7-Day Normandy Road Trip Itinerary

When mapping out your Normandy Road Trip Itinerary, considering your mode of transportation is paramount. Opting for a car gives you the flexibility to explore the region’s hidden gems at your own pace.

However, for those preferring public transport, combining bus and train services from Paris to Normandy is feasible, although less convenient for reaching off-the-beaten-path locations.

SeasonWeather ProsWeather Cons
SpringMild, fewer crowdsRainy periods
SummerWarm, ideal for beachesTourist peak season
WinterQuaint Christmas marketsShorter days, cold

Crafting your itinerary based on seasonal weather is key. The sweet spot for a road trip in Normandy falls between late spring and early autumn, offering a balance of pleasant weather and manageable tourist numbers.

Daily Itinerary Overview:

  • Day 1: Depart from Paris; visit Monet’s Gardens and castle ruins; overnight in Rouen.
  • Day 2: Discover Etretat’s cliffs, stroll through Honfleur, and relax in Deauville.
  • Day 3: Take the Cider Route day trip.
  • Day 4: Return to Deauville; savor lunch at iconic markets, followed by beach time.
  • Day 5: Head to Bayeux; tour the D-Day beaches.
  • Day 6: Visit the mesmerizing Mont St Michel.
  • Day 7: Culminate with a stay at a chateau hotel.

Ensure your Europe travel documentation is in order, as France has specific entry requirements. Always carry your driver’s license, and familiarize yourself with local driving regulations for a smooth journey.

Remember, the charm of a road trip lies not only in the destinations but in the adventure between each stop.

Caen Normandy

Itinerary Day 1: Arrival in Normandy

Your journey begins with the rich historical tapestry of Normandy. Specifically, you’ll start in the city of Caen, known for its pivotal role in WWII and its wealth of art and history.

Exploring Caen

Upon your arrival in Caen, your first day is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the region’s compelling history. Caen itself survived the ravages of the D-Day invasions and now offers a plethora of historical sites:

  • Mémorial de Caen: This impactful museum is dedicated to peace and reflects on WWII and the D-Day landings. Plan to spend 2-3 hours here to fully absorb the exhibits.
  • L’Abbaye-aux-Hommes: A stunning example of Norman architecture that houses the tomb of William the Conqueror.
  • Caen Castle is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe. It offers panoramic views of the city and an insight into Normandy’s past.

For accommodations, you have a wide selection ranging from quaint B&Bs to luxurious hotels. Secure a place to stay that is conveniently located, as Caen serves as an excellent base for exploring nearby D-Day Beaches. Prioritize comfort to ensure you’re well-rested for the days ahead.

Take the evening to stroll through the city’s streets, perhaps enjoying local Norman cuisine at a traditional brasserie. Rest up: your itinerary over the next six days is full of exploration and discovery.

Itinerary Day 2: World War II History

Normandy D-Day Beaches

Your second day is a profound journey back in time, exploring the pivotal sites of the World War II D-Day Landings. Your itinerary will cover the iconic Beaches of Normandy and the hallowed grounds of the American Cemetery alongside the historic town of Bayeux.

The Beaches of Normandy

Start your morning with a visit to Omaha Beach, a site where American forces landed on June 6, 1944. Here, the remnants of the Atlantic Wall constructed by the German forces still linger. Take a moment to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice that characterized the D-Day Landings.

Next, head to Utah Beach, which offers a more contemplative space with fewer crowds. Nearby, Pointe du Hoc, a strategic high point between Omaha and Utah beaches, showcases bomb craters and preserved fortifications that boldly illustrate the war’s intensity.

  • Omaha Beach
    • Reflect on the valor demonstrated during the landings
    • Explore wartime remnants and memorials
  • Utah Beach
    • A quieter location for contemplation
    • Visit the Utah Beach Museum for deeper insight
  • Pointe du Hoc
    • Observe the original fortifications
    • Witness the landscape scarred by conflict

Bayeux and the American Cemetery

American cemetery in Normandy, France

After lunch, make your way to Bayeux. Although not directly involved in the immediate landings, Bayeux was the first French town to be liberated and is home to the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry.

Then, continue to the American Cemetery, situated just north of the town. This sobering site is a tribute to the American soldiers who lost their lives in the Normandy campaign. The cemetery overlooks Omaha Beach, connecting the gravity of the sacrifice to the actual landing site.

Rows of white crosses and Stars of David stretch across manicured lawns, a stark visual that resonates with the cost of freedom.

