General information


Normandy is one of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy. Normandy is divided into five administrative departments: Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne, and Seine-Maritime. Normandy's name comes from the settlement of the territory by mainly Danish and Norwegian Vikings ("Northmen") from the 9th century, and confirmed by treaty in the 10th century between King Charles III of France and the Viking jarl Rollo

During the 10th and the 13th centuries, the glorious period of the Dukes of Normandy, the region began to gain some independence. Starting with Viking Rollo and then with William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart, who built castles, churches, abbeys and other architectural masterpieces, which would class Normandy as one of the richest provinces in the kingdom. Normandy has always been a popular destination to discover the medieval landmarks and relics from the turbulent Middle Ages despite the 1000 years of history that separates the French and the English. In Normandy you will discover the legacy of this fascinating medieval past and its sacred places.

75 years ago the battle of Normandy led to the Liberation of France. Chronologically, there were three definable phases to the operation on June 6th 1944: the air landings (which were centred on Utah Beach in the west and Sword Beach in the east), the air and naval bombardments of the Atlantic Wall, and the seaborne landings on the six beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword) and at Pointe du Hoc.

Normandy has many tourist sites to visit (such as Mont Saint Michel, the six beaches of the battle of Normandy, Honfleur, Etretat ...) and when the weather is mild, Normandy offers beautiful green landscape.



Normand gastronomy is famous for dairy products; Norman cheeses include Camembert, Livarot, Pont l'Évêque, Brillat-Savarin, Neufchâtel, Petit Suisse. Normandy butter and Normandy cream are lavishly used in gastronomic specialties. Fish and seafood are of superior quality in Normandy. Normandy is a major cider-producing region. Apple brandy, of which the most famous variety is calvados, is also popular. The mealtime trou normand, or "Norman hole", is a pause between meal courses in which diners partake of a glassful of calvados in order to improve the appetite and make room for the next course, and this is still observed in many homes and restaurants. Pommeau is an apéritif produced by blending unfermented cider and apple brandy. Apples are also widely used in cooking. Other regional specialities include tripes à la mode de Caen, andouilles and andouillettes, salade cauchoise, salt meadow (pré salé) lamb, seafood (mussels, scallops, lobsters, mackerel...), and teurgoule (spiced rice pudding).


Citizens of some countries may need a visa to enter France even for a short trip. Check online if you need a visa. In the affirmative case, the organisers can provide, on request, an invitation letter. Please send your CV, copy of student card and supervisor recommendation (for students) or list of publications. To avoid complying with fake requests aiming just at obtaining an entry visa, the organisers will not respond to requests from applicants whose study or work field is completely unrelated to the topic of the school.

Practical information

Electric sockets and power. In France, Type E socket is used; it accepts CEE 7/5 and CEE 7/6 plugs, as well as the Europlug. Current is 230 V, frequency 50 Hz. If your equipment has a different plug, or requires different voltage/frequency, you need an adapter. We recommend you purchase it before arriving in France.

Site of the School


The school will take place in the Cotentin Peninsula.  The Cotentin peninsula is part of the Armorican Massif[1] (with the exception of the Plain lying in the Paris Basin) and lies between the estuary of the Vire river and Mont Saint-Michel Bay. The weath­er is ex­pect­ed to be nice and mild at this sea­son but rainy periods can occur; participants are encouraged to bring an umbrella. Hous­ing will be on-site in a holiday village located in Portbail. Dou­ble oc­cu­pan­cy will be or­ga­nized for stu­dent par­tic­i­pants.



See below, a view of the Portbail site.


How to reach the school site




The address of the holiday village is :


VVF Villages “Les Îles Anglo-Normandes - Port-Bail sur Mer”


13 Avenue Pasteur BP 11 La Portes des Isles , 50580 PORT-BAIL SUR MER

phone : +33 (0)2 33 04 80 84


The school site is eas­i­ly ac­ces­si­ble by train.  Train to Cherbourg from Paris, Saint Lazare Station; stop at the Valognes station (about 3h00 from Paris). Shuttles services will be organized from the Valognes station on the 8th September 2019 to the VVF Portbail.  A shuttle bus will also be organized on the Saturday morning  (14th September 2019) from Portbail to Caen. 



View Larger Map

 Train Network in Normandy

Find a train - English version

(From Paris, choose the Saint Lazare Station and Valognes as destination)

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