Mont-Saint-Michel at high tide is an incredible sight. The island becomes cuts off from the mainland giving you plenty of time to explore while waiting for the tide to recede.
The video below was filmed from a drone and shows the island’s setting. It really does seem to rise majestically from the bay. It’s also very impressive when you catch your first glimpse of it in the distance. It can be seen from the D175/176 that runs from Avranches in Normandy to Dol-de-Bretagne in Brittany. There is also a good view from the Jardin des Plantes in Avranches, Pointe du Grouin du Sud (a viewing point around 5km across the bay) and from the German cemetery at Huisnes-sur-Mer.
For an in-depth look at Mont-Saint-Michel this guide has photos, videos, drone footage and information about the whole island.
Granville Tourist Office have just produced a number of guides about what to do in Granville.
I picked up four different publications yesterday from one of their offices.
They’ve produced a magazine, a brochure about forthcoming events, a guide to gourmet delights and a main guide. The information is in English and French.
The main guide runs to 198 pages and gives an overview of the area. There are a number of villages and coastal towns featured.
The high town in Granville also gets a mention. This is a wonderful place to explore the old buildings of the original town. It’s very quaint with cobbled streets and fantastic views up and down the coastline.
For a spot of culture, Granville is home to an art museum as well as the Christian Dior museum. The abbey at Lucerne is just a short drive away.
The coastal location means that trips to the islands of Chausey and the Channel Islands are popular with visitors. If you prefer to stay on dry land, then the beaches are family friendly while watching the water sports.
Inland you will find walks, cycle routes and horse-treking trails There really is something for everyone. You can download the brochures here.
My guests often ask for recommendations of where to eat in Gavray. Most restaurants are open for lunch (12 – 2pm) and then again in the evening from 7pm. You need to call during opening hours to book a table and the concept of online booking is still in its infancy here in Normandy. There are three restaurants in Gavray but they have different opening hours and are not open every day. It’s just part of the charm of life here in Normandy.
Carry out reading below for information about the restaurants shown on the map.
So, where you eat out in Gavray will depend on the day of the week you want. There are three restaurants in Gavray.
Chez Cedric. Open Monday to Saturday lunchtime. Also open Friday evening. Hotel de la Gare. Open Monday to Thursday lunchtime and evening. Also open Friday and Saturday lunchtime. Restaurant Délice. Open Wednesday to Saturday lunchtime and evening. Also open for Sunday lunch.
That means that none of the Gavray restaurants are open on a Sunday evening. However, there are other options a little further afield.
They all offer something different. Chez Cedric opened in 2018 and is very popular with lunchtime workers with excellent value-for-money set menus. Hotel de la Gare is similar in price and is popular with families. They have a children’s menu but plenty of options of good, honest food. Délice is slightly more expensive and can cater for vegetarians and vegans. One of their specialities is lamb shank.
Chez Cedric is at 18 rue de la Poterie. Read my review here.
Hotel de la Gare is at 23 Place de la Mairie. Read about my visit here
or check out their website here.
Restaurant Délice is at 9 Place du Dr Beck. Their website is here.
Nearby are alternative restaurants to consider.
Auberge du Mesnil Rogues, Route de l’Auberge, Mesnil Rogues. Their opening times depend on the season. They’re always closed on a Monday but are open on a Sunday for lunch and in the evening. Have a look at their website.
L’Auberge de l’Abbaye, 5 route de l’Abbaye, Hambye. In the summer they close on all day on a Monday but are open on the other days. Winter opening hours are different and you can have a peek at their website.
La Baratte, Le Bourg, Saint-Denis-le-Vêtu They’re closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings as well as all day on a Wednesday. Their website is here.
Le Krill, Le Bourg, La Baleine. Their opening times also depend on the season. In the summer they’re closed on a Sunday evening and all day on a Monday.
Coutances, Villedieu-les-Poêles and Granville also have a good selection of restaurants. However, the majority are closed on a Sunday evening.
I am happy to call in advance and book a table for guests.
The Pegasus bridge and Pegasus Memorial Museum are located in Bénouville and Ranville in the Calvados region of Normandy.
Just after midnight on 5th June 1944, 6 aircraft from the 6th British Airborne Division carried out their mission. Part of this mission was to capture the bridges across the River Orne and the Caen Canal. This meant that the seaborne troops arriving from Sword Beach could cross them and prevent the German forces using them.
The original bridge at Bénouville is now displayed in the nearby park of the museum. Visitors can see the Pegasus bridge, a Bailey Bridge and a full size replica of a wartime Horsa glider.
In less than ten minutes both bridges had been captured intact although there were fatalities. Many of those killed in action are buried at nearby Ranville cemetery.
The bridge was renamed Pegasus Bridge after the liberation. On June 26th 1944, the Caen Canal bridge was baptised Pegasus Bridge as a tribute to the British troops. Pegasus was the emblem worn on the sleeves of the men of the airborne division.
In 1961 the bridge featured in the D-Day film, produced by Darryl Zanuck, The Longest Day.
The bridge was replaced in 1994 by a new bridge. You can walk or drive across the bridge. There are currently roadworks being undertaken with one way traffic from Ranville to Bénouville. This is the current situation as of the end of February 2019.
As well as the bridge, there are memorials and sculptures on the Pegasus Trail where 3 of the Horsa aircraft landed. Have a look at the drone footage below of the bridge area.
Memorial Pegasus – Musée Memorial Pegasus
The museum is dedicated to the 6th British Airborne Division. Visitors will learn about the different missions undertaken including capturing Pegasus Bridge. Guided tours are available and start with a overview of the geography shown on a relief model of the area. Films, documentaries and artifacts give an in-depth insight into the mission.
The museum is on Avenue du Major Howard, 14860 Ranville. They can be contacted by phone on +33 (0)18.104.22.168.44 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening Times and Fees
The Memorial Pegasus is open everyday from 1st February to 15th December. A visit, with guide, lasts around an hour and a quarter.
1st February to 31st March from 10.00 to 17.00
1st April to 30th September from 9.30 to 18.30
1st October to 15th December from 10.00 to 17.00
La Manche is the most westerly of the five departments that make up Normandy. It’s named La Manche because it juts out into the English Channel (La Manche in French). So, what is there to do in La Manche?
Mont-Saint-Michel is at the top of most visitors’ to-do list. It’s located in the south of the region and is an island commune with a stunning abbey on the top.
The impressive island of Tatihou is in the north of the region. The coastline to the east of Cherbourg takes in Tatihou, Barfleur and Saint Vaast La Hougue.
Heading south down this coastline is Utah Beach – one of the D-Day landing beaches. You’ll also find Sainte-Mère-Église which is home to the Airborne Museum.
The towns and villages are full of history and heritage each with its own story to tell. Hambye has a fantastic abbey, Granville is the childhood home to Christian Dior, Villedieu-les-Poêles is an artisan town and Coutances boasts an impressive abbey.
Whether you enjoy water sports, beach activities, horse riding, cycling or walking, the region, with it’s mix of coast and countryside offers plenty of opportunities.
Take a peek at the video below for a glimpse of what to do. alternatively, you can visit the website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
This gourmet day out is a great way to explore the small town of Lonlay l’Abbaye in Normandy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
I love these beach huts at Gouville-sur-Mer nestled in the dunes. Their coloured roofs add a pop of colour to the landscape.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.