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2017-12-03 14:05
By Choe Chong-dae



We know Normandy as the site of the Allied D-day landings on June 6, 1944. There are World War II commemorative sites throughout the region. The military cemeteries, war memorial museums, and D-Day landing beaches, including Omaha and Utah attract many visitors from France as well as from the whole world.

Having been engaged in the international cotton business, I had the pleasure of participating in professional dinners and seminars a couple of times held at the Hotel Barriere Le Royal and the Casino in the elegant city of Deauville, located in the heart of Normandy. A joint seminar focusing on genetically modified raw cotton was organized by the French Cotton Association.

Strolling along the boardwalk with the sea as the only horizon, I was fascinated by a great variety of architectural styles which blend the extravagance of the Second Empire, the golden age of Anglo-Norman design and the striking buildings of the 1890s, architecture which is well preserved in the resort.

Deauville is regarded as the "Queen of the Norman beaches" and one of the most glamorous seaside resorts in France as well as in the world. As the closest seaside resort to Paris, the city and its region of the Cote Fleurie (Flowery Coast) have long been home to romantic seaside houses.

What impressed me most in Normandy was the magnificent Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel as well as other castles, splendid churches, and picturesque ancient towns such as Rouen and Cean. Along the Channel coast, remarkable lime stone cliffs drop into the ocean, while lower Normandy is characterized by verdant, peaceful valleys. An idyllic pastoral area called the "Suisse Normande" ("Norman Switzerland") beckons nature lovers.

Recently, a special Normandy networking luncheon was held at Lotte Hotel, Seoul, on Oct. 30. It was hosted by Herve Morin, President of the Normandy region and former French Minister of Defense (2007-2010) with the support of the French-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), Business France Korea and Atout France. Many Korean and French guests including French Ambassador to Korea Mr. Fabien Penone participated in the event. Ms. Ida Daussy, a French born Korean broadcaster (Professor of French Language and Culture at Sookmyung Women’s University) officiated at the event in fluent Korean, and French, featuring presentations about the Normandy region
With its unique cultural heritages, worldwide famous sites, romantic breathtaking coastal landscapes, picturesque harbor towns such as Honfleur or Trouville, a strategic location, famous food products and a business and innovation friendly environment, Normandy has a considerable number of assets to develop tourism, business and investment to a worldwide scale.

Morin visited Korea in late October along with officials of 10 companies of the Normandy region to promote products, firms with high-end know-how as well as international initiatives of the region to attract tourists, investors, researchers and young talent.

Remarkably, the Normandy region is renowned worldwide for the excellence of agri-food industry, (high quality cheese, butter, cream meat, fish and shellfish, vegetable and cider apples) its enormously huge marine energy potential (over 600km of coastline), its optimum logistics facilities (logistics warehouses, river and seaports) and its R&D clusters in aeronautics, secure electronic transactions, cosmetics and fine horses.

It is a region which has all the abundant resources and potential to be both today and tomorrow, the realization of a new model of development, responding to the hopes and wishes of the youth who flourish in an open, agile and interconnected world.

I wish Normandy would promote itself on becoming a world-recognized territory for peace, reconciliation and humanism as its history has been related with peace, liberty and human rights.


Choe Chong-dae (choecd@naver.com) is a guest columnist of The Korea Times. He is president of Dae-kwang International Co. and director of the Korean-Swedish Association.


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