Ma Normandie Info

Written in 1836 by Frédéric Bérat, a gas company worker who moonlighted writing songs, Ma Normandie has been adopted as the popular, though unofficial, anthem of the region of Normandy in France.

Up until 2007, Ma Normandie was, oddly enough, the official anthem of the Island of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency!

Norman Countryside - Champeau - Route des Falaises - 2006

The Norman countryside which was the inspiration for this song is, indeed, beautiful (see Slideshow) (see Galleries) -- a rolling landscape of dairy farms and old stone and half-timbered houses, apple orchards, seaports, and lowlands dotted with herds of sheep -- as well as being the scene of many historic events commemorated at numerous memorials.

The Farms and orchards of Normandy are the source of world renowned cheeses and cider and Calvados, (a potent apple brandy.) The "agneau pré-salé" lamb from the tidal plains of the bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel is a world famous delicacy. The rivers and seacoast of Normandy yield seafood second to none. The sole and shellfish of Normandy are sought-after throughout Europe. Norman cuisine is rich with butter and cream sauces, often seasoned with Calvados and butter-browned apple slices
(see Gastronomy).

Normandy Sky at Evening - Donville-les -Bains - 2002The skies of Normandy, landscapes in themselves, are also famous. Like Monet and Victor Hugo, many famous, (and not-so-famous,) writers, artists, and photographers have been attracted by the skies of Normandy for their inspiration, to photograph, paint and write about and under them.

It is understandable that
Bérat should have found in these virtues the inspiration for his lovely song. Inspiration which can still be found today, for, although tourism is a thriving industry there, Normandy still largely retains its quiet, bucolic, and friendly old-world charm.

Street Corner in Avranches - 2002My mother was from Avranches, (see Gallery)(see Map) the town, (actually a city,) featured in a number of the photos in the Slideshow. Historically the main town in the Avranchin region of Basse Normandie, Avranches sits majestically atop the highest hill in the region. Her skyline, punctuated by the twin steeples of Notre-Dame-des-Champs, can be seen all the way from the Mont-Saint-Michel (see Gallery) across the bay. Oftentimes known as "la Cité des fleurs et des panoramas", Avranches is renowned for her scenic vistas and her botanical garden, Le Jardin des Plantes. (see Gallery)

Les Mares - 2002I was born in the stable, (don't remember getting a visit from Three Wise Guys, though,) on 'Les Mares' (see Gallery), (also featured in the slideshow,) a farm within easy walking distance, (a couple blocks or so,) from downtown Avranches. We moved away when I was still a baby, but every time I return to Avranches and 'Ma Normandie', it feels like coming home to me.

So Ma Normandie is a song that has great meaning for me. (See Ma Normandie et Moi)  

Le Gué de l'Épine - 2003I sang it at my mother's funeral. We spread her ashes in the bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel (see Marguerite), at le Gué de l'Épine, in Le Val-Saint-Père (see Gallery), just below her birthplace in Avranches... Ma Normandie.



Normandie Related Sites:

official site of the City of Avranches -
Tourism pages - in English

Abbaye de la Lucerne
official site - French  only
tripadvisor - English

Le Mont-Saint-Michel
official site - in English

Normandie Héritage
Virtual encyclopædia of all things Norman -
in French only

Normandie Tourisme
official site of the Normandy Tourist Board - English version

WWII Related Sites:

The Normandy Landings
with Flash animated battle map

Saint-Laurent-sur Mer

overview of monuments and museums at Omaha Beach and Normandy American Cemetery with photos and timeline

excellent recounting of the scaling of the cliffs by US Rangers

Normandy American Cemetery
American Battle Monuments Commission site -
with video and narrated tour

Brittany American Cemetery
American Battle Monuments Commission site -
with video

Other Links:

Galleries powered by SmugMug

Maps powered by Google Maps

Tony's Music Page

snoupi's Smugmug

The Jealous Sea

Snoupi's Saloon

Find the places referred to on the Ma Normandie interactive maps.Quelle heure est-il en Normandie?
Ma Normandie Interactive Maps