From archaeological sites yielding humanity’s oldest stone, to the remnants of the Roman occupation of France, to the ubiquitous castles and abbeys from the Middle Ages, the garden in Giverny of the World’s most popular artist, to the memorials of more recent historical events of World importance, Basse Copette is ideally situated on the Normandy/Somme border to provide something of interest for everyone, throughout the year. Whatever your passion or your age, whether you stay for a few days or a few weeks, the cultural and historical attractions and activities of this area of France are as good as any other of the more well known areas.
… some of the many things to do in Upper Normandy & the Somme:
- Samara Prehistoric Park
- Amiens Cathedral
- Chateau d’Eu
- Baie de Somme
- Somme Battlefields
- Monet’s house and gardens, Giverny
- Le Havre UNESCO World Heritage City
- Jules Verne’s House
- Jumieges Abbey
- The Medieval city of Rouen
- Musée des Beaux Arts, Rouen
- Monument to Entente Cordiale
- WW2 monuments along the Normandy coast
The Somme is very well known for the dramatic events of the first World War, Upper Normandy on the other hand is relatively unknown. Many visitors to France drive through Upper Normandy, as this is the main route from Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (for those entering France at the ferry ports in Calais and Boulogne) to Brittany, the Loire Valley and further south into the other popular tourist areas in south-west France. Like these other well-trodden regions of France Upper Normandy never fails to surprise its visitors as it is just as rich in culture and tradition, but without hoards of tourists. And, contrary to a popular misconception, the weather can be just as good – it may be a few degrees colder, but it is every bit as dry and sunny.
For visitors to Basse Copette you really are spoilt for choice – there really is something for everyone. Being on the Normandy/Picardy border, and roughly halfway between the cities of Rouen and Amiens, Basse Copette is an ideal base for anyone wishing to explore these two regions from one location. On this page I detail some of the highlights this area has to offer, when you arrive at Basse Copette I ensure there is ample information about the local attractions, and of course I am on hand to share my seven years of experience.
It was in the Somme River gravels, just north of Basse Copette, that 19th century archaeologists first accepted that hand axes we now take for granted as having been made in the Stone Age were in fact made by humans. Besides sites of historical importance, there are sites from the Stone Age right up to the Roman period. For more detailed information about the archaeology in this area, and the various sites and museums open to the public, see my website Archaeology Travel, and don’t miss Samara Prehistoric Park – perfect for children.
From the remains of Roman amphitheatres and their military base camps, used to launch their attack on Britain in the first century AD, to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Le Havre, a city that was all but obliterated by allied bombs during the second World War and since rebuilt, the architectural heritage of Upper Normandy and the Somme is as spectacular in quality as it is in variety. The Medieval city of Rouen is spectacular, while the immense cathedral in Amiens is simply breath taking, day or night, and of course lots of castles and abbeys.
Without doubt the draw-card in Upper Normandy is Giverny, the village where Claude Monet created his famous gardens. If like me you have a particular passion for Impressionist art, whether it is Monet or Impressionism more generally, this area is a must! There is so much more to see than Giverny. Besides the Fine Arts Museum in Rouen, Monet’s cathedral in Rouen, and of course the coastline from Dieppe to Le Havre. I have spent a lot of time following in the footsteps of the Impressionists in Normandy, see my Monet & Normandy website.
The Somme and Normandy bear witness to some of the World’s most tragic historical events. People come from all over to pay their respects. War has a long history here – including the many sites associated with the Hundred Years War. But the area is also known for treaties, just down the road is Château d’Eu where in 1843 Queen Victoria came to meet King Louis Philippe for the first ‘Entente Cordiale‘. At a monument marking this event, in 2000 the French paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on her 100th birthday.
Bespoke, private guided tours of Normandy and the Somme
Having lived at Basse Copette for seven years, I know the area well. And as an archaeologist and an art historian I am also very familiar with the cultural significance of the attractions on offer, first hand experience I use in my archaeology and impressionism travel websites.
Some people enjoy coming to Basse Copette and being directed to the sites, others enjoy the pleasure of being taken to these sites. Not only am I happy to share my knowledge with my guests, no matter how long you are staying for, I also provide bespoke guided tours. Whether it is just a day trip to Pissarro and Monet’s gardens, a day tour of some of the main memorials in the Somme, or a guided tour of some of the sites along the Normandy coast, or a few days incorporating a mix of these – I am at your service. I also provide day trips from Paris, with or without overnight stays. For more information see my tours of the Archaeology, Art and Gastronomy in France website.
And if all this is not enough for your stay at Basse Copette, Paris makes a wonderful day trip.
I frequently write about what’s on in the area in my blog – these articles provide more detailed information about individual attractions – follow the various links in the sidebar to the right, or browse my Normandy Blog.