Little touted outside France, the Ivory and Spice Route takes you around the best attractions of Haute- Normandie – Norman castles, attractive seaside resorts, and numerous chateaux built with money mostly procured from trade in spice, ivory and slaves.
The route starts in Mer-les-Bains where the flat expands of the Low Countries finally give way to the photogenic chalky cliffs of the Côte d'Albâtre, the Alabaster Coast. Mer-les-Bains, a resort town built up with colourful turn-of-the century villas, forms one commune with the cliff-side Le Treport (great seafood restaurants) and the inland Eu (a royal château). Victor Hugo, Jules Verne and Gustav Eiffel used to come here on holidays and just like in their time the area teems with Parisians flocking to the closest beaches from home they can find.
These days there is sold more seafood than caught and the ports that used to be the launchpads for great expeditions to faraway shores have changed their trade to restaurant business. Mers-les-Bains has never been one of those. It shot to prominence in the 1860s when bourgeoisie discovered that railway travel made a weekend getaway to the sea possible and affordable to middle-class families. The benefits of inhaling iodised air became whole-heartedly adopted in the trail of trend-setting Empress Eugenie. In recognition of that, the town's coats of arms is emblazoned with the motto "In littore floreo" - On the shore, I flourish.
- Lille - The Closest Bit Of France
- Mer-les-Bains - Bourgeois Seaside Resort Par Excellence
- Dieppe - Maps, Ivory And Scallops
- Fécamp - Liqueur, Seafood & Norman Vestiges
- The Limestone Arches Of Étretat
- Rouen - The Duck, The Pots & The Cathedral
- Richard the Lionheart's Château Gaillard
- Monet's Japanese Garden in Giverny
- Honfleur - A Picture-Perfect Port
- Mont St.Michel - The Marvel Abbey
- Côte Emeraude - Brittany's Emerald Coast
- St. Malo - The Granite Jewel of Brittany
- Dinard & St. Lunaire - Hangouts Of The Rich
- Jersey - The Bulwark Of Englishness