Exploring The Normandy Coastal Route by RV in 6 days
Exploring The Normandy Coastal Route by RV in 6 days

Exploring The Normandy Coastal Route by RV in 6 days


Embark on an unforgettable journey along the breathtaking Normandy Coastal Route, where history, culture, and natural beauty converge to create an unparalleled RV adventure. Nestled along the northern coast of France, Normandy offers a tapestry of stunning landscapes, charming towns, and iconic landmarks waiting to be discovered. From the dramatic cliffs of Étretat to the historic beaches of D-Day, this road trip promises an immersive experience like no other.

Exploring Normandy: A Rich Tapestry of History and Culture

Nestled along the picturesque coastline of northern France, Normandy is a region steeped in history and imbued with natural beauty. From its rolling countryside and charming villages to its dramatic cliffs and historic landmarks, Normandy captivates visitors with its diverse attractions and timeless allure.

Historical Significance

Normandy’s history is as rich as it is varied, with traces of its past visible in every corner of the region. One of its most significant chapters unfolded on June 6, 1944, when Allied forces launched the largest seaborne invasion in history on the beaches of Normandy. The D-Day landings marked a turning point in World War II and forever shaped the course of modern history. Today, visitors can pay tribute to the bravery of those who fought and died on the beaches of Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword, exploring museums, memorials, and preserved bunkers that tell the story of this pivotal moment.

Cultural Heritage

Beyond its wartime legacy, Normandy boasts a rich cultural heritage that spans centuries. The region’s medieval past is evident in its picturesque towns and cities, where half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets transport visitors back in time. Architectural marvels like the Gothic cathedrals of Rouen and Bayeux’s magnificent tapestry showcase the craftsmanship and artistry of bygone eras. Meanwhile, charming fishing villages like Honfleur and Trouville-sur-Mer offer glimpses of traditional Norman life, with bustling harbors, lively markets, and delectable seafood cuisine.

Natural Beauty

Normandy’s natural beauty is equally captivating, with a diverse landscape that ranges from rugged cliffs and sandy beaches to verdant valleys and lush countryside. Along the coast, towering chalk cliffs like those at Étretat and Cap Blanc-Nez provide dramatic backdrops for scenic walks and breathtaking sunsets. Inland, rolling hills dotted with apple orchards and dairy farms offer opportunities for leisurely drives and picnics in the countryside. The Seine River winds its way through the region, flanked by picturesque villages and historic landmarks, while the Cotentin Peninsula boasts rugged coastline and windswept moors waiting to be explored.

Gastronomic Delights

No visit to Normandy would be complete without indulging in its culinary delights, which reflect the region’s agricultural bounty and coastal abundance. Normandy is renowned for its creamy Camembert and pungent Pont-l’Évêque cheeses, which pair perfectly with crusty baguettes and local cider. Seafood lovers will delight in the fresh oysters of Cancale, the plump scallops of Dieppe, and the briny mussels of Barfleur. And no trip to Normandy is complete without sampling its famous apple-based products, from crisp ciders and brandies to buttery tarts and decadent desserts.


Étretat’s Majestic Cliffs

One of Normandy’s most iconic natural wonders, the cliffs of Étretat stand as towering sentinels overlooking the English Channel. Carved by millennia of wind and waves, these dramatic chalk formations have captivated artists and travelers alike for centuries. The most famous landmarks are the breathtaking Arches d’Étretat, natural arches sculpted by the relentless forces of nature. Visitors can embark on scenic coastal walks, tracing the cliff’s edge for unparalleled views of the azure sea below. Whether admiring the sunrise from atop the cliffs or witnessing the fiery hues of sunset casting a golden glow over the landscape, Étretat promises moments of awe-inspiring beauty that linger in the memory long after leaving its shores.

Mont Saint-Michel: A Medieval Marvel

Perched atop a rocky island amidst vast tidal flats, Mont Saint-Michel rises like a mirage from the shores of Normandy. Crowned by a magnificent medieval abbey, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to centuries of architectural ingenuity and religious devotion. Wander through labyrinthine streets lined with ancient houses, chapels, and shops, where every corner reveals a new marvel waiting to be discovered. Ascend to the abbey’s lofty heights for panoramic views of the surrounding bay, where the ebb and flow of the tide create a mesmerizing spectacle. As day turns to dusk, watch in wonder as the island is bathed in the soft glow of twilight, casting a spell of enchantment over all who behold its timeless beauty.

