France’s most visited attraction outside of Paris, Mont St Michel, is a must-see for first-time visitors to Normandy, the region’s tourism representative has said.

In 2009, 191 million nights were spent in hotels and similar establishments across France, a decrease of 5.6 per cent compared with 2008.

Sarah Whitman of Atout France, the official tourism body for France, said that given Normandy’s close proximity to the UK, it is an ideal location for a weekend break.

"It really is spectacular. It’s twinned with St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and it’s an island in its own right. When the tide is up it’s completely surrounded by water and when the tides down you can get across to visit it."

She added that the region offers a wide range of attractions for people on a short break or relocating entirely, including visiting a cider farm, seeing William the Conqueror’s grave in Caen or taking a trip to Monet’s Garden in Giverny.

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