Granville’s Carnival Comes To Town

Granville’s Carnival Comes To Town

Granville’s carnival will take place from 1st – 5th March this year. It’s an annual event that lasts for five days and always finishes on the Tuesday of Mardi Gras.

Granville's carnivalGranville's carnival

For details of the programme, you can check out the website here.

This year is the 145th carnival in Granville and it’s one of the largest carnivals in north west France. Saturday and Sunday are the most popular days. The children’s parade takes place on the Saturday while the main parade is on the Sunday. Around 45 floats take part and 3000 people take part in the procession. Weird and wonderful fancy dress is the order of the day and the event ends on the Tuesday with a huge confetti fight. Lots of the audience dress up too with many wearing fancy dress, masks or hats. The shops are full of dressing up outfits and huge bags of confetti in the run up to the carnival. Granville certainly knows how to put on a show!

Take a look at the teaser video below for a taste of what to expect.

 

A Gourmet Day Out in Normandy

A Gourmet Day Out in Normandy

For a gourmet day out in Normandy, the town of Lonlay l’Abbaye is the perfect choice. There’s even some history thrown in for good measure.

There are five activities on the tour – three gourmet experiences, lunch and an abbey visit. The tours are run every Wednesday throughout the year. Places must be booked and the tour will be in French. However, as much of it involves food and drink, that may not be an issue.

gourmet day out in NormandyYou can download the brochure here.

To book your place on the tour all you need to do is contact the tourist office directly.

Office de Tourisme
12 place de la Roirie
61700 DOMFRONT
Tél : 02 33 38 53 97
info@ot-domfront.com
Website

Alternatively, you can visit each of the suggestions yourself so let’s take a look at them in more detail.

1.Biscuit Factory – La Biscuiterie de L’Abbaye

Biscuits have been made here since 1090. They offer a guided tour and free tasting. This lasts around an hour. You’ll be provided with a protective hairnet and overall to wear as you watch how the biscuits are made. You get to see the kneading, cutting, baking and packaging.

Places need to be booked. For more information and to book just call Mathilde on +33 (0)2 33 30 64 64 or email mathilde@biscuiterie-abbaye.com

The biscuit factory details are as follows:
Biscuiterie de l’Abbaye – Route du Val – 61700 Lonlay l’Abbaye
The English version of their website is here.

gourmet day out in Normandy

2.The Abbey Church – Abbatiale Notre Dame de Lonlay

You can do your own tour from 9am – 7pm every day. Entry is free. If you’d like to find out more about the abbey church that was built in the 11th century, download the brochure.
The abbey church is accessed via Place Saint-Sauveur in the centre of the town.

Lonlay L'Abbaye Lonlay L'Abbaye

3.Lunch – Le Relais de l’Abbaye

This is the suggested restaurant although there are other options outside of Lonlay l’Abbaye. Le Relais is at 16 Place Jules Levée, Tel 02.33.37.89.65. They offer a formule (set menu) for 15,90€ that includes starter, main course, dessert, quarter carafe of wine, coffee.

4.Beer tasting – Le Château de la Bière

For an additional gourmet experience you could visit this artisan beer producer. Their details are Le Château de la Bière, Le Fay, Tel 02.33.38.07.86 email contact@chateau-de-la-biere.com
Their website is here.

5.Dairy ice creams – Les Glaces de la Ferme Bidard

A final gourmet visit awaits just a short distance outside of Lonlay. Contact details: Les Glaces de la Ferme Bidard, La Guerche Carée
Tel: 06.48.99.63.98 Website.  This farm is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

gourmet day out in Normandy

This gourmet day out is a great way to explore the small town of Lonlay l’Abbaye in Normandy.

 

What To Do In Villedieu-les-Poeles

What to do in Villedieu-les-Poeles

For inspiration of what to do in Villedieu-les-Poeles, visitors can take a look at the 2019 tourist guide. It’s produced in English and French and includes a map of the town to help you to plan your trip.

 

What to do in Villedieu-les-Poeles Hambye abbey

Villedieu is an historic town that once housed various artisan trades ranging from lacemaking to metalworking. The various trades were carried out in courtyards that radiate from either side of the main street. These courtyards also housed the artisans and their families on the upper floors of the narrow houses. The ground floor of each house was the workshop. There are a number of museums in Villedieu that explain the various trades in more detail.

Normandy market days

There’s also a busy market in Villedieu, a bell foundry and a church. To discover the history of the town tourists can ask about tours at the local tourist office. The English version of their website is here.

Hambye Abbey Villedieu-les-Poeles in Normandy

In the area surrounding Villedieu you can visit the beautiful abbey at Hambye, take a trip to the zoo at Champreus or play mini golf.

The brochure is available in the tourist office or you can download it here.

Things To Do In Coutances

Things to do in Coutances

For some ideas of things to do in Coutances, why not take a look at three new brochures. The brochures have been produced by Coutances Tourist Office and will give you a real insight on how you can spend your time here.

