Normandy — Things to Do
Boasting a long coastline, gentle countryside, and lots of forests, rivers and lakes, Normandy has excellent diversity for enjoying oneself. The hiking and biking are particularly great, with miles and miles of well-kept trails and paths. You can also enjoy adventure, water sports and wildlife.
All along the Normandy coast are golden sand beaches which are best visited in the summer months. This region is the Parisians’ first port of call when sunny weather strikes, and there are all sorts of activities and attractions available. Water sports in Normandy include sailing, surfing, windsurfing and scuba diving, while rivers and lakes provide good kayaking and rowing. Granville is best for water sports.
Hiking is the most popular pastime in Normandy, with literally hundreds of miles of fine walking along the Coastal Path between the Cotentin marshes and Mont St-Michel. Routes are well established and graded, and take anywhere from a few minutes to days to walk. The Randonnee network is impressive, plus hikes can be done from just about any town or village.
Roads in Normandy are good for cycling as they are mostly quiet along the minor routes. Road surfaces in France are of high quality and towns typically come with a network of cycle paths. The La Manche area has the best off-road cycling in Normandy.
Horseback riding in Normandy is well established, with guided treks along the Mont St-Michel bay especially fun. The Granville area has many stables, to boot, and there are regular show jumping, dressage and racing events around the region. Horsey types will especially enjoy the Haras du Pin stud parades.
Normandy also has excellent fishing and bird watching prospects. There are miles of untapped waterways and lakes, and the region is large and fairly sparsely populated, making wildlife spotting a joy. The mudflats at the Bay of Mont St-Michel are fantastic for bird watching plus there are extensive grasslands and salt marshes.
Both Normandy and Brittany have a myriad of golf courses as the gently undulating terrain in this region is conducive to this sport. Always phone ahead or check online for availability for non-members and green fees.
For adventure, there is some great micro-lighting (ultralight aviation) over Mont St-Michel, parachuting all along the coast, and even viaduct bungee jumping. AJ Hackett’s La Ferriere-Harang is the highest profile bungee jump in Normandy.