Normandie – Or “The French UK”

It is beautiful here in Normandie in the spring. How can you beat a sunset like this one?

For centuries Normandie has attracted foreigners who attempted to make it their own. The earliest residents were pre-historical. They left behind cave paintings and mysterious megalithic monuments. When Julius Cesar invaded in 58 BC there were thriving Celtic tribes. Rome established multiple sites with ruins and names which are still in use.

At the end of the 3rd century AD the Germans came, destroying much of what the Romans had built in what is now Normandie. The Germans were followed by the Viking raids that started in the early 800s. These raids continued for years and eventually the area was called  Normandie, the land of the Normans. Then, a Viking descendent, William the Duke of Normandy, attacked England in 1066, which resulted in Normandy becoming part of England. In 1204 Normandie was freed from English rule and rejoined France. Yet Normandie has never lost its English roots.

These days Normandie is overrun with tourists intent on visiting the D-Day Beaches, Mont Saint Michelle, churches, and sampling the food. Folks from the UK relocate to Normandie in numbers large enough that some villages have more English speaking residents than French speakers. We can go days never speaking French because all of our neighbors speak the British version of English.

The architecture of Normandie, from my non-professional eye, seems more English than French. On our recent trip to La Rochelle the change in architecture was evident as we drove south.

Compare this old cottage in England (left) with the one we see looking out of our window.

The food is one of the few things that remains more French. Cuisine tends to be influenced by the terroir of the land, thus Camembert and cider are icons of this region.

We like Normandie but are enthusiastic about exploring other regions of France, so we travel. Curiosity fuels the urge to wander; thankfully we share that urge.

8 thoughts on “Normandie – Or “The French UK”

  1. My background is English and French of Norman background (my dad was French Canadian of Norman descent while my mother, who was from Sussex, also had Norman roots). I’ve experienced the strong English influence in Normandie as well. Interesting post.


  2. Very interesting article on the history of the region – I’ll be there in a few weeks and so I’m excited to learn more. Nice to think I’ll meet English speakers along the way – although I’ve enjoyed learning some French.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We find that if you put the effort forth to use French it goes along way. Too many folks expect the local people to know English and are irritated when they don’t. Google Translate is far from perfect but it is a great tool, just the camera function on a menu is so nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. elissbaker

    Thank you, Terry and Tricia, for sharing your slice of Normandy with us. It has been a joy, but I know you are on to even grander adventures in other areas of France. I am sure you will enjoy them all. (I must admit, though, that I will miss the Norman cows.)

    Liked by 1 person

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