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An Insider’s Guide to Planning an Epic Road Trip Around Northern France

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

If you're looking for a road trip that's a little different from the classic American road trip, then look no further than Northern France. This region is full of beautiful scenery, quaint villages, and plenty of opportunities for adventure. And, of course, there's the food. From fresh seafood to traditional French cuisine, you'll definitely want to stop and sample some of the regional specialties. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey. Here are the top things to see and do on a Northern France road trip.


5 Essential Tips for Planning a Road Trip Through Northern France

  1. Research the Route: Before you hit the road, make sure to research your route thoroughly. It's important to know where you're going and what attractions you'll be passing along the way. Be sure to check out maps and information on traffic patterns so that you can plan accordingly. Additionally, it's a good idea to bookmark any points of interest that you might want to stop and check out along the way.

  2. Choose Accommodations Wisely: When it comes to planning a road trip, your accommodations can make or break the experience. In Northern France, there are plenty of amazing hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to choose from so take some time to do your research. Read up on reviews and look for recommendations from fellow travelers to make sure you get the best value for your money.

  3. Allow Yourself Time to Explore: This is a road trip, not a race! Don't be afraid to pull over when something catches your eye or take some time out of your schedule to explore a particular area. You never know what interesting and unique sights you might stumble upon.

  4. Try the Local Cuisine: Northern France is full of amazing culinary experiences. Take some time to try out the local restaurants, cafés, and markets for a taste of authentic French cuisine. And if you're feeling adventurous, why not try cooking some of the regional dishes at home?

  5. Don't Forget to Bring Cash: Although many places in Northern France accept credit cards, it's always a good idea to bring some extra cash with you just in case. In more rural areas, cash might be your only option for payment. So make sure to plan ahead and bring enough money.


Mouthwatering Cuisine to Try During Your Road Trip Through Northern France


One of the most mouthwatering dishes that you can try during a road trip through Northern France is the classic Moules-frites. This dish consists of mussels cooked in a flavorful broth and served with French fries. The mussels are typically cooked in white wine, garlic, parsley, butter, and cream for a rich and delicious flavor. Traditionally, it's served with bread to soak up all that savory goodness.


Another essential dish you have to try on your road trip through Northern France is the crepes Suzette. These thin pancakes are usually made with buckwheat flour and filled with a delicious combination of honey, lemon juice, orange liqueur, butter, sugar, and orange zest. The crepes are then flambéed tableside with Grand Marnier or other citrus liqueur for an unforgettable presentation. Afterward they’re sprinkled with sugar and served hot. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors!


The Best Time of Year to Take a Road Trip Through Northern France


The best time of year to take a road trip through Northern France is from late spring to early autumn. During these months, the weather is mild and sunny with daytime temperatures ranging between 15-25 degrees Celsius (60-77 Fahrenheit). The days are long and you can enjoy plenty of sunshine while exploring this beautiful region. Plus, many attractions are open during this period so you won’t miss out on any of the sights. Additionally, since it's not peak tourist season yet, prices for accommodation tend to be lower at this time. So if you're looking for an unforgettable journey through Northern France, plan your visit between April and October!


Start your trip in Dieppe and explore all the famous sights

Dieppe, the gateway to a great road trip and a holiday well-spent! Get ready to pack your bags and make Dieppe the starting point of your fantastic journey. With Dieppe at the helm of your holiday, dive into the exquisite French culture and cuisine as you make your way through the renowned sights. From ancient churches to traditional farmers markets, there's so much to explore in Dieppe that it'll be hard to pick where you'd like to start first! Indulge in Dieppe's vibrant energy today and tomorrow you can take a quick nap before setting off on your next adventure.


Drive south to the beautiful city of Rouen and stroll around its charming old town

Road tripping to Rouen in northern France could be your most charming adventure yet! Quaint cobbled streets, imposing cathedral spires and grand timber-framed houses await the curious visitor. Spend a day taking in the city's beautiful old town and don't forget to sample some of its famous cuisine while you're there. For those who like a bit of history, try exploring its ancient monuments such as its 12th century abbey or 15th century hospital. So pack up the car and road trip it down south - whether you're visiting family nearby or just looking for an enjoyable getaway, Rouen is the perfect destination!


Head west to the coastline and enjoy a refreshing seafood meal and enjoy the harbour of Honfleur


If you're looking for an adventure that's out of the ordinary, then head west to the picturesque coastline of Honfleur! Embark on a sight seeing extravaganza and be prepared to be amazed with all the natural beauty northern France has to offer. Once you reach Honfleur, enjoy some of the freshest marvellous seafood around as you explore its quaint harbour. Plus who wouldn't want to taste a dish that comes with a view this amazing! Why don't you take a break from your everyday routine and visit Honfleur today!


Keep driving west along to coast to Bayeux

Setting out on the open highway to visit Bayeux is an exciting road trip. Keep driving west along the coast, and you’ll soon come across this charming French town renowned for its beautiful museums, stunning beaches, and quaint eateries. Bring your camera along to capture every moment and get ready for an unforgettable visit to Bayeux!