  • Bayeux
    • Explore the medieval town and the celebrated Bayeux Tapestry
    • Discover the town’s role in post-D-Day events
  • American Cemetery
    • Pay respects to fallen soldiers
    • View the alignment of over 9,000 grave markers

End your day with reflection on the events that shaped modern history while standing in the very places where freedom was fiercely fought for.

Etretat Normandy

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Itinerary Day 3: Artistic Legacy

Honfleur port

As you continue your journey through Normandy, the third day puts you in the footsteps of renowned artists who were captivated by the region’s light and landscape. Today, you’ll visit Honfleur and Le Havre, two towns pivotal to the birth of Impressionism.


In Honfleur, you’ll tread the same cobbled streets that Claude Monet and Eugène Boudin once did. These artists found inspiration in this charming maritime town, and you’ll see why as you explore its picturesque port.

  • Eugène Boudin Museum: Here, you can admire works by Boudin himself. Boudin, who was born in Honfleur, is famed for his depictions of the Normandy sky.
  • Saint Catherine’s Church: This all-wooden church is a marvel of medieval architecture that has stood the test of time, providing a fascinating contrast to the art of Honfleur.

Take a moment to imagine the bustling art scene of the past while gazing at the Vieux Bassin (Old Harbor), a subject in many paintings by Monet and other Impressionists.

Le Havre

A short drive brings you to Le Havre, a city entirely rebuilt after WWII. It is now recognized by UNESCO for its innovative post-war architecture and is a beacon of modernism and renewal.

  • MuMa – Musée d’art moderne André Malraux: As one of France’s most significant art museums, it boasts an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings, second only to the Orsay Museum in Paris.
    • Major Works: Delve into the art on display, which includes masterpieces by Monet, who often painted Le Havre’s seascapes, capturing the transient effects of light and air.

Le Havre’s role in the art world extends to contemporary expressions, which you can witness in its evolving street art and modern galleries. It is a city that celebrates its artistic heritage while constantly looking to the future.

Itinerary Day 4: The Charm of Norman Villages

Etretat with blue skye

On Day 4, immerse yourself in Normandy’s distinct appeal and coastal charm as you discover the striking cliffs of Étretat and the refined architecture and beaches of Deauville.


Your journey through Normandy’s villages begins at Étretat, renowned for its breathtaking white cliffs and natural arches. These geological wonders have inspired artists for centuries and offer you a canvas of natural beauty. Walking along the pebbled beach, you witness the power of nature as the sunlight plays on the limestone formations.

  • Cliffs: Take a cliff-top hike for panoramic views of the Alabaster Coast.
  • Aiguille: Don’t miss the famed needle-like structure, a defining feature of Étretat.


Continuing to Deauville, you encounter a village that captures the elegance of the French coastal lifestyle. Deauville is famed for its grand casino, luxurious hotels, and annual film festival, presenting a slice of culture against the backdrop of its sandy shores.

  • Architecture: Stroll through streets lined with half-timbered buildings, reflecting the region’s architectural heritage.
  • Beaches: Relax on the iconic Les Planches promenade or take to the sandy beach for a leisurely afternoon.
  • Countryside: Beyond the village, explore the lush Norman countryside with its apple orchards and local calvados production.

Itinerary Day 5: Exploring Rouen

Astronomical Clock in Rouen

On the fifth day of your journey, you’ll immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural splendor of Rouen, retracing the steps of Joan of Arc and marveling at landmarks such as the Gros Horloge and the Rouen Cathedral.

Historic Rouen

As you walk through Rouen’s cobbled streets, you’re treading the paths of history. Your first landmark is the Rouen Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen), an impressive example of French Gothic architecture.

Within its walls, the light filters through stained-glass windows, illuminating its exquisite interior. Make a note to see the “Butter Tower,” financed by indulgences for eating butter during Lent.

Next, encounter the Gros Horloge, an astronomical clock that is a testament to the city’s medieval engineering prowess. This ornate timepiece adorns a Renaissance arch stretching over a bustling street and offers tours that reveal a panoramic view of Rouen from its belfry.

A visit to Rouen wouldn’t be complete without paying respects at the historic site where Joan of Arc was martyred.

The modern Church of Saint Joan of Arc and the adjacent market square are poignant reminders of her trial and execution. Here, you’ll find a church that signifies both remembrance and resilience, its sweeping curves and stained glass starkly contrasting with the surrounding older structures.

