Destination Weddings in Normandy
Whether you are looking for the elegance of seaside resorts made famous by impressionist painters or the authentic charm of Normandy’s countryside with its half-timbered houses and farms, Normandy is a lovely location to celebrate your wedding in France. Located in the North West of France, Normandy begins on the coast and moves gently inland following the Seine towards Paris.
Normandy is a land with a rich history of which its residents are justifiably proud. A thousand years ago when one spoke of France they were speaking of the Paris region and Normandy. Three hundred years before that, Normandy was Christianised giving birth to numerous abbeys and monasteries, many of which can still be seen today. Normandy at that time was ruled by a Roman population that conquered the Gallic and Celtic in 56 BC. In 911 AD Vikings invaded Normandy from the coast and settled in the region; their long lasting influence is still visible today through place and family names. These brave explorers became the Normans. In the middle of the 11th century it was a Norman, William the Conqueror who invaded England with a massive army of 50,000 men. A witness to many of the battles led by Richard the Lionhearted in the 12th century and the Hundred Years’ War in the 13th century the landscape today is sprinkled with monuments dating back to these times. The final invasion of this region was in 1944 with the D-Day invasion by the Allied Forces.
If you are looking for a seaside wedding location, the beautiful, 375 mile long coastline provides the perfect backdrop for your ceremony. The shore is quite rugged in certain regions, its beaches covered with round stones and outlined by imposing chalk cliffs. In other areas, a softer landscape is highlighted by sandy beaches. Whether you prefer the dramatic white cliffs along the Alabaster Coast or the famous beaches of the Floral Coast, the warm Gulf Stream currents combined with cool sea breezes in summer as well as the mild temperatures in the winter make this a lovely location year round. The coastline is punctuated by important historical monuments such as the magical Mont Saint Michel, and the beaches invaded by the Allied Forces in World War II as well as lovely resort towns like Deauville along the English Channel, known both for its film festivals and equestrian events. It was on the Norman coast that the first trotting race was held on September 25, 1836. Along Le Côte Fleuri (literally, The Flowered Coast) lie a string of beautiful 19th century resort towns such as Deauville, Villiers sur Mer, Trouville, Honfleur, and Cabourg.
While many flock to the striking beaches, moving inland to the tranquillity of the countryside with its tiny villages, woodlands, shaded valleys and open meadows provides yet another possibility for your marriage in Normandy. Stendhal called the Norman country side an “ocean of greenery”. What a beautiful location to celebrate your French destination wedding!
The Norman countryside is divided in two regions, Upper and Lower Normandy. Both are agricultural regions known for their varied regional products such as cheeses like Camembert and Pont d’Eveque and apple brandy, called Calvados. Farming and fishing have been the backbone of the Norman economy for centuries with the Seine acting as a commercial axis. Here you will discover a rolling countryside of farmland, with its incredible herds of dairy cattle, rustic half-timbered houses and elegant manors. You can visit towns proud of their heritage like Bayeux with its renowned tapestries and lace-making tradition or enjoy walks in the huge wooded National Parks.
The regions that make up what is know as ‘Upper Normandy’, Le Pays de Caux, Le Pays de Bray, Le Vexin Normand, Le Pays d’Ouche and the Seine Valley are characterised by their soft landscapes with broad plateaus, deep pine forests, gurgling streams and rivers, and the sharp cliffs that survey the Seine as it makes its journey from Paris to the sea. This is a region of orchards and pastures. Adding to the ambience are a scattering of medieval castles and abbeys stately witnesses to earlier times.
The part of the Norman countryside known as Lower Normandy is also comprised of many smaller areas. One of the most striking features of this region is the huge 62,000 acre oak, pine and beech Orne forest which stretches from Alençon to Domfront. This is also the region known as Swiss Normandy. The area is known for its cliffs and rivers, making it a paradise for those who love to climb, canoe, fish, hike and swim. East of the forest is the region known as the Perche, this the region where 300 families emigrated from to found Canada in the 17th Century. This is horse country, the region of Argentan is famous for its national horse breeding farm, the Haras National du Pin, and many stables. The Pays d’Auge with its little valleys, plethora of striking monuments and mild climate is yet another, beautiful area of Normandy.
An exciting and varied region of France, easily accessible from Paris, Normandy is fascinating and romantic. Whether you choose a location on the shore or inland, Normandy is it the ideal setting for your wedding in France.