Normandy is one of the most beautiful parts of France, a land of coastline rich in beaches and white chalk cliffs, whilst inland, there are lush green pastures, rolling hills, acres of apple orchards, renowned stud farms, historic abbeys and Renaissance châteaux.
Normandy’s great allure is based on its variety: its dramatic coastal landscapes with wide beaches, its fine museums, quiet pastoral villages and architectural gems. These latter range from Rouen’s medieval old city where Monet’s favourite cathedral is located, to the maritime charm of Honfleur and the striking post-modernism to be found in Le Havre. Amongst the region’s wonderful products are camembert, apples, cider, creamy dishes and fresh seafood providing further reasons to visit Normandy.
Normandy has become a reference point for horse enthusiasts around the world. No other region of France is better known for its horse breeding, which includes racehorses (thoroughbreds and trotters) as well as sport horses. There are 31 racetracks and more than 10,000 breeding farms in this ‘country of horses’. Amongst the fine breeding farms are Le Pin and Saint-Lô national studs.
Le Pin has been called the Versailles for horses and represents 300 years of equestrian history. It was built in the 18th century under the reign of King Louis XIV and features a grand château as well as majestic stables. In addition to serving as a breeding center, Le Pin also stages many international competitions and breeder shows, with show jumping, driving, eventing and endurance activities held there.
Saint-Lô also hosts many prestigious events, including the Journées Selle Français, a stallion licensing national championship and elite auction for saddle horses. In 2014, the region played host to the largest equestrian event in the world, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Property in Normandy has long been popular with British, Dutch and Belgian buyers looking for second homes or else a total change in lifestyle. The area is also attracting a good deal of interest from clients from other parts of the world including the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Middle East. The region’s proximity to Paris makes it very attractive to the domestic market, to which much of Normandy real estate is close enough to make it a viable location for a weekend bolthole.
Since 1956, Normandy has been divided into two administrative regions: Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy. Then this year, the regions were merged into a single region. It is bounded to the north by the English Channel, to the east by Picardie and Île-de-France and to the south by Centre, Pays de la Loire and Brittany.
Upper Normandy (Haute Normandie) consists of the French departments of Seine-Maritime and Eure, whilst Lower Normandy (Basse Normandie) consists of the departments of Calvados, Orne and Manche.
Upper Normandy is a region rich in both art and history. This is where the castle of Richard the Lionheart is located, as well as Monet’s beloved gardens. As well, there is dramatic coastal scenery, charming towns and resorts. Landscapes range from forests to cliffs and the Valley of the Seine, render the region a truly lush environment which continues to attract nature lovers from around the world. It is also a land of architectural richness and a unique gastronomical tradition.
Buyers are drawn by the distinctive architecture. For instance, in the department of Eure, the charming town of Evreux is famed for its numerous historical monuments, including the Evreux Cathedral – widely considered as one of the finest Gothic and Romanesque cathedrals in France. Equally characteristic, Pont-Audemer offers many prestigious properties that line beautiful canals. The department of Seine-Maritime, another star of the Upper Normandy luxury real estate market offers a wonderful coastline dotted with cliffs that affords incredible views.
Culture lovers will perhaps prefer to purchase a luxury apartment in the magnificent Old Town of the city of Rouen, while others are drawn by the famous thatched cottages of the Normancy countryside.
Normandy features the most famous abbey in the country, Mont Saint-Michel, as well as the most famous tapestry in the world, the Bayeux. The countryside is covered in orchards producing some of the best cider, picturesque villages and the Second World War’s "landing beaches."
A combination of coast and countryside, Lower Normandy also has an unrivalled cultural and historical heritage. There are incredible sandy beaches and renowned seaside resorts. The beaches of Deauville, the wild Cotentin coasts, the harbour of Honfleur are popular with Parisian property buyers. Also on offer, the Nez de Jobourg headland, plus destination sites such as Bayeau Cathedral, the haras (wild horses) in Orne and the Abbaye-aux-Hommes in Caen.
Investors in search of a property that offers them peace and comfort in incredibly beautiful surroundings choose Normandy, a place filled with natural beauty and surrounded by hundreds of years of history.