Rouen’s history is palpable, not just in its buildings but also in the very cobblestones you walk on. Each step takes you back in time, creating a tangible connection to the city’s illustrious past.

Make your day here one of exploration and reflection, capturing the essence of what has been and what continues to thrive in Rouen.

Itinerary Day 6: Mont Saint-Michel

Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel

On day six of your journey, prepare to explore the iconic Mont Saint-Michel, an exceptional UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unique architecture and historical significance.

The Marvel of the West

Mont Saint-Michel, an abbey perched atop a rocky islet, stands as a testament to medieval ingenuity. Referred to as the “Marvel of the West”, its ramparts and spire rise dramatically from the bay waters.

This island commune connects to the mainland via a causeway that becomes surrounded by the tide, creating an enchanting spectacle.

  • Pilgrimage: Historically a major pilgrimage destination, Mont Saint-Michel still captivates visitors with its layered history and spiritual aura. As you make your way up the cobbled streets, you’ll be following the footsteps of countless pilgrims.
  • Architecture: Admire the bold Gothic architecture of the Abbey, where each room reveals a component of the Mont’s multifaceted history. Notice the delicate interplay of light and stone in the Cloisters, and the grandeur of the Refectory.
  • Panoramic Views: Reach the top for panoramic views of the surrounding bay. On a clear day, the spectacle is unrivaled. Gaze out at the sands stretching towards the horizon, and the waters that, during high tide, transform the Mont into an island.
  • Cobbled Streets: Take time to meander through the narrow lanes lined with medieval houses that now host quaint shops and cafés. Each turn offers a new perspective of this living monument.

Remember to check the tide schedule before your visit to Mont Saint-Michel to ensure safe crossing times and the full experience of its natural splendor.

Itinerary Day 7: Calvados and Orne Regions

On your final day, indulge in the renown of the Calvados and Orne regions—a sanctuary for gourmands. Here you will deeply appreciate the heritage of two of France’s most iconic products: Camembert cheese and Lisieux’s spiritual significance.


Immerse yourself in the village of Camembert, where the world-famous cheese originated. Make sure to visit the Maison du Camembert, where you can learn about the rich history and traditional methods of making this creamy, soft cheese. You will discover:

  • Historic Cheese Farms: Tour authentic farms and taste the true Camembert de Normandie AOP, which carries the terroir’s essence.
  • The Cheese-making Process: Learn about the cheese-making process, from raw milk to the final product, a testament to the region’s gastronomic culture.


Lisieux is recognized for its spiritual significance and its wonderous Basilica of St. Thérèse, one of the largest churches built in the 20th century. As you explore the town, consider:

  • Basilica’s Architecture: The basilica’s imposing structure and beautiful mosaics are as spiritually uplifting as they are architecturally significant.
  • Pilgrimage Site: Known as a pilgrimage site, it embraces visitors with a peaceful atmosphere and rich religious history.

Your day in the Calvados and Orne regions offers a symphony of flavors and sights, proudly upholding the soul of Normandy through its cheese, cider, seafood, and storied towns.

Activities and Experiences

During your 7-day escapade through Normandy, you will find a wealth of activities and experiences to enrich your journey. Here’s a distilled guide to what you can look forward to:

  • Day 1 & 2: Starting in Evreux, make your way to Rouen where you can wander through medieval streets and explore historic sites. In Fécamp, you’ll discover stunning cliffside views and have the opportunity to visit the Palais Bénédictine where the famed liqueur is crafted.
  • Day 3 & 4: In Le Havre, mingle with the locals at a bustling market or enjoy contemporary art at the MuMa museum. As you drive to Falaise, the birthplace of William the Conqueror, experience the town’s rich history with a visit to the impressive Château de Falaise.
  • Day 5: Your itinerary takes you to Bayeux, home to the iconic Bayeux Tapestry and close to the tranquil beauty of Normandy’s gardens. Spare some time for a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in nature’s calm.
  • Day 6: Visit the D-Day beaches where history comes alive. It’s not just about sunbathing; the beaches offer reflective walking experiences alongside poignant memorials from WWII.
  • Day 7: For those interested in fishing, the Normandy coastline offers serene spots. Alternatively, follow walking trails for panoramic views and fresh sea air.

Here’s a quick-reference table for the must-visit locations for key activities:

1-2RouenHistorical Walks
3Le HavreArts and Markets
4FalaiseCastle Exploration
5BayeuxGarden Visits
6BeachesWalking, Reflection
7CoastlineFishing, Walking

Remember, Normandy’s rich tapestry of history and natural beauty offers a full spectrum of sensory delights that cater to culture enthusiasts, nature lovers, and history buffs alike.

