The debate will run through to 15 May 2020. The new project, planned for a tender in 2021 would span an area of roughly 300km2 of the proposed zone and comprise of up to 80 12MW wind turbines.
Other offshore sites in the area could be awarded in 2023-24.
Renewable energy trade bodies have welcomed the launch and emphasised the importance of working with all parties concerned.
"Normandy has a strong fishing industry, and the projects will raise a number of environmental and socio-economic concerns, including fishing, which the industry will address as best it can," said Matthieu Monnier from renewable energy trade body FEE.
This is the first time public input has been sought before an offshore project has been tendered, thanks to measures laid out in France’s new draft energy plan (PPE) earlier this year.
Previously, public debates only took place once developers had been chosen, leading to lengthy appeals.
The government now hopes to speed up the set-up time of wind projects, which can take between six to eight years for onshore wind sites in France — double the European average.