Upper Normandy lies on the English Channel and is part of the lowland Paris Basin drained by the Seine. It is bordered to the west by Lower Normandy, to the south by Centre, to the south east by Ile-de-France, and to the east by Picardie. The famous Mont-Saint-Michel faces the channel.
The climate in Upper Normandy is wet, and the region is densely populated. Because of the location of the region, fish and seafood dishes are part of the gastronomical tradition of Upper Normandy. Lamb, duck, and chicken are also important parts of local culinary tradition here. Butter from the region is famous, as are the wonderful cheeses Brie, Camembert, Brillat Savarin, Neufchâtel, Livarot, and Pont L’Evêque.
The economy is driven by fishing and industry, including petroleum and automobiles. The countryside around Eure is a popular location for country houses of well-off Parisians. Three cities you may want to visit in Upper Normandy are Rouen, Le Havre, and Giverny.
Rouen, the regional capital, is home to many historical churches as well as the agricultural, petrochemical, and tourism industries. Rouen was a prosperous medieval city and was a capital of the Anglo-Norman dynasties that ruled England and parts of what is now France from the 11th to 15th centuries. Rouen is famous for being the city where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431. Charles VII, the king of France, recaptured Rouen in 1449.
Rouen is widely known for the Notre Dame cathedral and the cathedral’s Tour de Beurre. The cathedral was also the subject of a series of Monet paintings. An astronomical clock, the Gros Horlorge, dates to the 16th century, with movements dating to 1389. Other fascinating sites in Rouen include the 15th century Gothic Church of Saint Maclou, the 12th-15th century Church of Saint Ouen, and the Palais de Justice. The Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics houses an excellent porcelain collection, a medium for which Rouen was famous during the 16th to 18th centuries.
Le Havre is in north western France on the right bank of the Seine on the English Channel. The city fell under German occupation during World War II and faced severe destruction in 1944 in the Battle of Normandy, when 5,000 were killed and 12,000 homes were destroyed, mostly from Allied air attacks. The city was rebuilt in a modernist style after the war, and was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1949. In 2005 Le Havre was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Giverny is a popular day trip for Parisians and Parisian holidaymakers. It is famous as the location of Claude Monet’s home and garden. Located about 80km to the west of Paris, Giverny has been around since the Neolithic era. The Romanesque village church in Giverny dates to the Middle Ages and is dedicated to Saint Radegonde. Giverny is a small settlement, but attracts a lot of tourists, mostly because of Monet. Monet’s water lily and Japanese bridge paintings were done of his garden in Giverny, where he lived from 1883 until he died in 1926.
Upper Normandy is easy to reach from either Paris or from the UK, and is the home to culture and an exciting history that reaches from pre-history through the present day.