Quaint Towns and Villages *

Quaint Towns and Villages

Introduction

This is a small selection of some of the quaint towns and villages in Normandy near the gite. There’s even a city in there for good measure. Most of them are in La Manche region. The other Normandy regions of Calvados, Calvados, Eure, Orne, and Seine-Maritime also have picturesque and vibrant towns and villages.

Quaint Towns and Villages

1. Avranches

Avranches
The castle and donjon

Here you’ll find the Chateau and Donjon built in around 950, the Museum of Art and History, the Scriptorial Museum (one of the largest collections of medieval illuminated manuscripts in France), the church of Notre Dame des Champs and the Botanical Gardens. You can see Mont Saint Michel from the gardens.


Quaint Towns and Villages

2. Caen

Caen

Caen is known as the town of a hundred spires. The spires can be seen on historical buildings built during the reign of William the Conqueror. The chateau, Abbaye aux Dames, Abbaye aux Hommes (founded by William the Conqueror and his wife) and numerous churches dominate the skyline. William is buried in the abbey church. During WW2 much of the city was destroyed although a cross painted on top of the Men’s Abbey saved it from the bombings. The Mémorial de Caen on the outskirts of the city is a memorial and a museum dedicated to peace.


Quaint Towns and Villages

3. Coutances

Coutances garden
The theme for the garden changes every year

Coutances is a 20 minute drive for guests. As you approach from Nicorps, you get a spectacular view of the Cathedral sitting on top of the hill. Entry to the Notre Dame Cathedral is free. Guided tours and audio guides are available. You can also visit the Churches of St Nicolas and St Pierre. All three buildings survived the bombings of the second world war whilst everything around them was destroyed. The Jardin des Plantes is a delightful public garden – amongst one of the oldest in Normandy. There are a number of independent shops and restaurants. Click here for more information. Just outside of Coutances in the village of Gratot is a chateau dating from the 13th century.


Quaint Towns and Villages

4. Gavray

marché normad in gavray
Traditional dance and costumes at Gavray’s Marché Normand

Gavray is the nearest small town just a few minutes drive from the gite. You will find shops, bars and restaurants for your everyday needs. The supermarket is open every day except Sunday and has plenty of parking and a 24 hour petrol station. In the town you’ll find a post office, the tourist office, 3 boulangeries, a pharmacy, a butchers, a grocery store, pizza collection shop, a bar tabac, a couple of hairdressers, a newsagents, a launderette, a vets, a couple of banks and several bars and restaurants. There’s a small market on a Wednesday morning and also a cattle market (from 11am). On a Saturday morning, you’ll find a wider range of market stalls. Perched high on a hill overlooking Gavray are the ruins of the Chateau Ducal with views of Gavray. Hambye abbey is nearby.


Quaint Towns and Villages

5. Granville

granville

Set on a rocky headland, Granville is described as the Monaco of the north. The hustle and bustle of the shops, bars, marina and port area contrast with the old part of town (la haute ville) which overlooks it. A lighthouse, viewing point and second world war battery at one end give way to quaint cobbled streets, church, aquarium and various musems and galleries. There are beaches on either side of the headland (ideal for rock pooling). The Christian Dior museum and gardens are situated just outside of Granville and from here you can walk down a coastal path to the town. South of Granville is the 12th century abbey in Lucerne d’Outremer.

Quaint Towns and Villages

6. Villedieu-les-Poêles

villedieu-les-poêles

Known as the copper town, Villedieu is very pretty and characterful. You can visit the bell foundry, copper workshop and various other museums including one about lace making. For a walking tour of the town, you can explore the 35 courtyards on either side of the main street. This is where the artisans worked during the town’s heyday. The patron saints of the artisan trades are depicted in the church’s stained glass windows.

Other quaint towns and villages in Normandy include Saint-Martin de Bréhal where you’ll find the nearest beach; Gouville-sur-Mer with its stretch of brightly coloured beach huts; and Regnéville’s ruined chateau which defies gravity. In Bricqueville-sur-Mer (Les Salines) the road gets completely covered during high tides and always draws a crowd to watch the spectacle, Agon-Coutainville has a wonderful shop selling ice creams and candies in the summer and Blainville-sur-Mer is the oyster capital of the west coast. For more information about La Manche region, visit the website.


If you have any questions feel free to get in touch