Normandy has been on our wishlist for a long time, finally in the summer of 2021 we can set out to discover it.
Once off the plane, we board a rental car to start our journey. Uncontaminated fields with grazing cows and sheep, huge bales of hay that dot the landscape and some small towns – apparently uninhabited and characterized by asymmetrical windows – accompany us to the first stop.
Lyons La Foret
In the heart of the beech forest opens the small village of Lyons la Foret, an enchanting market square dating back to the 18th century overlooked by hotels, typical restaurants and small shops. The fountain in the center of the market, the old wooden buildings and the sharp sloping roofs make this small Norman village unique.
The town is busy with the local product-market. Even if the sky is grey one can breath a lively air.
Abbey of Mortemer
Not far from this enchanted place there is another, that of the cistercian Abbey of Mortermer.
The ruins of the abbey built in 1134 rise in a bucolic atmosphere among small ponds, ducks and rich vegetation. The perfect place to take a relaxing walk.
The first real pit stop, however, we do it in the famous city of Rouen, full of Gothic churches, bell towers and cobbled streets, as well as the city where the martyrdom of the fearless Joan of Arc took place.
On a relaxed early summer afternoon we arrive in Rouen with a somewhat gray sky, the city celebrates its historical heroine with towers, museums and with the Eglise Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc, but there are also other famous places such as the Cathedral of Notre-Dame which inspired Monet and the famous Gros-Horloge nestled between the ancient buildings of the main street.
The church of Saint Maclou stands out with its Gothic spiers and the tower and flying buttresses of the Abbey Church of Saint Ouen, imposing and majestic more than the more famous Notre-Dame of Paris, overlooking a large garden where locals relax on the evening.
We stay only one night in the city and sleep in a comfortable mini-apartment called “Studios Les Medicis” in the heart of the city.
The next morning we are ready to leave for Fécamp.
The ancient fishing town, famous for cod fishing, has developed over the centuries to become an accredited port. Walking through the old fishermen’s houses overlooking the sea and the innermost ones bordering it, we arrive at Il Palais Bénédictine, an old red brick building with a characteristic architecture in which the liqueur of the same name has been produced for over a century.
The port is flanked by a splendid pebble beach and the marvelous cliffs that characterize the area. For lunch we move to Yport, another very small port city, where we have lunch on the beach among surfers, the sun and an intense wind. We walk, take photos and carefully observe the seaside architecture.
The sea air, the sound of seagulls and the placid relaxation of the early afternoon lull us into a unique atmosphere, before leaving for Etretat.
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