Just a hop across the Channel, whether you're looking for some family fun or a relaxing holiday à deux, Normandy will surprise and delight even the most dedicated Francophile. History buffs will discover a rich heritage from William the Conqueror to WWII D-Day sites. Art lovers will recognise the landscape that inspired the Impressionist movement and with miles of lush countryside and pristine coastline, even the most dedicated of foodies will be impressed.
In addition to the year round sites, attractions and colourful local festivities, in 2016 the region will host three major events: the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, Medieval festivals to mark the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and the Normandy Impressionist Festival.
Grand Départ of the Tour de France sets off from the Mont-Saint-Michel
In 2016 the Grand Départ of the world's greatest cycling race returns to France. The setting is the spectacular UNESCO listed Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay which has recently undergone major restoration work. The week prior to the big day will see festivities take place throughout the Manche region of Normandy. The first three stages will take place in the Manche - stage 1 (2nd July) will run from the Mont-Saint-Michel to the D-Day Utah beach, stage 2 (3rd July) will run from Saint-Lô to the port town of Cherbourg along the Côte des Isles. Finally stage 3 (4th July) will set off from the seaside town of Granville.
Medieval festivities to mark the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings
April - December
2016 marks the 950th anniversary of the Norman invasion of England and William the Conqueror's crowning at Westminster. To celebrate this occasion, from April to December, Normandy will step back in time as medieval festivals will take place throughout the region. Medieval street markets, music, dance, theatre, workshops, sound and light shows and special exhibitions will be held in many towns and villages associated with William the Conqueror and his momentous expedition.
2016 Normandy Impressionist Festival
16th April – 26th September
Now an established event in Normandy's cultural calendar, the Festival Normandie Impressionniste returns in 2016 with Impressionist Portraits as its central theme. From April to September, Normandy will come alive to the sight and sound of Impressionism with some 450 different projects showcased throughout the region. Not only will Impressionist masterpieces from around the world be on display but contemporary interpretations of the art movement will be specially commissioned for the festival. The festival will also celebrate Impressionism through music, dance, theatre, literature, sound and light shows and festivities that will take place all over Normandy. www.normandie-impressionniste.eu