, Deauville, Trouville and Cabourg. The countryside of this region has forests with lazy streams flowing into the agricultural lands.

You will also find horse stables, get to ride, feed and groom them.

10. Normandy has more than 15 heritage sites

By Peter K Burian – Wikimedia

The culture of Normandy stands out in the whole of France. It is also rich with a history of great mean like William the Conqueror to the marks left after Normandy invasion.

The region has the majority of the World Heritage sites in France. The country is also seeking to recognize World War II beaches as World Heritage sites.