A coastal road trip with stunning views, history, cheese and more cheese
This June, if you’ve never seen Paris, by all means, see Paris. Then hit the road west, where country lanes winding through apple orchards give way to windswept sandy beaches. Venturing into Normandy’s historic towns and seaside retreats, you’ll find centuries-old cathedrals, half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, and epic seafood. Wherever you roam, take your Calvados apple brandy with a side of Camembert cheese, and bed down in an authentic chambres d’hote.
Stop in the ancient harbor town of Honfleur, a favorite of Monet’s paintbrush, on your way to the famously fancy seaside resort of Deauville. Take the air on the colorful beach promenade, which features the French equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or hit the grand casinos. After that you’ll probably want to save a buck, so cross the river to Trouville, where a four-course meal at Au Potager costs just $15. In Cabourg, lunch is best served on the beach — source your picnic from the Dives-sur-Mer market, held every Saturday in a 14th century hall.
To mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Normandy has a packed calendar of 1940s-themed costume parties, sailing festivals, military parades, parachute drops, and film festivals. Plan to be in Bayeux and Carentan on the 7th and 8th, respectively, for street parties and swing band concerts. On the 9th, train your eyes on the sky for nine simultaneous fireworks displays all along the coast. Finish your trip at the OG Disney castle — a stunning medieval abbey and UNESCO site on the island of Mont-Saint-Michel. — Émilie Thyebaut