D-Day Beaches and Memorials

Normandy’s coastline bears witness to one of the most pivotal moments in modern history – the Allied landings on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Today, the beaches of Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword stand as solemn reminders of the sacrifices made by thousands of soldiers who fought and died to liberate Europe from tyranny. Visitors can explore the remains of fortified bunkers, crisscrossed by trenches and gun emplacements, and gain insight into the harrowing realities of war. Pay tribute to the fallen at poignant memorials like the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, where row upon row of white crosses stand in silent testament to the price of freedom. Whether tracing the footsteps of history on windswept beaches or reflecting on the human cost of conflict, the D-Day beaches of Normandy offer a profound and poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.

Bayeux Tapestry: A Medieval Masterpiece

Step back in time at the Bayeux Tapestry, a masterpiece of medieval art that tells the epic tale of the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Measuring nearly 70 meters in length, this embroidered masterpiece offers a vivid narrative of battles, betrayals, and conquests that shaped the course of European history. Marvel at the intricacy of the stitch work as you follow the exploits of William the Conqueror and Harold, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, from the shores of Normandy to the fateful clash at Hastings. Housed in the charming town of Bayeux, the tapestry is a testament to the craftsmanship and creativity of generations past, offering a window into the world of medieval Europe that continues to fascinate and inspire to this day.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to embark on a road trip along the Normandy Coastal Route is during the spring and summer months, from April to September. During this time, the weather is mild and conducive to outdoor exploration, with longer daylight hours allowing for maximum sightseeing. However, be prepared for crowds, especially in popular tourist destinations like Mont Saint-Michel and the D-Day beaches.

Key Stops

Honfleur: Quaint Harbor Town

Make a stop in Honfleur, a picturesque harbor town renowned for its colorful waterfront buildings and bustling art scene. Stroll along the Vieux Bassin, where sailboats sway gently in the breeze, or explore the cobbled streets lined with art galleries and cafes. Don’t miss the chance to sample fresh seafood at one of the many waterfront restaurants – the moules marinières are a local specialty.

Bayeux Tapestry: A Medieval Masterpiece

Step back in time at the Bayeux Tapestry, a remarkable piece of medieval art that chronicles the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Marvel at the intricate embroidery as you follow the epic tale of William the Conqueror and Harold, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. The tapestry is housed in the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, located in the charming town of Bayeux.

Route Details

Starting Point: Rouen

Begin your journey in Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, where Gothic cathedrals and half-timbered houses line the winding streets. Take a stroll through the medieval quarter to admire the stunning architecture, or visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts to see works by renowned artists such as Monet and Renoir. Don’t forget to sample the local delicacies, including creamy Camembert cheese and crisp apple cider.

Coastal Drive: Scenic Beauty Awaits

From Rouen, follow the coastal road westward towards Le Havre, passing through charming seaside villages and rolling countryside along the way. Take your time to soak in the stunning vistas of cliffs, beaches, and quaint harbors that define this picturesque region. Be sure to stop frequently to explore hidden coves, sample fresh seafood, and capture memorable photos of the breathtaking scenery.

Route and Itinerary: Exploring the Best of Normandy

Day 1: Rouen to Étretat

  • Morning: Begin your journey in Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy. Explore the Gothic splendor of Rouen Cathedral and wander through the medieval quarter, home to the famous Gros-Horloge clock.
  • Afternoon: Depart Rouen and head northwest towards the coastal town of Étretat. Along the way, make a stop at Château de Beaumesnil, a stunning Renaissance castle surrounded by picturesque gardens.
  • Evening: Arrive in Étretat in time to witness the sunset from the cliffs overlooking the English Channel. Stroll along the coastal path to admire the iconic Arches d’Étretat illuminated by the golden hues of twilight.

Day 2: Étretat to Honfleur

  • Morning: Spend the morning exploring Étretat’s famous cliffs up close. Take a boat tour to see the formations from a different perspective or venture down to the pebble beach for a refreshing swim.
  • Afternoon: Depart Étretat and follow the scenic coastal road to Honfleur. Along the way, make a stop at the Alabaster Coast to admire the rugged beauty of Cap Fagnet and the Varengeville-sur-Mer gardens.
  • Evening: Arrive in Honfleur and explore the charming harbor town, known for its picturesque waterfront, art galleries, and seafood restaurants. Don’t miss the chance to sample fresh oysters at one of the local markets.

Day 3: Honfleur to Bayeux

  • Morning: Depart Honfleur and head inland towards Bayeux. En route, stop at the Pays d’Auge region to explore charming villages like Beuvron-en-Auge and sample local specialties like cider and Camembert cheese.
  • Afternoon: Arrive in Bayeux and visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum to marvel at this medieval masterpiece. Explore the quaint streets of the town center and visit the magnificent Bayeux Cathedral.
  • Evening: Enjoy dinner at one of Bayeux’s cozy restaurants before retiring to your campervan for the night.