Home to the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral with its stunning Norman Romanesque and Gothic architecture, Bayeux is an abundant source of history located in proximity to the renowned D-Day Landings beaches. Moreover, this medieval city houses a UNESCO Memory of the World register item – The Tapestry – that showcases the richness of Normandy's dukedom! Bayeux was the first town to be liberated in June 1944 and is an ideal starting point for exploring the beaches, museums, cemeteries, and other locations related to D-Day. As you stroll through its charming cobblestone alleyways amongst elegant 17th century mansions and 18th century townhouses, let yourself get lost in this quaint historic center of Normandy.


Don't miss out on the opportunity to experience all of Bayeux's offerings, such as: The Bayeaux Medieval Festival in July; the captivating evening show "Rendez-vous à la Cathédrale" during summertime; the renowned Prix Bayeux-Calvados-Normandie for War Correspondents in October, and a winter spectacle known as "William's Cathedral" each December.


Check out the world famous Mont Saint-Michel


A magnetizing isle crowned by a gravity-defying abbey, the Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay are among France's most captivating sights. Long considered one of Europe’s premier pilgrimage sites, this divine island has since been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the dazzling bay.


Resting in a captivating bay between Normandy and Brittany, the Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe's most enchanting sights. From miles away its grandiose presence will steal your gaze!

This striking and breathtaking place has been enchanting visitors for centuries. How did it become a renowned Christian pilgrimage destination? Well, to find out the answer we have to travel back in time - all the way to early 8th century when Bishop Aubert of Avranches asserted that Archangel Michael had urged him personally to construct a church accordingly on top of this island off shore.


Commencing in 966, the Dukes of Normandy and then subsequent French monarchs devotedly fostered the expansion of an iconic Benedictine abbey on Mont-Saint-Michel. Through the span of centuries during the Middle Ages, beauteous monastic edifices were erected; one precipitous wing was even nicknamed 'the Marvel'. Boasting some of the brightest minds and manuscript illuminators from across Europe, the picturesque Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel quickly gained notoriety. Despite the centuries' worth of cross-Channel conflict, pilgrims flocked to visit this sacred place in droves. The island was even fortified with ramparts at its base for protection against English forces! Nowadays, many visitors come to explore what remains of these once grand buildings that have been converted into museums, eateries, hotels and shops - a perfect destination for today's tourists!


Visit Saint-Malo


Like a stone vessel on the mouth of the Rance, the ramparts of Saint-Malo stand proudly above its beaches and its port. The façades and towers rising up from the fortifications give the town its unique silhouette. The parapet walk offers breath-taking views!


Over two thousand years ago, the illustrious city of Saint-Malo was born in Alet. When Jacques Cartier set out to discover Canada in the 16th century, fishing fleets soon followed and arrived at Newfoundland. As ship owners explored countless sea routes, they ensured a bright future for Saint Malo behind its sturdy ramparts which were later bolstered by followers of Vauban during the 18th century. Privateers Duguay-Trouinand Surcouf further reinforced this success as their prestige elevated that of Saint Malo - whose banner proudly flew above even that of France's own flag!


The Prettiest town in Brittany, Dinan

Dinan stands tall as the most beautiful town in Brittany, its quaint cobblestone roads having stayed virtually unchanged since the Middle Age. Let yourself be transported back to an era long gone when you wander through Dinan's streets - there is something so special about these captivating medieval towns that will take your breath away! As if this wasn't enough, a trip downriver on the gorgeous Rance river awaits those looking to explore more of what this region has to offer.


For those with a short stay in Dinan, just two hours cruising the Rance River is recommended. However, if you have an extra day or are passionate about nature, it's worth hiring a boat for four hours so that you can explore all of its beauty and venture up to the Châtelier Sluice!


End your journey in Pontrieux, the little "Venice" of Trégor

If you’re looking for the perfect sight-seeing spot to complete your holiday in Trégor, look no further than the little “Venice” of Pontrieux. Take a stroll along the waterfront, admire the old buildings with their half-timbered and slate designs, or take a boat tour of the canal. Come enjoy the peaceful tranquility of this quaint retreat and luxuriate in its charm. After all that sightseeing you’ll be glad to know that Pontrieux offers delicious restaurants, cozy cafés, and plenty of shopping opportunities — so don’t forget to pack an empty suitcase while you’re here!


Come explore the charming "Little Town of Character" in Pontrieux, where a marina beckons you to embark on an adventure to Bréhat, Jersey or Guernsey. Wander around this quaint little town during day and night with its inviting viaducts and bridges that are illuminated by a magical trail of light. Uncover hidden gems such as authentic wash houses, half-timbered homes and stone abodes dating back centuries. Don't miss out on seeing the spectacular 18th century fountain and 16th century house dubbed 'The Eiffel Tower'!


The Perfect 3 week Northern France Road Trip

And there you have it, the perfect 3 week road trip through Northern France! A road trip through Normandy that is sure to please everyone in the family. And, as an added bonus, you might just learn a thing or two about French history and culture along the way. What are you waiting for? Start planning your dream vacation today!

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