On Normandy Isle, at the eastern juncture of 71st Street and Normandy Drive, a little triangular plot of land known as the Vendome Plaza is home to the Normandy Fountain. A vestige of earlier times, the fountain was designed in 1925, part of a grand neighborhood plan by Henri Levy, the man who had the vision to create and develop Normandy Isle.
Levy, originally from France, named the area and its streets after places in his homeland that brought back pleasant memories for him. The fountain, constructed of stone and delicately decorated in the Mediterranean Revival style, itself is a landmark for many, serving as the center of the village ever since the 1930s when commercial development began its incursion into Normandy Isle.
Currently, on any day, a number of businesses are active along the busiest streets (71st Street and Normandy Drive) in Normandy Village. They include medical, law, and real estate offices, banks, hardware and paint stores, grocery stores, and boutiques. Several excellent eateries, serving everything from creamy gelato to Thai, Greek, Italian, and Japanese cuisine to juicy steaks, also appeal to a variety of taste buds and keep the area hopping day and night.
Although Normandy Village attracts its share of foot traffic all week long, the plaza truly becomes a hub of activity every weekend. There, for more than a decade, a farmer's market has been held around the fountain, making it one of the city's most popular gathering places. Each Saturday morning and afternoon during the winter and spring, a crowd can be seen milling about booths peddling fruits and vegetables, plants and flowers, and specialty food items. The market can be a fun social event as well as an essential shopping experience. Residents of all ages from the neighborhood (and sometimes beyond) arrive on foot or by bicycle and often run into friends or make new ones.
A lively place day and night, where business is transacted and people meet, eat, shop, and have fun, Normandy Village literally has Henri Levy's touch in the form of the Normandy Fountain. His optimistic spirit also endures in the town he envisioned - a true neighborhood with the cosmopolitan flair of his native France and the friendliness of a Florida beachside resort.