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.
What’s on in Normandy this week? Although the season is changing there are still holiday makers ready to discover the area. The rain at the weekend gave way to some late afternoon sunshine on Sunday and the week looks set to be dry and warmer by the end of the week.
The Coutances tourist office website includes a searchable database of forthcoming events. This week there are exhibitions and walks taking place. It’s also the last week for the dahlia exhibition as it finishes on Sunday.
There are plenty of things to do that aren’t limited to a certain period or date. The cathedral in Coutances and the chateau at Gratot are open for visits, for example.
In nearby Granville the tourist office schedule of events includes a biscuit making workshop for children (in French), a perfume making course at the Christian Dior museum, a guided tour of a local cider farm and various walks and exhibitions. Thousand of visitors will be enjoying the annual seafood event (Toute la Mer sur un Plateau) in Granville this coming weekend (29 – 30 September).
If you love seafood, then Normandy should definitely be on your bucket list. There are a good number of restaurants, shops selling fish and seafood and producers to visit. I can highly recommend Le Restaurant du Port in Granville although I’d recommend booking. Last night it was full by 8pm and would-be diners arriving in the hope of getting a table were disappointed.
The speciality is seafood and the restaurant resembles the inside of a ship. There are three dining areas – a covered outside veranda which leads to the main restaurant and then an upstairs ‘deck’. It’s located on rue du Port and overlooks the harbour. During July and August it’s open for lunch and dinner every day. Otherwise it’s closed all day on Mondays as well as Thursday and Sunday evenings.
The menu is extensive and offers various set menus (formules). The lunchtime formule is 14,50€ which is dish of the day and either a dessert or a coffee. There are other options such as duck and steak but endless seafood opportunities. I saw an amazing seafood platter being taken out to one of the outside tables – it was a work of art!
The service is efficient, prompt yet friendly. The quality of the food was excellent. It’s more of a special occasion dining experience but well worth it. For more information and to browse through the menu visit the website.
The weather has been sunshine and showers so far for Easter in Normandy. However, people have still been getting out and about enjoying the events taking place over the weekend.
Easter church services have been taking place since Thursday and the Gavray service was on Friday evening. During the Easter period the church bells don’t ring until Sunday morning. The Easter bells (les cloches de Pâques) are said to go Rome and return on the Sunday bringing Easter gifts. On Sunday morning nearby services will be held at 9.30am in Cérences, 10.30am in Hambye, 11am in Bréhal, Coutances Cathedral and Coutances St Nicolas.
Chocolate shops and patîsseries will have special window displays for Easter. As well as bells , you can also find chocolates bunnies, eggs and chicks. Oh, and fish! This is because April Fool’s day is known as poisson d’avril and to play a joke on someone you attached a paper fish to their back. Easter is often around the same time as April Fool’s Day so France has chocolate fish. A wonderful chocolate shop is Yver Chocolatier in Granville. Check out their amazing products at www.yver.chocolatier.fr and pictures of their Easter range at https://www.facebook.com/maisonyverchocolatier/
Granville hosts Western France’s biggest carnival every year attracting around 150,000 visitors. Today is the last day of the 144th carnival the town has hosted and will culminate with a confetti fight during the final parade. Big bags of confetti have been on sale for weeks as people prepare for ‘la bataille’. It’s a fun event and children in the area get a couple of extra days off school as Granville grinds to a halt.
For a flavour of this year’s event see the video of this year’s event
🎼Tea for two and two for tea🎶 Picorette is a delightful tea salon nestled in a quiet pedestrian street in Granville, Normandy. This is not a place to grab a quick cuppa in between shopping; instead you deliberate, savour and relax. The choice of teas is extensive – 146 of them to be precise – including herbal, fruit, green, Earl Grey, Rooibos as well as traditional black tea. Next, is the decision of what to eat. I finally decided on a warm chocolate sponge with a soft fondant centre, topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate curls. The perfect accompaniment to the organic red Earl Grey I opted for. As well as tea and cakes served in the morning or the afternoon, they also serve lunch with food freshly prepared on the premises. Before you leave, browse in the boutique where you can buy jams, soap, candles, pottery and tea accessories. If you were deliberating about your choice of tea you can buy tea to take away and try at home. Or, for that really special present, their famous advent calendar is currently on sale. A lovely place to enjoy afternoon tea, Normandy style.
Day 14 of my Normandy Advent Calendar in which I share some of my favourite things about Normandy. Granville is a coastal town with a busy harbour, shops, restaurants and bars in the lower part of town. The older part of the town is perched high on a rocky promontory. Here you'll find the lighthouse, church, several museums and an arty feel as you stroll along the quaint streets.
Day 12 of my Normandy Advent Calendar in which I share some of my favourite things about Normandy. The Normandy coast is rich in seafood and features heavily on menus in the region. 1 in 4 oysters eaten in France comes from Normandy as the tidal conditions are ideal for their production. My favourite dish is moules à la crème which is mussels in a white wine and cream sauce. There are plenty of seafood restaurants in Granville around the harbour where you can choose from a wide variety of seafood dishes. Delicious!
The Christian Dior museum is my choice for day 10 of my Normandy Advent Calendar. It's the former childhood home of the great couturier and is set in delightful gardens in Granville, Normandy. The Dior family relocated to Paris but kept Villa Les Rhumbs for family holidays. Each year, the museum showcases two collections that bring together the fashions and accessories that carry the Dior name. Although there's nothing to indicate that the villa was ever a home, it's fun to explore the villa with its sweeping staircase leading to the first and second floors where more Dior treasures await. A must-see if you're in Normandy.
This stunning villa in Granville, Normandy was Christian Dior's childhood home. It was built at the end of the 19th century and bought by Dior's parent in 1906 a year after he was born. the family lived there until 1911 until they moved to Paris but retained it as a holiday home. It now houses the Christian Dior Museum.