Normandy — Visas and Vaccinations
Visitors from North America can stay in France for up to 90 days without a visa. Those holding a Schengen visa can also visit France, along with the other European countries within the Schengen group. It is not necessary to obtain one of these visas if solely coming to Normandy, however. Citizens of the EU or Schengen countries can visit France visa-free, including those from the UK.
Passports should be valid for a minimum of three months beyond the intended length of stay (meaning from the return ticket date) for all visitors, including those of EU nationality. North American travelers should have a return ticket to hand on arrival as proof of intended length of stay. Make sure you have at least one page free in your passport and that you are stamped in and out.
Most people arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris when visiting France from outside of Europe. This is perhaps the best Paris air entry point for visiting Normandy, which you can get to easy by rail or road. Rouen is the closest main center from Paris, and you can avoid downtown Paris altogether by heading west around Paris’s ring roads.
Health and Safety
France has one of the best health care systems in the world. Its hospitals and clinics are up to date, and there are no untoward health risks to be aware of. Tap water is safe to drink and the standard of hygiene at cafés and restaurants is high.
Pharmacies have a green cross out front and sell medicines (prescription and non-prescription), along with contraceptives. Pharmacists speak English in the larger towns and may give advice on generic drug brands. General practitioners (médecine générale) are open to visitors, with a standard consultation fee of €23. All visitors should carry travel insurance, including EU nationals.
Most Normandy towns are safe, but be aware that pickpockets operate in busy areas, including at train stations and market squares. Avoid parks at night and keep an eye on the news for changeable weather when hiking.