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Regions of France - Basse-Normandie

Just across the Channel from London and not too far west of Paris, you'll find the welcoming area of Normandy which is split into two regions: – the higher (Haute-Normandie) and lower (Basse-Normandie). The capital of Basse-Normandie is Caen and three departments make up the region: Calvados, Manche and Orne.

In every corner, there are hidden treasures to discover: the pretty harbour of Honfleur, the Bayeux Tapestry (actually a spectacular 70m embroidery rather than a tapestry), William the Conqueror's birthplace at Falaise, the basilica at Lisieux dedicated to Saint Theresa, Claude Monet's tranquil garden at Giverny, and the world-famous abbey, Mont Saint Michel seeming to dramatically rise from the sea.

Basse-Normadie's varied coastline contrasts spectacular cliffs and pebble filled coves with long stretches of golden sands that make it an attractive destination for the holidaymaker. Seaside resort towns are dotted along the coast including Deauville, Trouville, and Cabourg and the whole area is warmed by the Gulf Stream.

Inland, the countryside is a delight with magnificent forests, tranquil streams flowing lazily through rich agricultural countryside and apple orchards which are the hallmark of this sedate and fruit producing region.

Normandy is a rich gastronomic area with its fresh fish and shellfish, duck, cream, butter, cider apples and, of course, the famous Calvados and cheeses like Camenbert, Livarot, and Pont l'Evêque. The region also breeds more horses than any other in France.

The History of Lower Normandy

Normandy takes it's name from the Normans during the early middle ages. The Normans were a mixture of Gauls and Vikings who laid siege to Paris under the leadership of Rollo, thus he was given the area of Normandy in return for his defense of the area against pirates.

William, the Duke of Normandy was Rollo's descendent, and in 1066 he was the last to successfully invade England and became King William I of England. The area remained under English rule until 1087. Several battles from 1106 through 1214 took place, and during the Hundred Years War, Normandy was occupied by the English.

Normandy prospered after the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion, due to the fact that several major towns joined the Reformation and more battles ensued throughout the region. Normandy during the French Revolution tended to support the Federal Republic rather than that of the Jacobins in Paris.

Normandy was the turning point during World War II, with the allied troops successful (but very costly in terms of soldiers lives) D-Day invasion of German occupation of France.