The residence of the first Dukes of Normandy until 1204, Fécamp is a pretty seaside port on the Alabaster Coast that is known for the Benedictine liquer made at the palace here.
Located in the valley of the river Valmont, in the heart of the Pays de Caux, Fécamp was the first home of the Dukes of Normandy. Granted his status by William the Conqueror, the first Duke of Normandy built his palace in Fécamp and you can still visit the remains of this medieval palace today. Fécamp proudly takes its place on the William the Conqueror route throughout Normandy. In more modern times, the town has been famous as the largest cod-fishing port in France with fishermen travelling from here to the coast of Newfoundland in search of cod. This history is explored at the Musée des Terre-Neuvas et de la Pêche, which is running a temporary exhibition of Impressionist pastels from June to August 2013 whilst it moves to new premises.
Built on the cliffs of the Alabaster Coast, Fécamp has some charming fishermen's houses and a quaint chapel high up on the clifftop that is dedicated to Our Lady of Hi, the protector of sailors, which affords great views of the town and sea. The pretty church of St Etienne, a mixture of Renaissance and Neo-Gothic architecture overlooks the harbour but the town's most impressive religious building is undoubtedly the spectacular Abbey Church of the Holy Trinity, a Gothic masterpiece that is as long as the Notre-Dame de Paris and has the 3rd and 4th Dukes of Normandy buried inside. The 60m high lantern tower is a beautiful sight. The monks apparently created a secret elixir which Alexandre le Grand, a collector of religious art, found in his collection of books and brought into production as the herbal liqueur, Benedictine. He built the stunning Benedictine Palace in honour of his liqueur and it is produced there today still. You can take a tour and try some of this renowned liqueur and there is also a museum of religious art, showcasing Alexandre le Grand's collections, in the palace.
The area around Fécamp is beautiful with both countryside and cliffs to explore. There are over 150km of marked trails with 10 hiking trails and 6 mountain biking trails to choose from, withs available from the Tourist Office. You'll find several WW2 bunkers stationed along the cliffs of the Atlantic. Wander around the town itself and enjoy some souvenir shopping or a meal by the quayside. As to be expected, seafood is a speciality here including oysters, prawns, whelks, crabs and lobster amongst other fruits de mer. You can buy fresh fish from the fish market at the port every Friday and Saturday. Or, if you want to try some other local delights, head to the open-air market on a Saturday morning in town. A trip to Fécamp is not complete however with tasting the Benedictine liqueur, made from an infusion of 27 herbs and spices. The liqueur can be enjoyed served half-and-half with brandy, called a B & B, for those who prefer a less sweet tasting drink.
Why visit Fécamp?
- Benedictine Palace
- Musée des Terre-Neuvas et de la Pêche
- Abbey Church of the Holy Trinity
- Pretty marina and striking cliffs
- Country: France
- Region: Normandy
- Department: Seine-Maritime
- Population: 20,000
- Coordinates: 49.755819,0.380745
Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.