"From the Vikings to the D-Day" Basse-Normandie by Mikebond

Basse-Normandie Travel Guide: 1,677 reviews and 5,338 photos

Everything started from 1066...

The administrative region Basse-Normandie is a part of the historic region of Normandie, the other part is the administrative region Haute-Normandie.
Basse-Normandie consists of three départements:
14 Calvados (Caen);
50 Manche (Saint-Lô);
61 Orne (Alençon).
There are many reasons that can lead a tourist to this region, such as its beautiful sands or its churches. However, most people visit Basse-Normandie for its long, charming, sometimes sad history.
The name of the region dates of the Viking invasion of Northern France: the locals called Vikings Normans, which meant "people fron the North", and modern Normans are really Nordic people: tall, strong, blond and blue-eyed.
However, the first important date in the Norman history is certainly 1066, when William, Duke of Normandie (later called the Conqueror), defeated Harold II, King of the Anglosaxons near Hastings and became King of England with the name of William I.
Most information we have about this event are narrated in the tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde that you can see in Bayeux.

... then priests built churches...

The Middle Ages were an important epoch for Normandie, since many churches were built, mainly in Gothic style, in Caen, Bayeux and other towns. Of course, a tourist must not miss the (too) famous Mont-Saint-Michel with its great abbey. The work of priests made Normandie one of the most important French regions.

... and WWII destroyed most of them

Who in Europe doesn't know the date of 6th June 1944? Very few people, I guess. The landing on Normandie marked the end of Nazism and the beginning of the liberation of the continent. Unfortunately, the Normans had to pay a huge price for freedom: many towns, such as Caen or Le Havre (in Haute-Normandie) were destroyed at 90%. Luckily, they have been rebuilt as well as possible.
The USA also paid a huge price in terms of human lives: many paratrooper were killed by the German soldier even before touching the Norman soil. You can see many of them buried in the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A region full of history and art
  • Cons:none
  • In a nutshell:The daughter of War and Faith
  • Last visit to Basse-Normandie: Aug 2001
  • Intro Updated Feb 24, 2006
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Mikebond

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