Dotted with villages of half-timbered houses and covered by a neat patchwork of hedgerows, the rolling green countryside of Normandy has a beauty and peace that belie its tumultuous history. Over preceding centuries, numerous wars on Norman territory reflected the unending rivalry between the French and the English. Earlier still, in the 9th century, Viking raids were an incessant menace. Indeed, the word “Norman” itself is derived from “Norsemen.” Weary of the commute to Scandinavia, the invaders eventually settled down and intermarried with the Frankish inhabitants. 

Join Andrew Harper today to continue reading our exclusive content.