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The Land of the Normans corresponds to that area of northern France between the Paris basin and the English Channel. Along the varied coast, 600km/370mi long, lie some of the best-known resorts in France. Milk and cream, cider and calvados are produced on the verdant fields inland. Castles, chateauxs and gorgeous little towns are all reminders of the region's ever-changing history.
For local government purposes Normandy is split into the regions of Haute Normandie (to the east) and Basse Normandie (to the west), names which simply refer to their distance from Paris. The great charm of Normandy lies in the highly varied coastine, which stretches 370 miles between Le Treport in the northeast and Mont St-Michel in the southwest. Sections of the coast bear evocative names like the Alabaster Coast (Cote d'Albatre), the Flower Coast (Cote Fleurie) and the Mother of Pearl Coast (Cote de Nacre). The chalk cliffs of the Cote d'Albatre are famous - they are at their most spectacular at Etretat. The Cotentin Peninsula, part of Armorican Massif, stretches far out into the English Channel. Inland, though, Normandy has a quite different look. The Bocage Normand district is a land of woods and meadows and includes the romantic Switzerland of Normandy. Hedges divide fields and meadows where apple and pear trees grow and dairy cows graze. Right in the middle of Normandy is the fertile Pays d'Auge, which is the origin of products such as cider, calvados and camembert cheese. There are also stirring reminders of history, especially in the old capital of Rouen and at Mom St-Michel (St Michael's Mount). The Atlantic climate is mild, damp and changeable. The peak periods for visiting are in the summer months of July and August. Inland, it is particularly lovely sound the time that the fruit trees blossom in April and May.
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