Part of the region of Basse-Normandie, Lower Normandy, the department takes its name from a cluster of rocks off the coast. Calvados has more historical monuments than anywhere else outside of Paris, with history dating from William the Conqueror (including the world famous Bayeux Tapestry) down to the Battle for Normandy and D-Day. This makes it the perfect location for those passionate about history.
Calvados is not just famous for its history, however. The rule of nature has long been welcome along many of Calvados' coastlines, resulting in areas of outstanding natural beauty, beauty that is further complemented by a fine range of parks and gardens. The northern beaches are also popular for their water sports potential.
The administration of Calvados has drawn up a series of tourist routes, making it easy to appreciate the many varied delights that this region has to offer.
Places to go
For those interested in history, Calvados is the obvious destination. Attractions range from the Bayeux Tapestry, down through Medieval castles, such as those in Falaise and Caen, down to a range of memorials and locations commemorating the history of World War II and remembering the sacrifice of all those who died liberating France from German occupation in 1944. Two particular must-see memorials include the floating harbour at Arromanches and the Caen Memorial.
Away from history, much of Arromanche's draw comes from its gastronomic heritage and its water sports. There are regular fish markets throughout the region and it's easy to follow one of the many gastronomic tourist routes around the region that give a brief introduction to the many different areas of this department's culture. Of particular note are the guided tours of dairies and breweries around Calvados.
Food and drink
Calvados is one of the most gastronomically unique and varied regions in France. Well known specialities include cheeses, ciders and sea foods, but there are also lesser known delicacies, such as Bayeux Pork, tripe, caramel and Sablés d'Asnelles, butter biscuits produced in the coastal town of Asnelles, where you can take a tour to learn how they are made. Of particular note is the Cider Tour of Calvados, which takes in many distinct independent breweries and explores the contribution that the apple has made to the region's history.
Ferries to Calvados
- Brittany Ferries - Portsmouth to Caen
Calvados is well served by a network of toll-paying motorways and free dual carriageways, allowing for easy and stress-free access to all parts of the region.
Cars aren't the only way of getting around. The region is also well served by train and coach networks. TGV trains go between the main cities whilst smaller towns are served by local trains and coaches. Prices are low and the journeys are quick, clean and efficient.