National Cheese Lover’s Day

National Cheese Lover's Day

Today is National Cheese Lover’s Day (20th January 2019). And what better way to celebrate than taking a look at a cheese shop in Normandy?

National Cheese Lover's Day

I visited Au Carnaval des Fromages in Granville earlier this week and they kindly allowed me to take photos of their lovely shop. They’ve been cheesemongers for over 35 years and were originally based in Camembert in the Pays d’Auge in Normandy.

National Cheese Lover's Day National Cheese Lover's Day

Understandably, Camembert cheese features heavily in the range of artisan cheeses they sell. They also make their own Camembert. Other Normandy cheeses such as Pavé d’Auge, Livarot and Pont l’Evêque are also available. I also spotted Mont d’Or and Bleu d’Auvergne amongst others.

National Cheese Lover's Day National Cheese Lover's Day

If you’re not sure about a particular cheese you can ask to try it before you purchase it. You can select a variety of cheeses for a cheese board. This is known as a ‘plateau de fromage’ and the cost will depend on the varieties you choose.

National Cheese Lover's Day

As well as cheese, they also stock other dairy products such as cream and eggs. The épicerie part of the shop stocks artisan food and drinks including beers, fruit juices, cider and caramel sauce. There’s even saucisson flavoured with roquefort cheese.

They have a Facebook page.

Au Carnaval des Fromages is based at 94 Rue de Couraye, 50400 Granville. Their phone number is 02 33 69 96 17. The cheese shop is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm.

National Cheese Lover's Day

When To See The High Tides At Mont-Saint-Michel

When To See The High Tides At Mont-Saint-Michel

The high tides at Mont-Saint-Michel will return next week. They happen on around 20 days each year with two high tides each days. The high tides mean that Mont-Saint-Michel is cut off from the mainland and it becomes an island.

Mont-Saint-Michel high tides

It’s quite an impressive sight to see particularly if you’re on the island when it gets cut off. Bear in mind you may have to wait an hour or so for the tide to subside. The main entrance takes a while to clear but there is another route off the island.

Mont-Saint-Michel high tides Mont-Saint-Michel high tides

From Monday 21st to Thursday 24th January the tide co-efficient will be over 100. That number is the measurement of how high the tide will be.

Mont-Saint-Michel high tides

For information about Mont-Saint-Michel including the tide timetable for 2019 please go to this page. The tide timetable is in the section entitled ‘How can you make the most of your time there?’

Watch a time lapse video of this amazing phenomenon.

The Mont-Saint-Michel tourist office website page is here.

The Normandy Airborne Museum

Normandy Airborne Museum

The Museum

The Normandy Airborne Museum is located in Sainte-Mère-Église’s square just opposite the church. An effigy of American paratrooper John Steele hangs on the church spire. The museum pays tribute to the paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division. The paratroopers landed in Sainte-Mère-Église on the night of the 5th June and into the early hours of the morning of D-Day. From the invasion preparations in England through the battles for liberation, meet the Airborne troops and accompany them on their heroic journey to victory in Normandy.

Normandy Airborne Museum

Reviews

See one of the many excellent reviews below.

Normandy Airborne Museum

Alternatively, you can read more TripAdvisor reviews here.

Normandy Airborne Museum
Practical Information

Address: 14 Rue Eisenhower, 50480 Sainte-Mère-Église

Phone: 02 33 41 41 35

The website for the museum is here.

The museum is open every day.

May to August : 9:00am – 7:00pm.
April and September : 9:30am – 6:30pm.
October to March : 10:00am – 6:00 pm
The last ticket sales are one hour before closing.

The museum is closed in December and January except during Christmas Holidays. Additionally, it is closed on 24th, 25th and 31st December and 1st January.

However, animals are not allowed (except in a closed carrying bag).

Normandy Airborne MuseumThere are 4 different buildings to explore and also activity books for children to help them learn about D-Day. In May 2018, ipads were introduced in order to give visitors an interactive experience.

Videos And Additional Information

Watch the video below demonstrating how the iPads work.

This video with French and English titles gives a short overview of some of the sights you’ll be able to see.

Finally, for an in-depth guide about the D-Day landing sites you can visit this page.

We spent 3 weeks creating the best online guide to Normandy on the web. It includes everything from a bucket list, must see attractions to the best places to eat and drink.

It covers Mont St Michel, Monet’s garden, the D Day beaches, wine tours and much more. .

It’s packed with our personal recommendations, maps and videos.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR THINGS TO DO IN NORMANDY GUIDE

When Are Normandy Market Days?

Normandy market days

For a real taste of Normandy life, why not visit a local market? Throughout La Manche region of Normandy markets are held every day of the week. The list below gives details for each day.

