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The Normandy Beaches and Coasts

DFDS France Ferrry


The term “Normandy Beaches” conjures up images of heroic landings in occupied France, and yet there is much more to the Normandy coastline than that. Normandy of course stretches north of the Seine estuary at Le Havre, as well as to the west where the invasion beaches with their iconic code names (Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha) are to be found.. Whilst the memory and relics of that era will always be present, there really is so much more to discover in this region and coastline.
Somehow, the Côte d’Alabatre (Alabaster Coast) sounds rather more alluring than the “coast of Seine-Maritime” – the coastline from industrial Le Havre virtually up to the mouth of the Somme. Alabster because of the whiteness of this long expanse of cliffs (130km) which includes the spectacular cliffs at Etretat; the delighful port of Fécamp and the elegant resort and harbour of Dieppe. The views of, and along the cliffs can be spectacular. Further north the landscape flattens out towards the mouth of the River Somme.

11 – 12 April 2020 Cabourg presents the Garden en Fleurs  Festival (see www.cabourg-tourisme.fr, when the town is transformed into a voluptuous garden.

Meanwhile on the southern side of the Seine Estuary we have the Côte Fleurie between Honfleur and Cabourg just east of Caen and the estuary of the river Orne at Ouistreham (Brittany Ferries terminal). Here the emphasis is on the floral nature of the resorts and the coastal hinterland, which tend to be elegant and formal (spas, casinos and gentle walks along the promenade) At Honfleur there is a mini-“Eden Project” – a equatorial biodome called Naturospace where tropical butterflies fly freely through an environment of rare tropical plants.
From Ouistreham to Courseulles-sur-Mer we have the Côte de Nacre (“mother of pearl” coast) for its expanses of fine sand and glorious beaches.
And all this within a few hours of leaving England, and despite being only a little further south, the weather can seem much better!
cliffs at Etretat, Seine MaritimeNormandy is better served by Ferry from the UK now, although the loss of P&O’s Portsmouth to Le Havre and Cherbourg services a few years ago left a big gap. But now DFDS Ferries offer some good alternatives to crossing from Kent, with their network of services from Newhaven to Dieppe and Dover to Calais/Dunkerque. With modern boats and crossing times from 4 hours these routes do offer a less frenetic and less crowded entry to France. Further west Brittany Ferries services from Poole and Portsmouth to Caen (Ouistreham) and Cherbourg are a little longer but also offer a civilised landing in France!


Seine-Maritime departement