Things to do in Coutances

The first guide is an A4 publication full of stunning photos of Coutances and the surrounding area. The front cover shows the beach huts at Gouville-sur-mer and is written in English and German. Topics covering include the must-see sights, sporting activities, the coastal delights, local delicacies and regional produce. You can take a look at the PDF here.

Things to do in Coutances

The second guide is in French and shows the view from La Pointe du Agon towards Regnéville-sur-mer. It’s a longer version of the English/German version and also includes information about key events taking place together with a suggested 48 hour itinerary. The PDF is here.

Things to do in Coutances

The third guide is a neat A5 sized address book that you can pop in your bag. It’s easy to refer to when you’re out and about. It includes information about things to see and do, restaurants, local produce, leisure activities, entertainment and accommodation. The guide is here.

You can find the link for all three brochures here.

There’s a whole range of things to see and do in the Coutances area. Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, a nature lover, adrenaline junkie or a beachcomber you’ll find it here. It’s Normandy at it’s best.

What I Love About Normandy

What I Love About Normandy

What I love about Normandy is a rather long list! So I though I’d focus on just one of the things I love: the Normandy coastline.

Coastal towns and villages, harbours, sandy beaches, fantastic sunrises and sunsets, beach huts and seafood are just some of the highlights.

Granville

Granville is one of my favourite coastal towns. It’s set on a rocky promontory and has two distinct parts. The harbour is a wonderful spot for people watching as boats and their passengers come and go. You can catch a boat to the nearby Chaussey islands and the Channel Islands from here. Rue du Port overlooks the port and has a wide variety of seafood restaurants. Small independent shops, a market and the usual facilities and business are in the streets immediately beyond the port. The lower town contrasts with the high town. Part of the town is fortified and you can walk round the coastal path for great views up and down the coast. It’s a great spot for rock pooling. All you need is an outgoing tide, a net, bucket and some inquisitive children.

rock pooling in Granville

Sunsets and Sandy Beaches

The photos below were taken at Mont-Saint-Michel bay. It is possible to walk across the bay when the tide is out as long as you join a guided tour. There’s a danger of quicksand otherwise.

sunset Mont St Michel

Seafood

Seafood features heavily on Normandy restaurant menus. You can be guaranteed fresh produce as it will have been caught locally. There are oyster and mussel beds located from Agon-Coutainville up to Gouville. My favourite seafood dish is moules frites which is mussels and chips.


What I love about Normandy

Beach Huts

I love these beach huts at Gouville-sur-Mer nestled in the dunes. Their coloured roofs add a pop of colour to the landscape.

Gouville Normandy Beach Huts

High and Low Tides

The extreme tides are an unusual characteristic of the Normandy coast. The photo below was taken at Les Salines, near to Bricqueville sur Mer. The whole road floods during very high tides.

high tide at briqueville sur mer

The D-Day Landing Beaches

An article about the coastline wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the D-Day landing beaches. You can read more about the beaches here. The day I spent exploring the Omaha Beach area last year is one of my personal highlights. It was an incredibly emotional day as I learnt about the bravery and horror that so many soldiers experienced on 6th June.

Omaha Beach

This is Les Braves sculpture on Omaha Beach at St Laurent sur Mer. It’s hauntingly beautiful and represents the sacrifices made on this beach. My personal reflection was that it symbolised the fallen who didn’t make it but who nevertheless played a vital role.

Normandy American Cemetery

This is the American Cemetery at Colleville sur Mer. It overlooks the sea and you can hear the gentle rumble of the waves as you walk along the northern edge of the cemetery.

D-Day

And finally, Utah beach. The beach was the landing place of American troops.

There are lots more things to do and do along the Normandy coastline. I live around a 15 – 20 minute drive from the nearest beach. A trip to the beach always lifts the spirits and blows away the cobwebs. It’s good for the soul and one of the things I love about Normandy.

Tasting Typical Normandy Dishes

Tasting Typical Normandy Dishes

Coutances Tourist Office has written about 8 typical Normandy dishes. They’re widely available throughout the region and include Normandy specialities. This article is written in French and you can read it here.

Their choice of Normandy dishes is:-

1. La tarte aux pommes à la Normande

This is an apple tart and has Calvados added to it for an extra kick.

2 .Les moules à la Normande

A steaming plate of mussels served with a side of delicious french fries. This Normandy dish has a cider and cream sauce.

3. Escalopes à la Normande

A simple dish of turkey escalope with mushrooms and cream. Sometimes cider is added to it.

4 . Les recettes à base de Camembert

Number four on the list is dishes using camembert. This might include a fondue, a savoury tart, a salad or even soup. There’s always the option of Camembert served with bread as part of a cheese course.

Normandy dishes
Camembert

5. Feuilleté Andouille, Pommes, Camembert

Feuilleté is a pastry parcel filled with andouille (a spicy sausage that is not for the feint hearted), cooked apples and melted Camembert.

6. La teurgoule

Tergoule is a sweet rice pudding flavoured with cinnamon.

