Brittany + Normandy

Brittany + Normandy Travel Guide

The island is monopolized by normal, regular French people of average means in the normal, regular business of being on holiday: riding bikes, picnicking, swimming (even though the water never averages more than 64 degrees), buying honey at the market, wearing out the plastic cafe furniture.

The local specialty is a layered praline paillardise.

During the festival, the population of Deauville swells from some 4,000 to 40,000—more than a few of them royals and retainers, though now more often from the Middle East than the French nobility

Honfleur’s greatest surviving building, and its separate bell tower date back to the 15th century. The largest, most unusual wooden church in France, it was built by marine carpenters and its vaults resemble the interior of a ship’s hull.

Bayeux’s famous 230-foot-long tapestry—displayed in this well-run little museum—tells the story of the Norman conquest of England.

To the modern visitor, the island offers a small but exquisite menu of simple pleasures: walking, cycling, birding, glancing over garden walls to dote on the hydrangeas, eating.

The shop specializes in butter biscuits.

Eugène Boudin, a landscape painter from the area, met a young artist named Claude Monet and taught him to use oil paints and to work outdoors. It’s best to skip the galleries in town; any hunger for art can be satisfied at the Eugène Boudin Museum, which honors Honfleur’s famous native son.

This compact museum brings to life the 300-plus years of artisanal glazed-ware production in Quimper.

Yes, it's touristy, but how can you miss the chance to see the gardens? Grounds stay open till November 1 and are ablaze in autumn hues.

Among today's tourists, the most popular souvenir is a half-dozen cans of prized millimisée sardines (they're dated, like wine) from this La Belle-Îloise boutique.

Score some of the best Breton striped shirts in the region.