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Normandy - A Getaway in La Mancha

Normandy - A Getaway in La Mancha

By car, 260 km, 3 days

Skirting along the coast of Mont-St-Michel to the Normandy landing beaches, not forgetting the Channel Islands, is a real treat!

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Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

L'Abbaye 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel
Religious buildings

Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, founded an oratory on this island after the Archangel St Michael appeared three times to him. This was replaced in the early 8C by a Carolingian abbey, and subsequently modified and extended over later centuries. Today, monks and nuns from the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem maintain a permanent spiritual presence in this oasis of calm amid one of the world's most visited tourist sites. The visit takes in a maze of corridors, staircases and floors.


Mont-Saint-Michel bay   Worth a detour Worth a detour

50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel
Nature and gardens

The bay of Mont-St-Michel is bordered by around 100km of coastline. The islands, cliffs, beaches and dunes here form a series of ecosystems home to numerous species of flora and fauna. This part of the Cotentin coast rewards visitors with stunning views of Mont-St-Michel and its bay (extensive interrupted views between Granville and Carolles) as well as pleasant walks between the polders and fields. To make the most of your time, make sure you visit the Maison de la Baie in Genêts.


Tour of the ramparts of Granville   Interesting

place de l'Isthme 50400 Granville
Architecture, castles and historic districts

From rue Lecarpentier, one skirts the South rampart to place de l'Isthme. From here, the view extends to the coast of Britanny (viewing table). Lower down lies the former "Englishmen's trench". The upper town is located within the ramparts. The landscape is rather austere; however, there is a fine view out to sea with the Chausey islands in the distance. Further along, rue St-Jean is lined with two ancient houses (numbers 3 and 7). The tour ends with the "montée du parvis " which reveals a half-timbered house.


Cathedral   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

50200 Coutances
Religious buildings

Begun in 1056, this cathedral is renowned for its elegant proportions, purity of design and profusion of ascending lines, culminating in 78m-high spires. The bold turreted lantern tower, noted for its slender ribbing, stands at a height of 41m at the transept crossing. Pause at the beginning of the nave for a remarkable overall picture of this singular building bathed in light. The upper storeys offer the chance of discovering the Romanesque parts of the edifice. They also command a superb panorama of the coast and the Channel Islands.


Bayeux Tapestry - Centre Guillaume-le-Conquérant   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

13 bis r. de Nesmond 14400 Bayeux
Museums and art

The famous Bayeux tapestry (it is in fact a piece of embroidery) is housed in a museum with two sections. In the first, this extraordinary 70m-long jewel of Romanesque art is displayed behind a glass panel, highlighting the rivalry between Harold and William the Conqueror via 58 detailed scenes. On the first floor, models, panels and displays provide a better understanding of William's reign, the origin and history of the tapestry, as well as an insight into how it was made and its conservation.


Pointe du Hoc   Worth a detour Worth a detour

14450 Saint-Pierre-du-Mont
Nature and gardens

Heavily defended by the Germans, this headland was an ideal post from which to survey the whole coast. It was here that the American troops landed on the dawn of 6 June 1944. A memorial in the form of a granite arrow on the edge of the cliff marks the spot and commands excellent views out to sea as far as the Cotentin peninsula.


Tatihou Island   Interesting

50550 Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue
Nature and gardens

Tatihou Island is accessible by amphibious vehicle and, if the tide allows it, on foot. The Regional Maritime Museum traces the history of the island as well as fishing techniques in the English Channel. The maritime garden has a wealth of flora and a protected nature area covering 20ha is an avian paradise. It is possible to climb the tower of the former Vauban Fort and see its twin tower at La Hougue.

St Vaast la Hougue is famous for its oysters, fleshy and full of iodine which the Romans once consumed in vast quanitities (we found whole oyster shells in the hills)... But the town is also famous for its hotel restaurant, where Le Mur de l'Atlantique (with Bourvil) was filmed and where you can sample delights such as trout with Camembert fondu... Yum!

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