A Drive Through Normandy
Is A Drive Through History

COVID slowed us down for a couple of years, and now a few health issues challenge us.  We're still traveling if not writing about it quite so much. Our goal in 2022 was get to all seven continents in one year... and we did it.

Going forward health issues may not allow us to travel.  No one can take away those memories though.  We hope all of you are well and staying safe... and that you find some inspiration here for YOUR future travels. 

We've done a drive through Normandy on three different occasions. The first time we took Mark's Dad. Whew.

Another time we combined our drive through Normandy with a visit to the Standing Stones at Carnac in Brittany with my sister. The last time we toured the Champagne region and Normandy with friends. I can recommend any of those itineraries.

There is plenty to do in Normandy and driving is easy.

Explore history from William the Conquerer...

...to Joan of Arc...

...to the D-Day Invasion Beaches.

Find little towns and villages filled with half-timbered houses.

Stop and enjoy some crepes or galettes with a sip of calvados.

OK - I know Brittany is really known for their crepes, but Normandy also has it's fair share of creperies and they both make great cider and calvados.

Start Your Drive Through Normandy in Rouen

Rouen is about 80 miles (130 km) from Paris on the A13. It'll take you a couple of hours to get there. Though it is a big city, the historical center is compact and fun.

Rouen Clock Tower - the Gros-Horloge

There are plenty of car parks. We found one near the Place du Vieux Marche (the old Market Square).

It was in this old square that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

(In spite of that morbid fact, this is a great place to grab some bread and cheese and have a picnic. That's what we did.)

Wander up the street and under the large old clock that is in a tower that straddles the street - the Gros-Horloge.

There are lots of cute half-timbered shops to browse in, and plenty of museums to fill your day.

Make your way up to the Cathedrale Notre-Dame. This gothic cathedral was the subject of several of Claude Monet's paintings.

You could spend a couple of days here... or just make a day of it and move on... that's what we did.

Spend A Night In Picturesque Honfleur

The appealing little harbor town of Honfleur is only 37 miles (60 km) from Rouen.

This is a great place to spend the night... get a hotel or B&B in the historic center of town.

Wander through the streets and around the harbor. Sit by the Vieux Bassin (the old Dock)and have a glass of wine with an outdoor dinner.

Honfleur was a meeting place for Impressionist Painters, and it continues to attract artists today, you can wander by and watch them paint.

We thought the Sainte-Catherine Church was interesting. It's an old wooden church that from the inside looks like upside down ships hulls... because it was built by ships' carpenters.

Don't Miss the Bayeux Tapestry

Continue your drive through Normandy to Bayeux. The little city is nice, but what you really want to see is the Bayeux Tapestry.

It's not a tapestry in the sense that I usually think of one.... you know those gorgeous wall hangings you see mostly in castles. The Bayeux Tapestry is only 20 inches wide (50 cm).... but it is 230 feet (70 meters) long -- it tells a long story... a three year long story.

It was embroidered way back then to show the story of how William, Duke of Normandy became William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Bayeux Tapestry tells the three year story of his quest to become King of England.

Now displayed in the Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, it's in a remarkable state of preservation... I mean, think about it... it's almost 1000 years old! Don't be tempted to skip this because it sounds boring... It's not... it's really an amazing record of history.

The Normandy Beaches

The D-Day Invasion Beaches of Normandy are only about 10 miles (16 km) from Bayeux.

Take time to walk the beaches and reflect on what happened there. Visit a museum or two. Stop in the Cemeteries that honor all of the brave soldier that died there. Whew, that'll choke you up.

My Dad survived D-Day plus two, Mark's Dad flew over the beaches in a P46 Thunderbolt. Brings it real close to home!

Remember I told you we took Mark's Dad? All I can say is it was a very emotional day.

Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel France

Mont Saint Michel sits on the border between Normandy and Brittany... it has been claimed by both over the years.

You really need to include it in your drive through Normandy.

The view of this monastery perched high on its rock in the middle of the bay is one of the great sights of France.

It is absolutely beautiful from a distance.

Up close you find you have to run a gauntlet of souvenir shops to get to the top. Never mind... It's worth it. Most tourists visit on day trips. We spent the night on the island, and we recommend you do too. The crowds will go home, and you'll have a different perspective to remember it by.

Willows in Monet's Garden at Giverny

See Monet's Giverny On Your Drive Through Normandy

As you return to Paris on your drive through Normandy, stop in Giverny and walk through the gardens that Monet painted so often.

You can get photos of that green bridge...

those willows...

the water lilies.

How cool is that?

From the sad reflections of war to the exuberant beauty of Monet's garden, a drive through Normandy is a great vacation.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

Return to International Travel Tips l Europe Travel Tips
Hotel and B&B Tips l Packing Lists
Go from Drive Through Normandy to MouseToursTravels Home Page

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.

Timely Tips

Summer Vacation
Travel is fun in the Northern summer... but don't neglect the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year.
Yes, it's winter in South Africa, but that's their dry season. It's a good time to travel there.

Lions stop traffic in Kruger NP South Africa

Sometimes you need to watch rain patterns instead of just seasons to figure the best time to travel...

Whether you're taking a road trip close to home or traveling abroad...

Whether it's summer or winter in your part of the world...
the way you pack can make it all more pleasurable.

Check out all our Packing Lists and Tips.

Need travel ideas?
Things to See in Europe
Africa Calls!
Travel In America

Don't just dream about it...
Start making plans!

Custom Tour Planning List
International Travel Planning Tips
Foreign Is Fun - Not Scary!
Get Your Passports and Visas

And Expect Good Things
There Are Tourist Angels


Search MouseToursTravels
Travel questions or destination info?
Find our answers faster..


We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...

Updated Tips & New Travel Stories

  1. 2022 Travels To All Seven Continents

    After COVID, all seven continents in one year was a worthy goal for our 2022 travels..

    Read More

  2. 2021 Travels - Another COVID Year?

    Our 2021 travels were only domestic. COVID kept us close home. Road trips and a cautious flights but still fun.

    Read More

  3. 2020 Travels - What Travels?

    Our 2020 travels were slim. COVID kept us home too. One trip to the Three Guyanas, but dreaming of travel next year.

    Read More

Two Ways To Like Us!

Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below
Thank You!

More On France

Carnac - Megaliths!
Drive Through Brittany
Drive Through Normandy
Mont Saint Michel
Normandy Beaches

Navigate Our Site

Related Pages
Foreign Rental Car Tips


Road Trip Ideas
Packing for roadtrips

General Information
Worldwide Roadtrips
Foreign Rental Cars
Driving In Foreign Places
Driving On the Left
Toll Roads
What Is A Highway
US Highways
Highways or Backroads
Reading Roadmaps

Know The Rules
International Roadsigns
Traffic Laws Abroad
Autobahn Etiquette
Parking In Cities

RV Stuff

RV Road Trip
Rent An RV
Traveling With An RV
RV Travel In Europe
Sharing An RV

And Just For Fun

Amusing Confusing Roadsigns
Funny Polish Detour Sign
Border Crossings
Document Rental Car Damage

Ready For A New Adventure?

We escape by traveling…
But there are more ways to escape. 
Work on something you LOVE…
With A Website
SBI Teaches You Everything

First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life