Explore charming Normandy by Car in 6 Days

February 3, 2022

Highlights of this trip include:

  • Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel
  • Honfleur, a stunning harbor town that inspired Monet, Satie and many others
  • The famous 70-meter long Bayeux tapestry from the 11th century
  • D-Day Beaches
  • Joan of Arc’s memorial in Rouen
  • Modernist Le Havre
  • Hotel suggestions

Day 1: Dieppe and the Alabaster Coast

The drive from Dieppe to your destination–Le Havre, is about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Start your exploration of Normandy at Dieppe and consider some of these interesting places to visit:

  • Château de Dieppe– a 15th century castle which houses some interesting objects from the time that France traded ivory with Guinea.
  • Le Pont Colbert– the oldest swinging bridge in the world. If you cross over to the other side you will find Le Pollet, a picturesque neighborhood worth seeing.
  • The harbor front with loads of cafes and restaurants.

Continue your way along the Côte d’Albâtre – a coastline made famous by Claude Monet.

The Coastline in Monet’s time
The coastline today

Stop for a sunset picnic on the coast near Veules-les-Roses and continue to your next port of call: Le Havre

Overnight in Le Havre. Hotel suggestions below:

Splurge: Hilton Garden Inn (Around EUR 120)

Boutique: Les Chambres du Chat Perché (Around EUR 82)

Medium: Le Maritime (Around EUR 75)

Budget: Premiere Classe Le Havre Centre (Around EUR 54)

Day 2: Modernist Le Havre and Picturesque Honfleur

The drive from Le Havre to your end destination–Trouville, is around 1 hour.

UNESCO inscribed Le Havre as a world heritage site in 2005, due to the modernist architecture used in the reconstruction after World War II. The architect was Auguste Perret.

Be sure to pop into the stunning St Joseph’s church which was completed in 1964.

Onwards to Honfleur! It is a stunningly beautiful town on the southern bank of the Seine estuary just across from Le Havre. Do not miss this!

Enjoy a traditional buckwheat pancake (galette) at the picturesque port. Monet, Courbet and Boudin felt inspired here and so were we!

After lunch pop into the eccentric composer, Eric Satie’s house.

From Honfleur take the road down the Côte Fleurie, through affluent villages boasting enormous villas and châteaux, until you end up in Trouville!

Overnight in Trouville. Hotel suggestions below:

Splurge: Cures Marine Trouville (Around EUR 220)

Boutique: Le Manoir Normand (Around EUR 118)

Medium: Hotel Le Trouville (Around EUR 80)

Budget: Ibis Budget Deauville (Around EUR 52)

Day 3: The D-Day Beaches

Driving directly from Trouville to Bayeux takes approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Caen

After breakfast drive to Caen to visit the Memorial museum. Under the museum you will find the command bunker of General Richter who was responsible for defending the beaches on D-day.

Pegasus Bridge

Make a stop at Pegasus Bridge. Captured by British Airborne troops on D-Day. Have you seen ‘The Longest Day’?

Sword Beach

Sword Beach is the first of the landing beaches on the itinerary. Little remnants are left of the assault by the British 6th Infantry Division.

Juno, Gold & Arromanches-les-Bains

In Arromanches, one can see the remnants of a Mulberry harbor, created by sinking caissons in the sea. It was crucial to the invasion- 2.5 million men, 500 000 vehicles, and over 4 million ton of supplies were landed at the beach.

Omaha Beach

The heaviest fighting on D-Day took place on this idyllic beach, as it was well fortified by the Germans.

Pointe du Hoc

Linking Utah and Omaha beaches, this promontory needed to be taken, also because of a battery with 6 155mm. guns, which could wreck havoc on landing troops. US Army Rangers captured the location after scaling the 30m. cliff, only to find that the guns had been relocated inland.

The American Cemetery

The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach, contains the remains of 9,387 American soldiers who died during the fighting of Normandy.

Overnight in Bayeux. Hotel suggestions below:

Splurge: Chateau de Bellefontaine (EUR 170)

Boutique: Chateau Saint-Gilles (EUR 140)

Medium: Hotel d’Argouges (EUR 84)

Budget: Ibis Budget Bayeux (EUR 46)

Day 4: Bayeux Tapestry and Saint Malo

The drive from Bayeux to Saint Malo takes between 2-3 hours.

Since you will be visiting Mont-Saint-Michel on day 5, Saint Malo is a great place to overnight. Another alternative is Rennes.

Explore the lovely old town, the cathedral, and visit the Bayeux Tapestry. The 70-meter tapestry from the 11th century depicts the conquest of England by William the Conquerer, Duke of Normandy, in 1066.

We suggest Saint Malo for an overnight stay. It is scenic place to spend the evening and it is also only an hour drive away from Mont-Saint-Michel.

Overnight in Saint Malo.

Splurge: Grand Hotel des Thermes (EUR 228)

Boutique: La Haute Flourie (EUR 82)

Medium: Hotel La Porte Saint Pierre (EUR 87)

Budget: Ibis Budget St Malo Centre (EUR 48)

Day 5: Mont-Saint-Michel

The drive from Saint Malo to Mont-Saint-Michel takes around 1 hour.

From Mont-Saint-Michel to your end destination: Rouen, expect around 3 hours‘ drive.

Your main activity for the day will be to a visit to the spectacular Mont-Saint-Michel! It can easily be done in 3-5 hours and the entry into the village is free.

There is a parking area for Mont-Saint-Michel on the mainland. Outside the tourist information station you will find the free shuttle bus service which will take you to Mont-Saint-Michel in about 12 minutes.

Opening hours November-March: 10am-5pm; July-August: 9:30am-7pm.

Entry into the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel -11 Euro for adults, 8 Euro for 18-25 year olds, free for children under 18, EU citizens and permanent residents of France up to age 25.

Tickets for the Abbey are available at the Abbey entrance but the queue can be long. Alternatively get them below and skip the line!

Before you go, read up about the tides. Both high and low tides have their advantages for beautiful photos. When you visit make sure to wear comfortable shoes, because there are lots of stairs to climb. Do try to sample one of Mont-Saint-Michel’s famous crepes or omelets!

After stretching your legs at Mont Saint Michel, buckle up for your drive to Rouen!

Overnight in Rouen. Hotel suggestions below:

Splurge: Hotel de Bourgtheroulde (EUR 215)

Boutique: L’Autel (EUR 325)

Medium: Best Western Plus Hotel de Dieppe 1880 (EUR 108)

Budget: Hotel du Palais (EUR 53)

Day 6: Rouen and the Jumièges Ruins

Spend the morning in Rouen visiting top sites such as The Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Historial Jeanne d’ Arc and the Musee des Beaux Arts.

Cathedrale Notre-Dame

In the afternoon visit Jumièges Abbey. The drive from Rouen to the Abbey takes about 30 minutes.

For more information about their opening hours etc. you can find their website here.

Jumièges has been called France’s most beautiful ruin. Indeed it is a place for contemplation and taking memorable photos!

If you return to Rouen, we’d recommend dinner at La Petite Auberge! It is an atmospheric restaurant with affordable delicious food. Check out their website and menus here.

Bellies full and hearts filled with fantastic memories — what a nice way to end off your trip in Normandy!

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this itinerary dear readers. If you are looking for more itineraries in France, check out this great Occitania and Andorra Roadtrip in 7 days.

Sincerely,
Elaine

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