Normandy is renowned for its gastronomy - cream, cheese, cider and of course Calvados, the local apple brandy! For seafood lovers, there are ample restaurants offering fresh oysters, mussels and other seafood as well as locally caught fish. The tides, being the largest in Europe, are great for going foot-fishing (peche a pied) on the beaches at low tide; with your bucket and pick, see what crabs, lobsters and mussels you can catch to BBQ when you get back!
But the whole of the Cotentin peninsula itself, steeped in history, has fantastic historic towns, abbeys and castles to visit - and all nearby and easy to get to.
William the Conquerer, who was born just outside the peninsula at Falaise, set sail to England in 1066 from the beautiful town of Barfleur which is about 40 minutes drive. Bayeux, roughly 80kms away, houses the famous 'Bayeux Tapestry' which chronicles William's battle against the English (from the Norman point of view, of course!)
Of course you mustn't miss visiting Le Mont St Michel (100kms) which is the most visited monument in the whole of France! Nearby in the walled town of
St Malo, there is a fabulous Aquarium which is well worth a visit (although, of course, this is in Brittany, not Normandy!)
the east, just 35 minutes away by car, are the famous D-Day landing beaches - Utah,
Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, where US, Canadian and British soldiers and airmen arrived in 1944. The local museum there at St Mere Eglise is where Tom Hanks
based himself for researching his part in "Saving
Private Ryan" and the TV series "Band of Brothers".
For jazz lovers, each year in May there is the annual jazz festival at Coutances (25kms) 'Jazz sous les Pommiers' where international jazz artists play to packed audiences.