Normandy market days Normandy market daysThe majority of markets are open in the morning from 8 or 9am and finish around 12 – 1pm. This is where locals go to buy their fruit and vegetables, cheese, cider, meat, fish and bread. Producers are local and can be found at a number of the markets and tend to have a regular pitch in each town or village.

Normandy market days Normandy market days

Markets are very sociable. If you see someone you know then you greet them with a kiss or a handshake and have a chat. They’re great places for people watching too.

Some of the larger markets sell a wider variety of goods including plants, clothes and footwear.

I visited the Villedieu-les-Poêles Tuesday market in the summer. Even though I arrived towards the end of the morning, I had to drive round a couple of times to find a parking space. One of the car parks near to the Tourist Office isn’t available for parking as some stalls are set up here. There are also stalls in the main street and by the church. Some of the photos below look a little hazy but it’s the smoke from the rotîsserie. These are a firm feature in Normandy markets and sell grilled sausages, ham or lamb with french fries.

Normandy market days Normandy market days

It’s definitely worth getting there early or be prepared to spend a little time finding a place to park. It shows how popular the market is.

Normandy Market Days

SUNDAY

Barenton ; Barneville plage (summer only) ; Donville ; Ducey (summer only)) ; Hauteville-sur-Mer ; Cherbourg-Octeville ; Pirou ; Saint-Jean-le-Thomas (summer only) ; Saint-Martin-de-Bréhal (summer only) ; Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte.

MONDAY

Bricquebec-en-Cotentin ;  Carentan-les-Marais ; Gouville-sur-Mer (summer only) ; Torigny-les-Villes, Juvigny-le-Tertre, Saint-James.

TUESDAY

Barfleur (Mardi de Pâques à la Toussaint) ; Bréhal ; Cerisy-la-forêt ; Cherbourg-Octeville (all day) ; Coutainville ; Ducey ; Hambye ; Hauteville-sur-mer (summer only) ; Jullouville (from 15/06 to 15/09) ; Lessay ; Portbail ; Quettehou ; Saint-Lô ; Saint-Clair-sur-Elle ; Sourdeval ; Villedieu-le-Poêles.

WEDNESDAY

Agneaux ; Chef-du-Pont ; Condé-sur-Vire ; Flamanville ; Gavray ; Granville (Place du Stade) ; Hauteville-sur-mer  (summer only) ; La Haye-Pesnel ; La Haye-du-Puits ; Montmartin-sur-Mer ; Marigny-le-Lozon ; Cherbourg-Octeville (morning only) ; Pirou (July and August) ; Pontorson ; Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët ; Saint-Pierre-Eglise ; Saint-Lô ; Tessy-Bocage.

THURSDAY

Cherbourg-Octeville (all day) ; Carolles ; Carteret ; Cérences ; Coutances ; Ger ; Hauteville-sur-mer  (summer only) ; Le Passous ; Le Teilleul ; Saint-Fromond ; Sainte-Mère-Eglise ; Saint-Pair-sur-Mer ; Saint-Lô ; Saint-Pois.

FRIDAY

Brécey ; Canisy ; Cerisy-la-forêt ; Equeurdreville-Hainneville ; Gouville-sur-Mer;  Hauteville-sur-mer  (summer only)  ; Jullouville ; Les Pieux ; Lingreville ; Picauville ; Pirou (July and August) ; Roncey ; Saint-Jean-de-Daye ; Saint-Lô ; Sartilly ; Valognes ; Quettreville-sur-Sienne.

SATURDAY

Avranches ; Barneville ; Beaumont-Hague, Barfleur ; Cerisy-la-Salle ;
Cherbourg-Octeville (morning) ; Coutainville ; Gavray ; Granville (Cours Jonville);  Hauteville-sur-mer  (summer only)  ; Montebourg ; Mortain ; Percy-en-Normandie ; Périers ; Pont-Hébert ; Saint-Lô (Grand marché);  Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue ; Quettreville-sur-Sienne.

Source:

The video shows the market in the main street.

The Best Normandy Landing Beaches Map

Normandy landing beaches map

It can be overwhelming to plan a visit to the Normandy landing beaches. As well as the five beaches, there are also museums, memorials, bridge, batteries, statues, and sculptures. And they’re dotted around a pretty large area.

Hints and Tips

There are five beaches, so the first step is to decide which one or ones you want to visit. This article gives an overview of each of the beaches and the key sites. If you already know which beach you want to visit, you can skip this step. Perhaps you have Canadian, American or British ancestors or family members who fought in the conflict. American forces tackled Utah and Omaha beaches, the Canadians took Juno while the British landed at Gold and Sword.

The next step is to use this article to familiarise yourself with the key sites. You’ll be able to see photos, read a description, watch videos and get links to the majority of the attractions.

