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Buying and living in Normandy

Some of the finest coastline in France, UNESCO world heritage sites, friendly people, very best seafood, wines and cheeses. Welcome to Normandy


Historically, the region was split into Lower and Upper Normandy, but these were merged in 2016 when the Grand Ouest region was formed. Many locals still refer to Basse and Haute Normandie. They are also very proud of their history, and you can expect to find some of the finest “patrimoine” in France, including cathedrals, abbeys, and churches. The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel alone has more than 60 protected monuments historiques.

You can also expect to find the very best equestrian property that France has to offer. From the houses, outbuildings and stabling to the grazing land and equestrian support network, this is a region that is perfect for equine lovers. Indeed, Normandy has well over 300 horse riding centres and 31 hippodromes.

The capital, Rouen, sits on the river Seine and has an important history. The famous cathedral has been built and rebuilt over a period of 800 years, which is why it has gothic, flamboyant and renaissance elements. These have been perfectly captured in many paintings by the impressionist artist Claude Monet. You will find many other historic buildings in the pretty city centre, and the streets are thronged with a lively student population, as well as tourists and locals.

The Normandy coast has some lovely, upmarket, resorts. These are popular with Parisians, many of whom have holiday-homes here. Deauville is one, and hosts an annual American movie festival, which is only second to Cannes in terms of prestige. The “les planches” boardwalk here was built out of exotic wood in 1923 so that the wealthy could promenade along the seafront, without getting sand on their elegant clothing. Expect to find the great and good still doing this, then uploading the photos to their Instagram accounts!

Transport and Access

Normandy is surrounded by three main airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly and Nantes Atlantique. This means that regular direct flights are available to all international destinations, including low-cost flights to the UK and Europe.

The train time between Rouen and Paris is around 1hr 20mins, from where you can take the Eurostar, or TGV to all major European cities. Of course, the SNCF train network also runs throughout Normandy. The A13 connects Rouen to Paris in under two hours, the port at Le Havre in just over an hour, or Caen in around an hour and a half.

The ferry ports at Ouistreham/Caen, Cherbourg, Dieppe, and Le Havre are all popular, visit https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk for latest sailing times.

The market

For an in-depth analysis, read our latest Grand Ouest market comment (below), which includes average prices in all of the major towns and resorts, as well as expert comment from our local agents in the region.

Normandy is a popular region for holiday homes, particularly with Parisians, and buyers from the UK, Belgium and Netherlands who can reach their properties with relative ease.

Demand for property in all five departments has been strong over recent years. Prices have been rising steadily although they are beginning to level off now. Over the last 12 months the average house price has fluctuated in each department: Calvados +3.3%, Eure -0.7%, Manche -0.7%, Orne -0.7% and Seine-Maritime +3.4%.

You will pay a premium price on the coast, particularly in the popular resorts like Deauville. You will also find that prices are higher in and around the bigger towns and cities (particularly Rouen, where the high student population means that rental property is always in demand), and the closer you get to Paris. As an example, thousands of visitors’ flock from Paris to Giverny, to visit Monet’s house and garden, but many people also commute the other way, as it is under an hour by car into central Paris.

Equestrian property is also a speciality in Normandy, which is home to Le Pin National Stud. The grounds stretch throughout Haras de Pin and its neighbouring towns, and all are classified as national monuments. The second national stud is at St Lo, and there is a 190km trail which links the two. Around 40% of all French racehorses are bred in Normandy, by 8,300 horse breeders. The small airport at Deauville specialises in transporting horses. No wonder equestrian related properties are so popular throughout the region.

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There are some obvious choices. Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island a few hundred metres off the Normandy coast, its Abbey is one of the most photographed monuments in France. The whole bay is a UNESCO world heritage site, and it attracts around 3m visitors a year. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected as monuments historiques. Just along the coast, the fortified town of Granville is truly special. It has stunning views over the bay and is a lively and pretty fishing port, renowned for the quality of its festivals.

Some of the other seaside towns are also amongst the most attractive in France. Deauville, in Calvados, is a popular spot with wealthy Parisians who come to watch the horse-racing, wager in the casino’s and to be seen in the swanky restaurants. Nearby Cabourg also has a golden beach, racecourse, casino and Belle Epoque villas and is perhaps even prettier than Deauville. For sure, you will fall in love with Giverny, the village of Claude Monet. Impressionist painters first set up their easels here in the 19th century and before entering the village you will probably pass the Old Mill at Vernon, a half-timbered building, hanging over the Seine, that you will recognise from many paintings. Within Giverny you will find Monet’s house but, more importantly, his gardens. These are possibly the most romantic place on earth. Split into two, you can choose between the Clos Normand and the Water Garden – in the latter you will find the famous Japanese Bridge. Sadly, you won’t be alone though as around 500,000 visitors a year arrive to see Monet’s paintings come to life.

