Upper Normandy

Places To Visit In Upper Normandy

Upper Normandy is in northwest France, and is conveniently near enough to Paris that you can visit this beautiful region on a short weekend trip, or even for a day.

It’s definitely an interesting place. You have a mix of some of the most famous attractions in France: those beautiful Monet pictures that we all know and love, were painted in Giverny, where you can see the Japanese bridge and colourful gardens.

Monet Pictures: The Japanese Bridge, Giverny France

Rouen’s magnificent gothic cathedral is another highlight of this region of France.



Away from these hotspots, however, there are some wonderful places to discover – ruined castles, quaint towns, beautiful coastal walks and fantastic museums are just a few ideas.



The region is also known for its charming colombage architecture – exposed beams with brick and white-washed walls.


Architecture in Normandy

Here are our recommendations for visiting this region and what to see and do.

We also have a map of Normandy which you might find useful when planning your holiday.

Upper Normandy: Popular Spots

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Rouen: the capital of Upper Normandy. The old town has lovely half-timbered homes, and the magnificent gothic cathedral of Notre Dame – a frequent appearance in Monet’s paintings. Joan of Arc was tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1431, in the place du Vieux Marché.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts has some of the best impressionist collections outside of Paris. The museum also has paintings, sculpture and drawings from the 15th century through to the present day.

Monet’s home and beautiful gardens, which inspired the famous waterlily and bridge paintings, are in Giverny, about an hour from either Paris. or Rouen.

Monet Pictures: Waterlilies

The gardens are closed on Mondays.

Fondation Claude Monet
84, rue Claude Monet
27620 Giverny
Téléphone : 02 32 51 28 21
Fax : 02 32 51 54 18
E-mail : contact@fondation-monet.com
Web: www.fondation-monet.com

Another easy day-trip from Rouen is Château Gaillard – a massive ruined castle sitting above the village of Les Andelys and overlooking the Seine; built by Richard the Lionheart in the late 1100s (here is a website with more info.)

Upper Normandy:
the less discovered places

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Outside of Rouen and Giverny, Upper Normandy tends to be less touristy than Lower Normandy, and is a bit more wild and untouched.

If you enjoy hiking or cycling, you might be interested in going to the Côte d’Albâtre (Alabaster Coast). The best town to aim for is Étretat, with amazing white cliffs that have natural archways and a ‘needle’ (these cliffs were painted by Monet and Delacroix!).

The Étretat tourist office has walking trails and rents out bikes. Be very careful though – don’t go too near the edge as they can be fragile; and be wary of the tides.

Étretat Tourist Office
Place Maurice Guillard
Tél. + 33(0)2 35 27 05 21
Fax + 33(0)2 35 28 87 20

The picture book town of Gerberoy has lovely half-timbered homes with flowers bursting out of the garden walls (Gerberoy is called the City of Roses and has a rose festival every June). Gerberoy was the home of the painter Henri Le Sidaner. Technically this town is in Picardie but can easily be reached while you’re in Upper Normandy (about an hours drive from Rouen). The Gerberoy tourism website has photos of the town which shows how gorgeous the flowers are there.

Lyons-la-Forêt is another classical norman village, and was the inspiration for the french novelist Flaubert and composer Ravel. The village is surrounded by a beechwood forest, where the dukes of normandy used to hunt. There are beautiful 17th and 18th century timbered homes here, too; and a country market is held here several times a week.

The ruined abbey at Jumièges, west of Rouen, dates from the 7th century and is in a beautiful setting by the river Seine. The original structure was burned by Vikings in 841; it was rebuilt and consecrated as a Benedictine Abbey in 1067, which William the Conqueror attended. It was damaged again in subsequent wars and during the Revolution…(its a wonder its still standing!).

More Ideas

If you’re interested in seeing more of this region of France, you might like to read our page on Lower Normandy, with tips and suggestions on great places to go.

Normandy Map

More About Normandy France

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