Normandy — Shopping and Leisure
Shopping in Normandy can be fun. It’s more about single stores and flea markets here than the vast malls and mega markets of Paris and other main centers. Rouen and Caen have some of the latter, however, though the focus is firmly on crafts, antiques, and fine foods. There are myriad tourist souvenir shops, and bargains can be had at flea markets and bric-a-brac stores.
All major towns come with boutiques stocked with the latest in French fashion. Rouen should be your first port of call for chicness, and Hermès is a particularly good store. The Normandy capital is also good for fine porcelain (evidenced by the Ceramic Museum) and antiques (look for Faience de Rouen).
You’ll also find these items in others towns, especially beautifully decorated plates. Other items good for souvenirs include decorative copper bedpans and cooking pots, while the area is known for its fragrant flowers, and every place has at least a few florists.
Perhaps the most sought-after items by tourists are of the gastronomic variety, including camembert cheese, potted foie gras (goose liver-truffle pâté), chocolates, and preserved fruits. There are cute delicatessens throughout Normandy which serve these items, along with market stalls.
One of the best markets is the weekend Place Saint Marc market in Rouen, which is good for antiques, bric-a-brac and flowers. Lisieux and Le Molay Littry also have good, periodic Sunday markets, and you should keep an eye out for foire-à-tout sales in smaller towns and villages.
Shops open daily in Normandy, often closing for lunch (between 12:00 and 14:00), then re-opening into the evening in popular places. While banks usually close on Monday, shops will typically open later. Major towns have 24-hour pharmacies, while hypermarkets close on Sunday.