Day 4: Bayeux to Mont Saint-Michel

  • Morning: Depart Bayeux and make your way to Mont Saint-Michel, one of Normandy’s most iconic landmarks. Take a guided tour of the abbey and explore the narrow streets of the island village.
  • Afternoon: After visiting Mont Saint-Michel, head south along the coast towards Granville. Make a stop at the Granville Old Town to explore the medieval ramparts and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.
  • Evening: Find a campsite near Mont Saint-Michel and enjoy a quiet evening overlooking the tidal flats as the sun sets behind the abbey.

Day 5: Mont Saint-Michel to Caen

  • Morning: Depart Mont Saint-Michel and head east towards Caen. Along the way, stop at the picturesque town of Avranches to visit the Jardin des Plantes and enjoy stunning views of the bay.
  • Afternoon: Arrive in Caen and visit the Caen Memorial Museum to learn more about the events of World War II and the Battle of Normandy. Explore the historic city center and visit landmarks like William the Conqueror’s Castle.
  • Evening: Spend the night at a campsite near Caen and enjoy a final evening in Normandy, reflecting on the memories made during your coastal adventure.

Day 6: Departure

  • Morning: Bid farewell to Normandy and begin your journey home, taking with you memories of scenic coastlines, historic landmarks, and warm hospitality. Reflect on the beauty and richness of this captivating region as you drive towards your next adventure.

Additional Stops and Side Trips

While the main itinerary covers some of the key highlights of Normandy, there are numerous additional stops and side trips you can incorporate into your journey for an even more enriching experience:

  • D-Day Beaches Extension: If you have a particular interest in World War II history, consider extending your stay in the area surrounding the D-Day beaches. Visit museums such as the Juno Beach Centre or the Utah Beach Museum to gain deeper insights into the events of June 6, 1944.
  • Cider Route: Normandy is famous for its apple orchards and cider production. Embark on a scenic drive along the Cider Route, stopping at family-run cideries to sample a variety of traditional ciders, pommeau, and calvados (apple brandy).
  • Camembert Trail: Follow the Camembert Trail through the Pays d’Auge region, where you can visit local dairy farms and cheese producers to learn about the history and production of this iconic Norman cheese. Don’t forget to taste some freshly made Camembert along the way!
  • Medieval Towns: Normandy is dotted with charming medieval towns and villages, each with its own unique character and attractions. Consider adding stops in towns like Beuvron-en-Auge, Domfront, and Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei to your itinerary for a glimpse of traditional Norman life.
  • Outdoor Activities: For outdoor enthusiasts, Normandy offers a wealth of recreational opportunities, from hiking and cycling along scenic trails to horseback riding along the coast. Explore the rugged beauty of the Cotentin Peninsula or embark on a kayak excursion along the Seine River for a different perspective of the region.

Flexibility and Exploration

One of the joys of traveling by campervan in Normandy is the freedom to explore at your own pace and deviate from the planned route to discover hidden gems along the way. Be open to spontaneous detours and unexpected encounters, whether it’s stumbling upon a charming village market or stumbling upon a secluded beach perfect for a picnic.

With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, Normandy invites travelers to immerse themselves in its timeless allure and create memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on the ultimate adventure through the heart of Normandy.

Places to Stay with a Campervan

Camping des Falaises (Étretat)

Located just minutes from the iconic cliffs of Étretat, Camping des Falaises offers a convenient and picturesque base for your coastal adventure. Set up camp amidst lush greenery and enjoy amenities such as hot showers, laundry facilities, and a children’s playground. The campsite is within walking distance of the beach and town center, making it the perfect spot to relax and unwind after a day of exploration.

Camping Saint-Michel (Mont Saint-Michel)

For a truly unique camping experience, look no further than Camping Saint-Michel, nestled in the shadow of Mont Saint-Michel itself. Wake up to breathtaking views of the abbey rising majestically above the tidal flats, then spend your days exploring the island commune and surrounding countryside. Facilities include electric hookups, Wi-Fi, and a grocery store, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst the medieval splendor.

Camping Port’land (Port-en-Bessin-Huppain)

Situated on the shores of the English Channel, Camping Port’land offers a tranquil retreat in the heart of Normandy’s scenic coastline. Pitch your campervan overlooking the picturesque harbor of Port-en-Bessin-Huppain and enjoy easy access to sandy beaches, coastal hiking trails, and fresh seafood restaurants. The campsite features modern facilities, including a heated swimming pool, tennis courts, and a bar serving local wines and ciders.

Normandy Coastal Route

Embarking on a road trip along the Normandy Coastal Route is an adventure like no other, where every twist and turn of the road reveals a new and exciting discovery. From the dramatic cliffs of Étretat to the historic beaches of D-Day, this journey offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and immersive experiences. So pack your bags, hit the open road, and prepare to create memories that will last a lifetime. Normandy awaits – are you ready to explore?