Unfortunately the featured image probably gave away the question we are about to pose. Where do you think the home of the Norsemen were in France? If you answered Mont St Michel, LOL….it’s Normandy lah.
And so begins our French series.
First, a little history. From the 800s, roaming bands of pirates in horned long boats started appearing off the coasts of present day UK and France. NO. No, the pirates did not have horned helmets contrary to popular literature (yeah the comic strip Helga does not help). But they did wreck havoc all along the coasts and sometimes deep inland too, such as the attack on Paris in the year AD845. Actually they sacked the city.
Who were they? From available evidence today, they were probably a mixed lot of Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Angles, Jutes and even Saxons. Yep, the forebears of the good ole English folks…Point is they spoke variants of old Norse and old English is part of that family…York (England) is a Viking town just as a digression.
In any case, quite some decided to settle in the north of France.
And the French monarchs were presented with a problem. How now brown cow? Well they ‘officially’ recognized that these northmen – eventually shortened to Normans, ruled that northern stretch of France as vassals of France (nominally). And in line with the KISS principle, they just called their domain Norman-dy. The grand duchy of the Normans.
Today we don’t have to worry about horned warriors waylaying you on the roads. Hmmm….might take that back…and instead we can enjoy the wonderful coastal scenery (the Mont included) and delicious seafood+wine+cider…heheh
So you can imagine that driving around Normandy was indeed a real treat. Would this story motivate you to jump on a ship and make it to the land of the Norsemen?