Things to see and do - Le Mont-Saint-Michel
Normandy - A Getaway in La Mancha :
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Normandy - A Getaway in La Mancha
Normandy - A Getaway in La ManchaBy 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!Customise this route and add it to My travel book
Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, founded an oratory on this island in 708 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is easily accessible by amphibious vehicle. If the tide allows it, it is even possible to reach it on foot! Once there, you will discover the Regional Maritime Museum. Its collections illustrate the island's history as well as fishing techniques in the Channel. The island also boasts a maritime garden (many species of coastal flora) and a protected nature area covering 20ha (heathland, dunes, shores and bird sanctuary). It is possible to climb to the top of the tower of the former Vauban Fort (bookshop, cafeteria) in order to see La Hougue.