Then use this map to see how far things are from each other. This will help you to plan your day and the route you’ll take. Check opening times for museums, visitor centres and batteries where you need a ticket. Not all sites are open all year round and some sites close for lunch. In winter sites tend to open later or close earlier due to the shorter days.

Also plan where you’re going to have lunch. The majority of restaurants are only open between 12 and 2pm for lunch.

Normandy landing beaches map


The pins on the map are colour coded according to the beach they represent. The turquoise ones on the left are for Utah beach and green is for Omaha. Gold has yellow pins, Juno is red. The  blue or purple pins on the right show the Sword beach sites.

Use a combination of both the map and the article as not everything appears in both places. For example, the Overlord Museum is very close to the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer but it isn’t on the map. Equally, Les Braves memorial sculpture on Omaha Beach at St-Laurent-Sur-Mer is missing from the map.

Finally, be prepared for how you might feel visiting these sites. Emotional and poignant is how most people describe it. Discovering the challenges faced and sacrifices made gives a feeling of gratitude and respect.

Battle of Normandy Museum in Bayeux
Battle of Normandy Museum in Bayeux

D-Day

The 10 Things To Do In Normandy In Winter

Mont-Saint-Michel

Are you thinking about a winter trip to Normandy but are concerned there might not be enough to do? While it’s true that the main tourist season is Easter to the October school holidays, Normandy doesn’t close down completely. This Top 10 list will show you there’s no shortage of activities even in the winter months.

Normandy history buffs

1. Visit Mont-Saint-Michel

The jewel in Normandy’s crown. A magnificent island commune topped with an abbey spread over three levels. It can get busy during the summer months so out of season is the perfect time to explore. Some restaurants, bars and shops may not be open all year round but you can check the list in this guide.  The abbey is closed on 25 December and 1 January during winter.

Mont-Saint-Michel ramparts

Mont Saint MichelA visit to Mont-Saint-Michel A visit to Mont-Saint-Michel

2. Take A Walk On the Beach

With an extensive coastline, there’s no shortage of beaches. Even in summer, they’re not crowded. Read more here.

Normandy beaches

3. Potter Around A Local Market

Most towns have a weekly market even during the winter months. Many sell fruit and vegetables alongside local food and drink produce. A great opportunity to shop like the locals.

4. Explore A Nearby Town

I live equidistant from the towns of Coutances, Granville and Villedieu-les-Poêles. They all have something different to offer.

Granville has a harbour and a bustling centre town centre. It contrasts with the peace and quiet of the high town with cobbled streets and fortified walls. The Christian Dior museum is located just outside the town.

Villedieu-les-Poêles is known as the copper town. It is home to 35 historic workshop courtyards where pan makers, lace makers and coppersmiths used to work. There’s also a bell foundry.

Villedieu-les-Poeles

Coutances has plenty of historic buildings – the cathedral, chapels, two churches, the town hall and the hospital quarter. Nearby are colourful beach huts, a ruined castle, a nature reserve, lighthouse and lime kilns.

5. Learn About D-Day

There are over 100 sites relating to D-Day including cemeteries, memorials, museums, beaches and batteries. Check this page to find out what’s open during the winter months.

6. Celebrate Being A Foodie

Normandy is bursting with delicious food and drink. Find out more about local specialities here and the top 10 Normandy foods.

Gavray boulangeries Granville

Gavray boulangerie

7. Visit A Chateau or Abbey

Here’s my top 10 list of chateau and abbeys. The features ones are all in La Manche region but there are others throughout Normandy. Information is here. Check the details for opening hours.

Chateau Gratot Abbey St Sauveur Le Vicomte

8. Discover Medieval Bayeux

There’s more to Bayeux than just the tapestry and you can easily spend a day here. If you are visiting in January the tapestry museum is closed and re-opens at the beginning of February. You can find out more about the key Bayeux sites here.

Bayeux Cathedral

9. Take a Day Trip

If you want to venture a little further afield, a trip to St Malo in Brittany might fit the bill. It’s around a 90 minute drive away. Read more about it here.  The seaside towns of Honfleur and Deauville are around 2 hours but well worth the drive.

Saint-Malo

10. Be A Photographer For the Day

Even in winter there are some great photos to be taken in Normandy. Whether it’s blue skies, amazing sunrises and sunsets or the winter luminosity, this time of year is a photographer’s dream. Less people around means you can take your time getting a great shot to remember Normandy’s beauty. Here’s a year of my photos in Normandy.

Saint sauveur le vicomte chateau Christian Dior Museum D-Day Winter in Normandy

There’s more inspiration for Normandy winter attractions in the video below. Alternatively, visit the Normandy website.

We spent 3 weeks creating the best online guide to Normandy on the web. It includes everything from a bucket list, must see attractions to the best places to eat and drink.

