Normandy is divided into Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy. The region of Lower Normandy consists of the departments of Calvados (14), Eure (27), Manche (50) and Orne (61). The region of Upper Normandy has one department Seine-Maritime (76).
14 - Calvados. Population: 618,000, Principal City: Caen. Other towns /villages : Argences, Arromanches Les Bains, Balleroy, Bayeux, Beny, Bocage, Cabourg, Caen, Calvados, Caumont L’Evente, Conde Sur Noireau, Courseulles Sur Mer, Deauville, Douvres, La Delivrande, Dozule, Herouville Saint Clair, Honfleur, Isigny sur Mer, Lisieux, Ouistreham, Pont D’Ouilly, Pont L Eveque, Saint Pierre Sur Dives, Touques, Troarn, Trouville Sur Mer, Vire.
27 - Eure. Population: 514,000,Principal City: Évreux. Other towns /villages : Bernay, Beuzeville, Brionne, Conches En Ouche, Cormeilles, Damville, Evreux, Fleury Sur Andelle, Gisors, Le Neubourg, Les Andelys, Louviers, Pont Audemer, Thiberville, Verneuil Sur Avre, Vernon.
50 - Manche Population: 480,000, Principal City: St-Lo. Other towns /villages : Avranches, Brehal, Carentan, Cerisy la Forêt, Cherbourg, Coutances, Granville, Mont St Michel, Montebourg, Pontorson, Saint James, St Lô, Torigny sur Vire, Valognes, Villedieu Les Poeles.
61 - Orne. Population: 293,000, Principal City: Alençon. Other towns /villages : Alençon, Argentan, Bagnoles De L Orne, Bellème Domfront Flers, L’Aigle, La Ferte Mace, Le Mêle-sur-Sarthe, Le Theil Sur Huisne, Longny Au Perche, Mortagne-au-Perche, Saint Georges Des Groseillers, Sées.
76 - Seine-Maritime Population: 1.2 million, Principal City: Rouen. Other towns /villages : Barentin, Bolbec, Dieppe, Duclair, Elbeuf, Etretat, Eu, Fecamp, Gournay En Bray, Le Havre, Le Treport, Lillebonne, Montivilliers , Neufchatel En Bray, Notre Dame De Gravenchon, Octeville Sur Mer, Rouen, Treport, Yvetot.
There is approximately 600km of coast in Normandy with pretty seaside towns and resorts dotted along the coastline which have now become very popular with the Parisiens.
In the department of Calvados is Honfleur, a popular and picturesque fishing port and one of the closest seaside villages to Paris. Mont-St-Michel, a dramatic town looking as if it has risen from the sea is another and is a major tourist destination considered to be one of Frances most visited sites. Deauville with its fashionable casinos and smart shops and the more humble Trouville, in close proximity to each other, are both popular seaside resorts.
Inland and not far from these two popular towns is the national stud at Argentan in the department of Orne.
To the west is the department of Manche with its beautiful coastline. At the tip of the peninsuela is Cherbourg, with its ferry connections, and to the south is Mont St-Michel.
With the ports of Cherbourg (direct ferry links to England), Caen, Le Havre and Dieppe, the Calais to Rouen autoroute and the introduction of low cost flights has put Normandy within easy reach of the UK and Ireland.
Historical ties between Britain and Normandy are strong which are experienced again and again with the celebration of the DDay landings. Apart from the battlefields and war memorials there are many other places of historical interest to visit in Normandy. The Bayeux tapestry is worth a visit as is Giverny (the house of and gardens of Monet ) or Rouen made famous by Joan of Arc or the birthplace of William the Conqueror at Falaise.
The economy of the region is mainly agricultural together with tourism although in the last 20 years it has evolved seeing the growth of many small business and service industries. There is also a textile industry and a small amount of iron ore mined in the region.
Cattle livestock and dairy farming and fruit production are among its major industries. Normandy is one of the great gastronomic regions of France boasting the richest milk, cream and butter in France if not the world. The cream of Normandy is an important part in some of the most famous french dishes and much of the milk goes into the production of the camembert cheese. Many of the smaller dairy farms and traditional cheese producing factories have closed down due to the stringet EU demands in recent years. Apples are another prolific product of this region which goes into the production of the cider or of Calvados the local fiery brandy. Calvados is also remembered for the beach landings during the Second World War. Many of the towns and villages being destroyed during the war and claiming the lives of many soldiers. Most of these coastal towns have a war museum or memorial. On a lighter note there are also many excellent restaurants in these areas in charming ports such as Honfleur where seafood is the speciality.
Inland from the coast is the pretty Norman countryside, a fertile land of prairies, forests, fruit orchards and small villages with half timbered architecture. The southern part of Normandy is the most wooded area and highly populated by wildlife, deer, boar and it is here in the Foret d’Ecouves that most of the hunting is carried out in the autumn months. It is also a great area for walking and mushrooming.
Leisure activities in Normany include sailing, fishing, golf, horse riding, racing, walking and simply visiting the many historical sights and museums.