We all know about Normandy with regard to its history, monuments and touristic highlights: Mont St. Michel, the D Day Beaches, its Cathedrals, artists, and charming towns such as Honfleur. Within its very varied topography, there is an area that is unique and unlike the rest. It is not like Normandy ‘s flatlands and pastures. It is composed of hills and even cliffs, situated inland 1 hour south of Caen, and it runs more or less along the Orne river. Its soil consists of limestone that has resisted the carving made by the river, leaving a landscape of hills and gorges. For this reason, and because of the extremely peaceful atmosphere you can find therein, it is called Swiss Normandy.
This region first began to be discovered by tourists thanks to the development of the railway that connected Norman cities such as Cherbourg and Caen to Paris during the 1850’s. Visitors were surprised by the hills and coined the term Swiss Normandy. Normans did not initially embrace the name, but they finally adapted it, out of recognition of the affection for the region that was growing.
The town of Clecy in the heart of the Swiss Normandy area
The zone is dominated by Mont Pincon at 362 meters above sea level. You can contemplate the region from the Roche d’Oetre, or go for a little walk in the charming town of Clecy, with small niches along the Orne river where you can enjoy a drink while looking at the picturesque decor. It is also easy to go rock climbing or bicycle riding through the country side. There is even a zip line between St Omer and Clecy, apparently one of the longest in the world!
At the very least, this is an area to drive through and relax while enjoying the views.