It covers Mont St Michel, Monet’s garden, the D Day beaches, wine tours and much more. .

It’s packed with our personal recommendations, maps and videos.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR THINGS TO DO IN NORMANDY GUIDE

A Delicious Lunch in Gavray

Chez Cedric in Gavray

For many people one of the highlights of a holiday is trying different food and drink. Whether that’s in a supermarket, at a local market or in a restaurant, it’s great fun. France is very passionate about food with local specialities being a particular favourite.

Restaurants usually offer à la carte but set menus are very popular. They’re called ‘formules’ and a lunchtime set menu is ‘une formule de midi’. They’re also generally very good value for money.

I tried out Chez Cedric in Gavray a little while ago and wasn’t disappointed. It’s on rue de la Poterie just off the main street. The new owners took over in January 2018 as previously it was a restaurant known as l’Épicerie. It’s open at lunchtimes from Monday to Saturday inclusive and is also open on a Friday evening.

Chez Cedric in Gavray

I visited on a Saturday lunchtime and opted for 3 courses for 12,50€. You can choose just a main course, starter/main or main/dessert. There’s a children’s menu and à la carte.

There were two or three choices for each course. My starter was a terrine – a coarse meat paté served with salad and a basket of bread. I selected the beef casserole for my main course. The meat was beautifully tender and was served in a rich sauce alongside chips and salad. For dessert I treated myself to a salted caramel cake with vanilla ice-cream.

For a good value lunch, this really was excellent. I’ll definitely go back.

Chez Cedric in Gavray

 

Historic Workshop Courtyards in Villedieu-les-Poêles

Villedieu-les-Poeles

This picturesque view is one of 35 historic workshop courtyards to be found in the Normandy town of Villedieu-les-Poêles. This particular courtyard is called the Cour du Foyer (or the Furnace Courtyard) and houses the pan maker’s museum and the lace-making house. It’s one of the prettiest courtyards and is situated at the top end of the town.

Villedieu-les-Poeles


workshop courtyard in Villedieu-les-Poeles

The entrance to the courtyard is just out of shot on the right of the photo above. However, you can see the archway into another courtyard a little further down the street. The archways leading to each courtyard originally had wooden doors that were closed at night. Each courtyard housed several families. The ground floor of each building was the workshop with the living quarters located on the first floor. The living quarters were accessed by the stone steps on the outside of each building.

This courtyard was were some of the many hammering shops were based and where artisans hammered out copper plates . In 1742 there were 139 hammering shops and you can learn more about them in the pan maker’s museum. Today, the town is known as the copper town and boasts a number of shops selling copper cookware and other copper items.

 

Visiting Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux cathedral

A visit to Bayeux Cathedral is an absolute must if you are visiting Normandy. The cathedral is just a few minutes walk from the tapestry and is very centrally located. You can see the spires and towers from a distance. In fact you can even spot it from the Bayeux Cemetery and Memorial on the outskirts of the town.

Bayeux CathedralBayeux Cathedral

The Tourist Office provides guided tours of the cathedral in both French and English. You can buy tickets at the Tourist Office and find more information here. If you prefer to do your own tour then entry to the cathedral is completely free. There are some explanation panels about the architectural detail dotted around the cathedral. Alternatively you can purchase a guide book in the Tourist Office. It is written by François Neveux with collaboration from Claire Ruelle. The price is 5,70€. It gives a very good history of the cathedral and guides you round the interior and exterior.

For more information about Bayeux, visit the Bayeux guide here.  Or you can watch the video below showing the exterior of the cathedral.

A New Exhibition Coming To The Christian Dior Museum

Christian Dior Museum
Christian Dior Museum

Today is the last day for visiting the Christian Dior Museum before it re-opens in April. The museum is housed in three floors of the famous couturier’s Normandy home in the seaside town of Granville. Although Dior was born here in 1905 his family moved to Paris several years later. However, the Granville house was retained and became their holiday home.

Two exhibitions are held each year in the museum with displays of clothes, shoes, jewellery and perfume from past and present Dior collections. In between the exhibitions, the museum closes to allow time for the current displays to be dismantled. For the benefit of visitors, the gardens remain open throughout the year. The rose garden is magnificent in June.

The villa is set on a cliff edge and can be reached by car with street parking nearby. Alternatively, you can climb the steps from the lower town near to the promenade and enjoy fabulous views of the high town as you reach the top.

The next exhibition will open on 27th April 2019 and will focus on Princess Grace of Monaco (the film star Grace Kelly). It will feature some of the Dior outfits worn by the princess.

Visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the museum. The video below (in French) shows the interior of the museum.

For more information, you can visit the Christian Dior museum website. You can find it here.