When planning a trip to northern France, the region is rich in history and culture and there are at least 20 must see sites in northern France you should visit. However, when you think of northern France, what comes to mind? Hopefully Paris and all the wonders of that great city. If you go to France and all you do is spend your time in Paris, then your trip would have been more than worthwhile. The food, the splendor, the warm and inviting people, not to mention the cultural landmarks, make this a truly awe-inspiring city. But there are so many must see sites in northern France that, if you take the time to explore, you will find yourself marveling at all that this region has to offer.
There is so much history and culture associated with France that people tend to forget the places in France where these truly significant events and cultural landmarks exist. Perhaps the most significant event in history, June 6, 1944, took place on the beaches of Normandy. That is the date when the allies began their massive offensive in Europe known as D Day to tip the scales of war decidedly against Hitler and Nazi Germany. Visiting the beaches and the memorial will forever change your perspective on the war, the gravity associated with the D Day offensive and the ultimate sacrifice so many made on the beaches during those landings in the name of freedom.
You would be remiss if that is all you did within the Normandy region. Claimed by Danish and Norwegian Vikings led by Hrolfr (Rollo)Ragnvaldsson in the 9th century after the collapse of Charlemagne’s empire, the region became a fiefdom under King Charles the Simple in 911 through the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in which Rollo legally gained the territory which was named Normandy and he became its first Duke, Robert.
Robert’s decedent, William, also known as William the Conqueror, launched his conquest of England from Normandy in 1066, defeating King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings and becoming King of England. You can view the Tapestry at Bayeux which memorializes the Battle of Hastings and the ascension of William to King of England.
You can also visit Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, Honfleur which was a major trade city between Normandy and England, the medieval island of Mont Saint-Michel, the old pirate city of St. Malo and more. Normandy is rich with historical landmarks that have impacted France as well as the rest of the world.
So, when you set y our sights on France, don’t just think Paris and the French Riviera or the Chateau region of France. Take the time to visit northern France. In the following pages, you’ll see why this area is so significant, charming and breathtaking.