A guide to 2016’s top events in Normandy

18th February, 2016
One of Britain’s best-loved French holiday destinations is Normandy, often just a short flight or ferry ride away from the UK. Amongst the many reasons we love to visit Normandy are its rich history, which in turn influenced Britain’s history, the beautiful towns and beaches, and of course the host of events taking place year-round. If you’re planning on staying in our Normandy villas this year, here’s what you can expect to find going on.

Normandy Impressionist Festival

Now in its third edition, the Normandy Impressionist Festival is now one of the main events in Normandy’s arts calendar. This year, the event will take place between April 16 and September 26, with portraits being the central theme. Cities all over Normandy including Rouen, Caen and Le Havre will host a variety of cultural events from fine art exhibitions to concerts and light shows.

Normandy Festival of AOC 

The first week of May is a foodie’s delight, where Cambremer celebrates the best of the region’s local produce, including cheeses, wines and other goods. Spread over two days, the event is enjoyed by people of all ages, and includes tastings, markets and games for all the family to get involved with.

Joan of Arc Festival

Also taking place in early May is a festival celebrating folk heroine Joan of Arc. The woman born a peasant but ending up leading the French army to victory is honoured throughout Rouen with a religious procession, a parade and re-enactments of the Orleans siege.

Medieval festivals

Throughout the summer Normandy’s towns celebrate their history with a series of medieval festivals, joyous celebrations where the crowds are entertained by jesters, knights, jugglers and minstrels. The main medieval festival takes place in July in Bayeux, where William the Conqueror plotted his invasion of Great Britain.

Rouen sur mer

While eleven months of the year Rouen lacks a beach, between July and August the banks of the Seine become just that, complete with the finishing touches such as deckchairs and ice cream. By night, the ‘beach’ also hosts evening concerts.

American Film Festival

Much more accessible to the public than Cannes Film Festival, every September Deauville hosts a 10-day celebration of American films, showcasing titles both old and new and attracting its fair share of big-name stars.

Autumn Festival

Over 60 autumn festivals are held throughout the region between mid-October and the end of November, meaning no matter where you’re staying, there will be a festival near you. Cities such as Dieppe, Rouen and Le Havre will be hosting a variety of circus events, music and dance performances.

You may also enjoy reading: Events round-up: what’s on in France in 2016

Image: Maelick, available under Creative Commons