Coutances Cathedral was consecrated in 1056 at a ceremony attended by William Duke of Normandy (William the conqueror). The building was commissioned by Bishop Geoffroy de Montbray and was built in the Norman style. The bishop accompanied William to England in 1066 and returned with gifts for the cathedral. In 1247 the present cathedral was completed in a gothic style and built over the top of the previous cathedral. Behind many of the walls and towers are the remains of the Norman cathedral which you can see on a guided tour of its upper parts. The picture shows the stained glass windows which you walk past and then higher up the lantern tower which is also accessible on the tour. Paid tours have to be booked in advance and it’s an activity I would highly recommend. the cathedral is open every day and entry is free.
The bell foundry at Villedieu-les-Poêles was opened in 1865 and is still in production today. The eight bells in the photo were made for the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and were put on public display before being installed in 2013. You can visit the workshop in Villedieu for a guided tour in either French, English or German.
The last 2 weeks in October are an opportunity to visit the botanical gardens, the garden centre and what remains of the dahlia show. The fair is held at the agricultural college where students learn their various trades. Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day, although some sections of the garden were beginning to see the effects of autumn arriving. The dahlias were still stunning – there are hundreds of varieties to admire – and I spent a happy couple of hours wandering around.
Although the October holidays are almost over, it's the ideal time to explore Normandy. Everywhere will be quieter, even Mont St Michel, which can be busy during the summer holidays. It's Normandy's most popular visitor attraction and well worth a visit.
The Haras National de Saint-Lô in Normandy is a horse stud farm set just outside the centre of the town. Built in 1806, the magnificent stables have a very distinctive and rather elegant exterior. The majority of the stables were destroyed during the bombings which St Lô endured during the second world war. Around 95% of the town was also destroyed. The stables were rebuilt in the original style and now breed three types of horses. Information about the opening times and guided tours are available at www.polhippiquestlo.fr
There's still time to visit the abbey before it closes at the beginning of November for the winter period. Built in the 12th century, it has undergone an extensive restoration programme. There are several buildings to explore on the site including the charming gatehouse seen from the abbey grounds.
If you're visiting Normandy on holiday, check out some of the activities you and your family can enjoy. From mini farms, adventure parks and aquariums, discover how to spend your time here. http://bit.ly/1LDKnXD
A family friendly activity in Cérences, in Normandy. Thrills and spills as you negotiate the high rise walks 30 metres above ground or try out one of the zipwires. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
The Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral in Coutances was built in the 13th century. The lantern tower shown in the picture below is designed to provide an intense source of light in the centre of the cathedral. The circle at the centre is meant to represent Heaven, while the earth is the square, and the octagon represents the Resurrection. It is free to visit the cathedral.
This is how victor Hugo described Jumièges Abbey, a benedictine monastery in Normandy, situated between Rouen and Le Havre. Founded in 654 by Saint Philibert, it was destroyed in 841 by the Vikings and again during the Hundred Years War. Although it prospered, the French Revolution, saw its decline and parts of the buildings were demolished with the stone being used elsewhere. Today, the impressive ruins of the church, with its tall twin towers, parts of the cloisters, and the library remain. The contents of the library were removed to Rouen when the abbey was dissolved. A 500 year old yew tree in the middle of the former cloister still stands.