The KA Edit Family Travel Guide: Normandy
What a beautiful part of the world.
For those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that we recently visited Normandy as part of a collaboration with Eurocamp. I’ve written about that in a separate post but for now I wanted to share a little Family Travel Guide to visiting Normandy with you.
If you’ve followed any of our travels you probably know that we love a traditional town. We hide away from crowded places. When we travel its a huge priority for us to explore, to get off the beaten track. To find hidden treasures. We aren’t ones to sit still. We all love to seek out little spots that allow you to see the culture in the area that you are visiting, stumbling across pretty streets and places to grab a bite to eat.
Normandy is no exception. It was beautiful. The architecture. The streets. The traditional feel of each town we visited. It actually really surprised us, none more so than being unable to communicate as we spoke very little french. That said we made some great memories on our recent trip and it has definitely opened our eyes to exploring more of France. And so, I give you…
The KA Edit Family Travel Guide: Normandy
Where we stayed
Normandy is quite vast so choosing where to stay could change how much you are free to explore. Many of the local towns you can drive to with ease. On our visit to Normandy we visited 7 towns with the closest being a few minutes away to up to 1 hour. We traveled around by car. We stayed at a Eurocamp site in Houlgate which was a great location for exploring. The perfect base for us. When we researched Normandy – Houlgate felt like a really great central point. Just 30 minutes from Caen and surrounded by small towns and villages oozing of culture.
Perhaps something to consider is that we did struggle to communicate with the locals, almost all didn’t speak English and sadly our French wasn’t quite good enough to converse. Mr H knew some basics but really there was a lot of hand signals and pointing and laughing for all parties. We really struggled when deciphering menu’s in restaurants which actually meant that we chose to BBQ most evenings at our Eurocamp base. Just for ease. Which disappointed me a little as I do love to eat in local restaurants, never mind – it certainly didn’t ruin our trip.
What is there to do in Normandy?
I mentioned that we visited 7 towns; Houlgate, Cabourg, Villers Mer, Honfleur, Deauville, Trouville Sur Mer and Juno. There is no need to feel overwhelmed as the great thing about Normandy is that you don’t need to spend a full day visiting each town. You can easily hop between towns if driving by car. We did just that most days. We enjoyed many hours stomping around the streets of some lovely villages, taking in the views from the beaches, as well as enjoying a glass of wine or two. We even found a Fossil Beach off Houlgate Beach which was a huge moment for George.
We enjoyed drinking coffee in a cafe along the Marina in Honfleur, I felt like I was in my very own Sex & The City moment. So quaint. I loved that the towns all have a different feel. Mostly traditional versus say a more modern Deauville. There are so many pretty streets, Museums and buildings to appreciate. You can quite literally soak up the culture just walking through the streets. Our favourite was Honfleur for it’s prettiness and truly relaxed vibe and Juno for it’s history, being one of the D-Day Landings beaches – Juno Beach. Very moving, I’m so glad we visited and paid our respects.
Where to eat in Normandy?
Let’s face it, the highlight of most French Regions is their fresh fish, and Normandy was no exception. We found it really easy to source food for the BBQ, the butchers and local supermarkets were great for this. It was a little harder to decipher restaurant menu’s due to the language barrier and google translate not quite giving us what we were hoping for. If in doubt try Moules and Frites. Mr H really enjoyed them. I went for the fresh fish or meat salads. George preferred the food we cooked on the BBQ to that in the restaurants. I didn’t really find the menu’s particularly child friendly. That said, they all have pizza or burger.
We were made to believe before we went that we might find places to eat expensive but actually we didn’t find that at all. In each town we visited there were always fresh food stalls or markets that sold the best quiche, fresh sandwiches or meats. I really loved wandering around the market stalls. There are great ones in Honfleur and Houlgate.
Something else to consider, when visiting local shops and some restaurants you do need to be aware of opening times, most close between 1pm and 4pm daily. Not in all places but certainly most. And definitely the not so touristy locations. I guess you could say it’s like a Spanish Siesta. We also noticed a distinct lack of beach bars on the actual beaches, which are really handy when travelling with children, perfect for escaping the heat but also grabbing drinks and a quick bite. The only town where we found them was Trouville Sur Mer.
We loved the ice cream and patisseries. You really are spoiled for choice. The ice cream in Normandy was so good and oh my goodness the caramel flavour was just like eating a piece of fudge. You must try it. It was as they say Delicious. Our favourite meal was at a lovely restaurant along the Marina in Honfleur called Salon de The. The view was lovely and the food so fresh.
All in all, Normandy was pretty special and this trip is definitely one for the memory book. One to remember. The beaches, the cobbled streets, the cheap wine, narrow streets, the macarons and ice cream, the history and of course the downtime together as a family. One for your bucket-list if you enjoy visiting traditional towns.
If going via ferry, the closest port would be Caen and is around 30 minute’s drive to the Eurocamp site where we stayed in Houlgate. It is also easy to get around by bus, we drove around Nomandy in our own car but parking was expensive if you were unable to find free spaces.
I hope you have enjoyed our The KA Edit Family Travel Guide: Normandy. Do look out for a family diary of our stay at the Eurocamp site.