The Discoverer
The Discoverer
Edition 104   |   3:37 read time
Deauville, France | @romainberrier
Calvados sits along the picturesque Normandy coast, and if you only know the region for its namesake apple brandy, you’re missing out. Home to dozens of charming villages and medieval cities, this French department is a vacationer’s dream. From miles of sandy beaches to bustling cities to a heap of history, Calvados is one region you’ll want to savor.
Fun Fact:
William the Conqueror, the first Norman king of England, was born in Falaise Castle, outside of Caen, and grew up in the Calvados region of Normandy.
#calvados | funky-data
Summertime brings the crowds to Calvados’ beaches and cities, so plan your visit in the spring. While you’ll encounter cooler temperatures, there will be less rain and more chances to see everything you want unencumbered by large crowds.
Château de Caen | @gameofstrolls
Headed Straight for the Castle
Normandy is littered with historical cathedrals, castles and chateaus, and while the region’s most famous attraction, Mont St-Michel, lies in the south, Calvados is home to its own slew of stunning spots. Wander the walls of Château de Caen, one of the largest castles in Europe, snapping pics of the nearby Abbaye aux Dames and Abbaye aux Hommes. Then head to Falaise Castle, birthplace of William the Conqueror, for even more medieval history.
Étretat | @vitor.esteves
Follow the Coast
Calvados is home to several miles of beaches, but it’s best known for the Côte Fleurie, the Flower Coast, a 40-mile stretch of coastline that draws much of France’s summer crowds each season. Dotted with coastal villages, wide sandy stretches and picturesque cliffs, the coastline has a little bit of everything. From the stylish resort town of Deauville to the chic streets of Cabourg and the little villages between, there’s plenty to see and do. And if it’s views you’re after, drive up north to Les Falaises d'Etretat — a scenic collection of white cliffs with dramatic visuals.
Caen, France | @davlupp
Who Tells Your Story
Calvados has a history of stark contrasts. Famed Impressionists like Claude Monet and Eugène Boudin — whose art you can view at the Eugène Boudin Museum in Honfleur — painted incredible works based on the area's quaint seashores. But in a post-WWII world, the region is most known for its part in D-Day, particularly around Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc. This part of the coast is home to commemorative monuments, cemeteries and museums that tell the tales of this historic invasion.
Villerville, Basse-Normandie, France | @french.blessings
Major metropolises from Caen to Honfleur add their own bustling flair to Calvados, but beyond the larger ports of call, there are dozens of small towns and quaint villages to fulfill your countryside dreams. From coastal gems like Villerville to Norman villages like Beuvron, each colorful spot has its own character and charm. The countryside is well known for its apple brandy and apple cider, so take a trip to a distillery to walk the sweet-smelling orchards and learn about this process.
Lauren’s Discovery
"I wasn't expecting to get so emotional at the D-Day beaches. Throughout the villages, they have photos and names of the heroes who served on every street light. When you stand at Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach, it's hard not to cry thinking about how many men died that day."
L'homme De Bois - Honfleur | @colorsforlife75
Raise a Glass
Calvados is home to lush farmland and orchards that yield plenty of local treats, from rich cheese to sweet apples. But the water supplies even more fresh eats, from oysters to whelks and winkles, to keep you satiated. Sip apple brandy at Château du Breuil and cider from Le Clos Cerisey. Try local fare from spots like Restaurant de l’Homme de Bois in Honfleur and Le Bouchon du Vaugueux in Caen. No matter where you go, you’ll be sure to find something fresh and tasty.
Château La Chenevière | @chateaulacheneviere
Charming Chateau
In Calvados, there are accommodation options to fit any genre of fairytale you’re looking for. Want a luxurious seaside escape? Try La Grande Hotel Cabourg. Looking to relax in a rustic setting? Get cozy in the residences of Le Domaine d'Ablon. Need the royal treatment? You can’t go wrong in Château La Chenevière, a 5-star spot in an 18th-century manor. Or, maybe you’re looking to stay in the heart of the action? La Maison de Lucie in Honfleur will put you right where you need to be.
#caen | @delphine.fd
Road Trip
"If possible, rent a car so you can explore at your own pace. We rented a car in Calais and drove down the coast. It was an easy drive (even if you don’t know France’s road signs like me, oops)." – @laurclair
The Discoverer
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