Mixed Summer for Tourism in Normandy

Summer

SeaWith the French school holidays finishing this week the tourism industry in Normandy is reporting an up and down season with the poor start to the season along with the economic outlook affecting business.

While some locations, particularly on the coast, have seen an increase in number after a very slow start to the season, others have seen numbers fall as people go to the beach which is free rather than spend money on attractions.

But attendance numbers have varied considerably across the region. The Armada in Rouen was well attended as was the Impressionism exhibition at the Christian Dior museum in Granville. But Cite de la Mer in Cherbourg has seen fewer visitors, a fall of 10,000 in July compared with the same month in 2012, and some of the D-Day museums also had fewer visitors, most notably the Airborne Museum at Sainte-Mere-Eglise and the museum at Utah Beach.

A spokesman for Cite de la Mer summed the situation up; ‘When it is good weather people don’t come, they go to the beach instead, as it is free,’ said Bernard Cauvin.

With people flocking to the coast some restaurants and shops have benefitted. At Port-en-Bessin in Calvados, for example, the Rotonde bar said it was a very good summer season with various events such as the Port Fete and the annual sea blessing attracting a lot of people.

Tourism officials in the Lisieux area are expecting positive figures when they are released with the Nautile aquatic centre, the Lisieux museum and Saint-Germain-de-Livet castle reporting lots of local visitors and more tourists as well.

Restaurants in Deauville and Trouville are also reporting a good summer. ‘When the sun comes out, so too do the visitors. Parisians wait for the good weather,’ said one restaurateur.

Visitor numbers to Mont Saint Michel have not yet been released but will undoubtedly have been affected by the strike by staff that closed the famous abbey for several weeks in a dispute over transport.

But restaurant owners on the Mont have seen more visitors in the evening, after 7pm when parking is free. But it will still end up being a poor season, according to Francoise Leroy, president of the hotel owners and workers union in the Manche. ‘July was not good. In August there were just three weeks when places were full. Members are now hoping for a good September,’ she explained.

Members are also reporting that fewer people have been staying in hotels on the world famous attraction and when they do they are opting just for a room and not eating breakfast or other meals in the hotels.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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