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Things to do and to see in Normandy and Brittany on a road trip

Discover the best itinerary and the top things to do in Normandy and Brittany in France and other must-see places in the area on a road trip.

sunset in normandy and brittany

Normandy and Brittany have always been at the top of my bucket list. For those who like landscape photography or want to spend a few days chilling out, Normandy and Brittany are simply perfect. They offer breathtaking views, beautiful villages, great history, and incredible people. Not to mention the great food…

So the first time I had the chance, I decided to drive from my hometown in northern Italy to Normandy and Brittany, exploring France’s countryside for about 10 days.

If you plan to visit Normandy and Brittany, I suggest you do so by car. If you want to rent a car, I recommend Auto Europe. It’s a search engine for car rentals present in over 180 countries that allows you to compare companies for the best rates. Some advantages of Auto Europe over its competitors are the free cancellation policy until 48 hours before pickup and the lack of credit card or booking fees.

Renting a car will give you a lot of freedom and stop wherever you want. And I bet you will! You will see some amazing landscapes that cannot be discovered by bus or train.

Useful info about Normandy and Brittany

best itinerary in normandy and brittany

Most probably, the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Normandy is D-Day and the beaches where thousands of soldiers lost their lives during the Second World War. But Normandy is much more. Together with Brittany, they form one of the most fascinating areas in Europe.

Majestic hills, mountain ranges, vast beaches, and high cliffs are just some of the wonders of this corner of France. Whether you are passionate about history, a foodie, or are simply looking for a place to relax, one thing is certain: when you get home, you’ll miss Normandy and Brittany for a long time.

When is the best time to visit

vento normandia

The only real downside of these regions is the weather. The area is famous for the frequent downpours and strong winds that lash the coast yearly. Of course, this adds to the atmosphere, but spending your holiday in heavy rain is not fun…

So, if possible, check the weather forecast before you decide when to leave. Remember that even a gloomy sky can suddenly become a clear blue day. The weather changes with impressive speed, so do not despair if you wake up with the rain.

The best time of the year, weatherwise, to visit Normandy and Brittany is between June and August. Keep in mind that in these months you’ll find more tourists.

In this area of France, food is a real lifestyle. Coming from Italy, I love good food. But I fell in love with Normandy and Brittany cuisine. Seafood reigns supreme. And in some places, you can eat oysters and mussels for less money than you would spend in Italy for a pizza in a cheap restaurant.
Coming home hungry is impossible.

If you want cheap accommodation, you can stay in one of the many Chambre d’hotes or book a hotel with

Medieval towns, great food, warm and friendly people, fantastic landscapes: what else do you need? Normandy and Brittany are two of the best places I have visited.

Top things to do on a road trip

sunrise over the cliff of etretat in normandy france

If you are wondering what to do and what to see in Brittany and Normandy, the good news is that you have plenty of places to visit.

One of the most fascinating and well-known places in Normandy is the small village of Etretat. Etretat remained virtually unknown until several painters and writers immortalized the beauty of this fishermen’s village.

Looking at the bright white cliffs at sunrise and sunset, it’s easy to see why Monet visited this place quite often.

cliff in Etretat in southern normandy

Another place worth visiting is the northwest of Normandy. The landscapes there have often been compared to those of Ireland, and it is not difficult to understand why…

Small villages, green meadows, and strong winds characterize the Cap de la Hague. The cliff of Nez de Jobourg, 128 meters high, is the highest in continental Europe and a reserve for seabirds. The road ends in Goury, a small village where you feel like the end of the world. The British Island of Alderney (Aurigny) is only 15 km away and can be seen most of the time.

One of the characteristics of this region is the very powerful high tide. The landscape changes often as the sea recedes and leaves uncovered boulders and rocks that a few minutes before were underwater. This is a factor to keep in mind if you want to go for a walk along the cliffs. Naive tourists often remain trapped on the rocks due to the rapidly rising tide.

low tide normandy and brittany

This sandy beach of Nez de Jobourg didn’t even exist a few minutes earlier.

Driving towards Brittany, you will find the famous Mont Saint-Michel. Honestly, I didn’t like it. There are too many tourists (three million per year) and souvenir shops. Very disappointing.

things to do and to see in normandy and brittany

If you are looking for some original pictures, get out from the crowd of tourists and wander in the green meadow near Mont Saint Michel.

Among the other places that are worth a visit, I would mention Cancale. The town is very nice, like almost every village on the coast, but the main reason to go there is to try a local delicacy: the oysters. Cancale is regarded as the French capital of these mollusks.

A stop here (maybe for lunch) is a must. Immediately afterward, you can head to Saint-Malo, a fortified town that remembers when the British and French constantly fought like kids for a toy. Saint-Malo was a basis for merchant vessels and pirates, whom the local government somehow supported.

The main attractions of this city are the narrow streets of the old town and the massive walls.

saint malo

Where to stay

There are plenty of options in these two regions. The most common is called Chambre d’Hote, or what in English is called Bed & Breakfast.

You can book a room in advance using or

Photography Tips

most beautiful places in normandy and brittany

Honestly, it’s impossible to return home without good shots. The landscapes are so beautiful that sometimes you wouldn’t know what to photograph. For the landscape, it’s better if you have a wide-angle lens, but sometimes, a longer focal length can be useful to isolate the details of the landscape.

A sturdy tripod will help you have sharp pictures even on the windiest days (almost always). A Reverse GND will be very helpful when taking pictures of sunsets and sunrises with the filters. I often use it and a 10-stop ND filter for long exposures. Here, you can find some tips on how to take better travel photos. If you are into double exposure, check out my review of one of the best plugins for Photoshop: Raya Pro.

Whether you are a pro landscape photographer or simply a point-and-shot lover, turn off the camera sometimes and enjoy the beauty of the nature.

Final thoughts

Brittany and Normandy are two diverse provinces in France, but they are equally beautiful. Whether you’re interested in history, good food, or the beauty of nature, Normandy and Brittany will not disappoint you. If you add that the region is still strangely cheap, there are no valid reasons for not going there at least once.

I hope to visit Normandy and Brittany as soon as possible.

honfleur in normandy

Honfleur: a beautiful village in Normandy

Here, you can find more pictures from this trip in Normandy and Brittany. Here you can read about another beautiful province in France: Provence. Here are some ideas for visiting Bruges, which is not too far from Normandy.

8 thoughts on “Things to do and to see in Normandy and Brittany on a road trip”

  1. Carolyn

    Thank you for that! I am now convinced that we will not enter Mont St. Michel, but just admire it from afar (I was there 28 years ago and it was a tourist trap then. My husband has never been but he’s trusting me that going inside is just not worth it. How do you get to that lovely meadow nearby?

    1. Hi Carolyn. I totally agree. If it was a tourist trap then, how much more so now.
      By the way to get to the meadow you can drive along the main road and stop by whenever you want. Copy and past this address in Google maps: 78 Rue du Mont Saint-Michel, 50220 Courtils, Francevery close
      That is not the specific location because I honestly don’t remember where it was, but it’s very close.
      Hope this helps!

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