Gastronomy of Normandy

When embarking on your Normandy road trip, prepare your taste buds for a culinary journey as rich and satisfying as the region’s history. Normandy is a haven for food lovers, boasting renowned specialties that reflect its lush landscapes and maritime heritage.

Cheese: Normandy is synonymous with cheese, and your palate must not miss the creamy, earthy flavors of Camembert, Normandy’s most famous cheese. A visit to the region is incomplete without indulging in this velvety delight that melts in your mouth.

  • Pont-l’Évêque: Indulge in this soft, creamy cheese with a strong aroma, another must-try from the region.
  • Livarot: Known as “The Colonel” for its striped rind, it is one of the oldest Normandy cheeses, offering a pungent taste.

Beverages: Sip on Cider, a sparkling or still beverage with a sweet or dry profile, crafted from the region’s apple orchards. Whether you prefer the bubbly effervescence or the still richness, you’ll find the diversity of Normandy cider tantalizing.

  • Calvados: Aged apple brandy is a signature spirit of Normandy. Sample different aged varieties to discover your preferred balance of sweetness and alcohol warmth.

Seafood: Normandy’s proximity to the channel gifts it with exceptional seafood. You can enjoy:

  • Oysters and mussels fresh from the sea.
  • Indulge in scallops from the Bay of Seine, especially during the cooler months.

Your visit to Normandy will leave you appreciating the region’s skilled craftsmanship in producing gastronomic delights that epitomize the local culture and natural bounty.

Accommodation and Logistics

When planning your 7-day road trip through Normandy, securing accommodation in advance ensures a stress-free experience. You’ll find a range of hotels, from luxury stays like the Hotel de Bourgtheroulde in Rouen, to quaint bed and breakfasts sprinkled across the countryside.

Accommodation Options:

  • Hotels: Consider centralized locations in major towns for convenience.
  • B&Bs: For a local experience, opt for a bed and breakfast.
  • Vacation Rentals: Ideal for longer stays and a home-like atmosphere.

Booking Tips:

  • Book Early: Especially during peak tourist seasons.
  • Compare Prices: Use online platforms for the best deals.
  • Consider Location: Proximity to attractions and public transport saves time.

For logistics, your main modes of travel include air, sea, and road. Starting your journey, you may fly into Paris and rent a car for the utmost flexibility on the road. Ferry services are available for those coming from the UK, with ports like Le Havre as a key entry point.

Transport Tips:

  • Car Rental: Essential for freedom on your itinerary. Book ahead of your trip.
  • Public Transport: Leverages local buses and trains between major stops.
  • Ferries: An option if coming from the UK, check schedules in advance.

Always ensure you have a reliable GPS or updated maps, as rural routes can be challenging to navigate. Your road trip through Normandy promises to be a blend of historical exploration and serene landscapes, with comfort and ease dictated by early planning around accommodation and transport.

Travel Tips and Cultural Insights

When embarking on your Normandy road trip, prepare to immerse yourself in both beauty and history. Normandy is a region that captivates with its landscapes and enriches with its cultural heritage.

  • Tourists: Normandy is well-trodden by tourists, so consider booking key experiences in advance. Summer is peak season, so travel in shoulder months like May or September for a more intimate experience.
Places to VisitSuggested Activities
GivernyVisit Monet’s Gardens
BayeuxExplore Bayeux Cathedral
Le HavreSee Musée des Beaux-Arts
Mont-Saint-MichelWitness the tidal phenomenon
  • Things to Do: Embrace the region’s art by touring the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen. For a touch of nature, Giverny’s gardens are a visual delight, having inspired Monet’s impressionist works.

Cultural Insights:

  • Normandy’s culinary tradition is rich; sample Calvados, a local apple brandy, and enjoy the creamy Camembert cheese.
  • Respect the somber history of the D-Day beaches. Take a guided tour to reflect on the past and gain a deeper understanding.


  • The awe-inspiring architecture of Bayeux Cathedral is a must-see. Its details and historical significance are a testament to the region’s past.
  • Normandy’s natural beauty is on full display along the dramatic cliffs of Étretat and the pastoral countryside.

Remember that Normandy’s allure extends beyond its sights; it’s also about the people you’ll meet and their stories that carry the essence of French culture. Keep your itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneous conversations and encounters.

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