Weekend getaway in Normandy

Mid-winter, three days of holidays for the New Year, the need to change of scenery not far away and at a low cost? We chose Normandy! Yep, even in winter this region can be discovered under a new light! Located in the west of France and just a three-drive away from Lille, we packed out things and got on a getaway to Normandy.

Day 1 in Normandy: Fécamp, Etretat, Le Havre

We hit the road early in the morning, through the speedway towards Upper Normady (Haute-Normandie) and stopped first in Fécamp. As this is a tolled motorway, you may want to offer a Blablacar ride to share your expenses.

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Once arrived in the little town of Fécamp, we parked our car directly next to dyke so we could be closer to the cliffs! Yes, our aim here was to walk and enjoy the views, rather than visiting museums or shops. That’s why we walked our way over the dyke to the impressive cliffs. The view is just magnificent, we’ll just let you judge by yourselves from the pictures below! Even if the day was kind of grey and wet, we loved this natural place!

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If you’re looking for things to visit in this town, probably the most famous one is the Benedictine Palace, where you’ll visit the palace and finish tasting a nice glass of their famous Benedictine liquor; and there’s also the Triniy Abbey next to the harbour. Fécamp is specially known for hiking, though!

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After a blast of fresh air, we went 16 km further to Etretat, ancient fishermen’s town that has become a sea resort, typical of this area known as Pays de Caux. We really appreciated this little coastal town where you won’t find houses near the seafront.

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It’s a charming place, with it’s old indoor market and the beautiful typical wooden houses.

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Once again, it’s rather a natural and wild area, and if you get to the top of the cliffs you’ll have a breathtaking view over the town and the coast. It’s also known for hiking!

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In the little town, you’ll find restaurants in the old streets. We can’t recommend you anything in particular, though, as we escaped from the tourists and went for a picnic in the outskirts of the town and into the wild.

For the evening we chose the B&B Hotel in Le Havre, correct and well situated (hotel). But before that we went to see the sunset by the seafront of this city that we didn’t know yet. It’s a really large beach and the views of the sea are just beautiful.

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And for dinner, well it was New Year’s Day so everything typical was closed. We decided to eat some (really good) sushi at Japon Samouraï in Le Havre’s downtown.

Day 2: Deauville, Honfleur.

 After a good night’s sleep, we got on our way to Deauville, a great sea resort, very known for the Normandy Bridge – just for info, it’s a tolled bridge that you’ll pay twice: first 5€ for crossing the bridge and then 50 more cents 10 km later when leaving the motorway.

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Deauville is famous for its casino, the palaces, the houses and also its American cinema festival. It’s also one of the best-known sea resorts in France. Anaïs wanted to show this place to Alberto, not  because of its luxury but just because it’s a charming place. We walked the way of American cinema before arriving to the harbour and then we strolled for a while in the town center.

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That day we had breakfast at Morny’s Café, a nice restaurant with affordable prices – considering we were in Deauville.

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In the afternoon we continued our way to Honfleur, a really cute village! It’s known for its picturesque old harbour, which was painted by great artists like E Boudin ou C Monet.

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The best is to get lost in the tiny old streets and not to follow any guide! You’ll certainly find charming typical houses! We had a coffee at Café G’ours’mandise, a place with a cozy atmosphere that we highly recommend.

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And before leaving we tasted the local sweet specialty, the “kouignettes”, at Georges Larnicol, named best artisan in France! A real delight.

Day 3: Veules les Roses, Dieppe.

The next day, we set off in the direction of Lille but with the intention of visiting a couple of places on our way. Our first stop was Veules les Roses, a little village by the sea. You may want to follow the tiny La Veule river, and you’ll find cool houses!

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There’s also a huge beach if you fancy a walk. And if you want a hidden gem: over the hills there’s an old WWII bunker: get on top of it to enjoy a breathtaking view over the beach and the village!

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To put an end to our getaway, we went for lunch in Dieppe. It’s a beautiful city that still preserves its harbour and fortified gate “Les Tourelles”, the last of the 14-century walls still intact. There’s also a castle over the city which today serves as a museum.

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Right next to the beach there’s a spa and a bike lane. We chose to avoid the town center and decided to look for a restaurant near the harbour, where you’ll find several places offering seafruit and nice views over the boats. We tried our luck at Brasserie Le Nautic, and it was correct but nothing else.

And that was it! End of the weekend, back to Lille.

We hope you liked our weekend getaway. If you know more places in Normandy, please share them with us!

Helpful hints

  • If it’s winter, take warm clothes and a windbraker, as well as rainboots. This is a very wet and windy area!
  • Get off the beaten paths and get lost, it’s the best!
  • Move around in a car so you’ll have enough freedom to stop wherever you feel like it, and take some impressive pictures.
  • In general, the towns and villages are rather small, so plan a half-day stay for each.
  • The day we visited Honfleur, the Boudin museum was closed for renovations. As it’s probably the main attraction in the town, you may want to check their website before going!

Miam Yummy Yummy

Honestly, with its Camembert cheese, seafood, oysters, scallops and desserts like the delicious “kouignettes” in Honfleur, we really enjoyed ourselves! Normandy is an excellent region for all foodies!

Positive
Negative
- The typical houses are truly charming.
- The superb landscape.

- The wild side and the impressive cliffs.
- The fresh air from the sea to give you a rush of energy.
- All that seafood!
- It's quite touristy.
- The humidity and the cold can be too much for some people.
- The need to move all the time as the towns and villages are rather small.
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