Welcome to beautiful Normandy in Western France, a superb region of green meadows and sandy or pebble beaches. Normandy is a region of art and history founded at the period of William de Conqueror in the 10th century. Normandy’s wealth has always depended on its ports: Rouen on the Seine which is the nearest navigable point to Paris, while Dieppe, Le Havre and Cherbourg have important transatlantic trade. Inland, it is overwhelmingly agricultural – a fertile belt of tranquil pastureland, where the chief interest for many will be the groaning restaurant tables of regions such as the Pays d’Auge.
One of our full-day tour features the picturesque village of Honfleur, an historical spot linked to the hundred-years war, but later to the 19th century artistic development. The painter Eugene Boudin (who was the teacher of Claude Monet) lived in Honfleur and painted at his mother’s Saint-Siméon farmhouse. His hospitality and the natural charm of the region attracted many other painters, including Courbet, Millet, Monet, Achard, Jongkind, and Hamelin. Boudin practiced and encouraged the open-air painting. For several decades, the best landscape painters of the age belonged to the “Honfleur School.”
The Honfleur excursion is combined to the discovery of the Pays d’Auge picturesque villages. This province of Normandy is renowned for its traditional bocage landscape, lush meadows delineated from each other by hedges and mostly dedicated to cattle and horse breeding and agriculture. The region is well known for its dairy farms, apple orchards and traditional productions of cider and Calvados brandy.