Another town popular with tourists is Bayeux. The famous tapestry has been listed on the UNESCO memory of the world register since 2007. It is a 70m long embroidery (that’s the width of a football pitch), depicting the conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror. Around 400,000 visitors per annum come to look for the patch where it shows Harold being hit in the eye by an arrow. Less famous, but still a UNESCO site, are the Vauban Forts. Built during the reign of King Louis XIV these two towers (one in Saint-Vaast-la-Houge and the other on the island of Tatihou) protect the harbour entrance to Saint-Vaast.

cow apple cidre horses cheeses memory
Normandy region map memory
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    • Easy to get too by ferry, air or road, Normandy is popular with buyers from all over Europe
    • The seaside resorts are exceptional, and popular with wealthy Parisians.
    • Normandy has pretty countryside, with plenty of local produce in the village markets.
    • It is the ideal region to set up an equestrian business, with an excellent support network.
    • The region has a plethora of historic buildings, including cathedrals, abbeys and churches.

    Over 617 properties and 52 multilingual local agents
    in Normandy

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    Normandy city map

    Departments and Major Cities

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    • € / m² € per m² FNAIM source - non contractual
    Seine-Maritime (76)
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    Rouen - Dieppe - Le Havre

    €2207 per m2
    View Seine-Maritime properties for sale

    Calvados (14)
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    Caen - Bayeux - Lisieux - Vire

    €2389 per m2
    View Calvados properties for sale

    Eure (27)

    Évreux - Bernay - Les Andelys

    €2063 per m2
    View Eure properties for sale

    Manche (50)
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    Saint-Lô - Avranches - Cherbourg - Coutances

    €1879 per m2
    View Manche properties for sale

    Orne (61)

    Alençon - Argentan - Mortagne-au-Perche

    €1397 per m2
    View Orne properties for sale

    Some typical properties

    Focus on some typical types of properties of the Region

    Local knowledge of Leggett
    you can trust in Normandy

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    Market Comment, Magazine and Guides

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    but don’t take our word for it...

    Normandy :

    ... rugged cliffs, and upmarket seaside resorts. Inland, the region’s rolling hills, green pastures and picturesque countryside are dotted with apple orchards and dairy farms. Normandy is an ideal region for nature lovers.

    Normandy is also renowned for its rich culinary heritage, which includes world-famous products such as Camembert cheese and Calvados brandy, and cider. No wonder that the colourful local markets are so popular. If you like seafood then you will find freshly caught fish, crabs, and oysters at the market too.

    Moreover, Normandy is known for its pretty, half-timbered houses, as well as the quality of its historic monuments. Nearly every town and village have a beautiful church in its centre, whilst the bigger towns and cities host some of the worlds finest abbeys and cathedrals – Notre Dame in Rouen is probably the most famous example. There are plenty of beautiful gardens to visit throughout Normandy, the finest of which must be the two Monet gardens in Giverny, just an hour from Paris.

    Houses in Normandy come in a variety of different styles, from rambling equestrian properties and stud farms to charming half-timbered houses and Belle Epoque seaside villas. There are also plenty of characterful old stone farmhouses in Normandy, so something to suit all tastes and budgets.

    Possibly the most sought after (by all buyer nationalities) are equestrian properties and stud farms. The region is known for its love of horses and equestrian sports, and as a result many properties come equipped with stables, paddocks, and training arenas. These properties offer a tranquil, rural lifestyle, surrounded by rolling hills, forests and meadows.

    In some of the region’s towns and villages you will find half-timbered houses, with their distinctive black and white timber frame construction, pitched roofs, and colourful shutters. Some of these houses date back to the medieval era and are testament to the rich cultural heritage to be found in Normandy property.

    For those who love the sea, then Deauville and the other Belle Epoque resorts are a perfect choice. Apartments in Deauville, Cabourg, Honfleur and other resorts are incredibly popular with Parisian buyers seeking a holiday home on the Normandy coast. The towns offer a choice of luxury apartments and grand seafront villas, with views out over the sea. Many of these homes feature ornate architecture, large bay windows, and balconies reflecting the glamour and sophistication of the Belle Epoque era.

    There are also many traditional stone country houses and character properties to choose from, all of which are at bargain prices when compared with properties in nearby Paris/Ile de France.

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