7. Coquilles Saint-Jacques à la Normande

Scallops cooked with butter, cream, mushrooms and white wine.

Normandy foods

8. Huîtres

Oysters are another Normandy speciality due to the abundance of oyster beds along the coast.

For oysters and mussels, you can try La Cale in Blainville sur Mer. La Cale a beach shack style bar right on the beach. It’s very simple and rustic in terms of its decoration but the food gets rave reviews. It’s very good quality and you go and order and pay for your food at the till. It’s not the place to go if you want to be waited on and have a table to yourselves. Eating at La Cale is a sociable experience and as you’ll discover, it’s very good value for money.

Visiting The Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux tapestry

For tourists visiting the Bayeux tapestry, this guide gives you all the information you need. It is most definitely worth a visit and should be on your Bayeux bucket list. It’s probably what visitors associate the most with Bayeux.

Bayeux tapestry

The tapestry is, in fact, an embroidery completed in the 1070s. The detail of the stitching is so intricate. There are 58 embroidery panels in total and they’re joined together to tell a story. They show the events that led to the Norman conquest of England. The final panels depict the Battle of Hastings in 1066 where Harold who was the King of England, was shot in the eye with an arrow.

Bayeux tapestry

You can read more about my visit to the Bayeux tapestry here. I’ve included lots of photos and practical information.

You can also take a look at this website or watch the video below. There are plenty of other things to do in Bayeux. This guide will give you some more ideas.

February Half Term in Normandy

February half term

Today is the first day of the February half term holidays in Normandy. Throughout France, holidays will last until the 8th March because different regions have alternative dates.

For visitors to Normandy, there are activities to do even though it’s not the main summer season. For ideas of what to do in winter, visit this page.

For something quite different why not visit a local bell foundry? La Fonderie des Cloches is located in Villedieu-les-Poêles in Normandy. The town is known as the copper town although other metals were also worked here. Villedieu has a rich heritage of bellfounding dating back to the end of the Middles Ages. The current bell foundry building was built in 1865.

February half term

You can watch how the bells are made and learn about the production process. Tours are available in English by prior arrangement.  Listen to the carillon bells in the courtyard and the sounds of visitors trying out other bells.

Opening Times

9 February to 11 November 2019 (from Tuesday to Saturday)
10am to 12.30pm and 2 to 5.30pm.
From 13 July to 26 August 2019 (every day)
9.30am to 6.30pm.

There’s no parking on site but you can park just a few minutes away.

Cost

Individuals : 8,40€
Children aged 6 to 11: 7,40€
Children under 6: free

Fonderie de Cloches Cornille Havard
10 rue du Pont Chignon
50800 Villedieu-les-Poêles
Tél 02 33 61 00 56
Fax 02 33 90 02 99

You can visit their website here or watch the video below.

The Benefits Of #BookDirect

#BookDirect

Independent holiday home owners are joining forces today (6th February 2019) to explain the benefits of #BookDirect.

The Benefits

  1. You get the best price.
  2. Neither you or the owner pay booking charges or commission.
  3. There’s direct communication between you and the owner.#BookDirect

This means that if you book direct with the owner you can communicate before you book to ensure the property and the area meets your needs.

If you book via an Online Travel Agent (OTA) they will charge commission for exactly the same property.

You can use Google to research a property to make sure it is legitimate. Some of the things that I have to give guests the confidence to book direct are:

  • my own website
  • reviews about the property on my website and other listing sites
  • a social media presence – I’m most active on Facebook
  • an advert with my local Tourist Office (online and in their printed guide)
  • a star rating that means the gite has been audited by the Tourist Office

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have investigated the main listing sites over concerns about misleading discount claims and pressure selling. Expedia (who also own HomeAway and TripAdvisor), Booking dot com, Agoda, Hotels dot com, ebookers and trivago were involved. You can find details of their findings here.

 

Free Entry To Mont-Saint-Michel And The Abbey

Free Entry To Mont-Saint-Michel And The Abbey

There’s free entry to Mont-Saint-Michel and the abbey on the first Sunday of the month (November to March).

A visit to Mont-Saint-Michel

Today is the day! I went on the first Sunday in November for what turned out to be a beautifully sunny day. And it’s the same today. It’s a little chilly but there are glorious blue skies out there and the sun is shining.

Mont-Saint-Michel ramparts
Mont-Saint-Michel ramparts

The full price is 10€ for an adult so you can make a good saving. The abbey is open today until 6pm this evening. There is a charge for car parking and you can catch the free shuttle bus to the island. You can read all about the island, the village, the abbey and the surrounding area here. This is a comprehensive guide to Mont-Saint-Michel and includes photos, videos, hints and tips that will help you to make the most of your time there. The free entry to the abbey is a great opportunity to discover this amazing place.

A visit to Mont-Saint-Michel
The gilded statue on the church spire at Mont-Saint-Michel
Free entry to Mont-Saint-Michel
Near the main entrance