Normandy Advent Calendar, Day 24. This is my final calendar post sharing some of my favourite things about Normandy. Mont St Michel is my favourite place. I took this photo from Pointe du Grouin du Sud which gives fantastic views of the island. There was also a sunset just for good measure. I hope I’ve inspired you to visit Normandy to see what a beautiful part of France it is. I’m incredibly lucky to live there and have all of this on my doorstep.
Normandy Advent Calendar, Day 23. Today I'm sharing the château at Gratot with you which is a medieval ruined castle. Gratot is a small village to the north west of Coutances in Normandy. The castle dates from the 14th century and was added to until it was sold in the 18th century. It was neglected during the 19th century until finally it was abandoned in the early 20th century. A restoration and rebuilding project started in the 1960s/1970s with both the Fairy Tower and the Round Tower being rebuilt. The stone stairs, particularly in the Fairy tower, are very well worn and are a reminder of the history of the building.
Day 22 of my Normandy Advent Calendar in which I share some of my favourite things about Normandy. Bayeux is located in the Caldos region of Normandy. Here you'll find the Bayeux Cathedral which was originally home to the Bayeux tapestry. The tapestry is now located in a museum just a short walk away. It is technically an embroidery, rather than a tapestry, and tells the story of the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. You can see the tapestry but taking in the detail is not easy. The tapestry is replicated on display boards which are in a separate room and which you can then peruse at your leisure – the detail is fascinating. Also in Bayeux is the British War Cemetery and the Battle of D-Day Museum. A beautiful and stunning town to visit.
Day 21, Normandy Advent Calendar. Lucerne Abbey, near Granville in Normandy, is a Premonstratensian monastery founded in 1143.During the French Revolution it was reclaimed by the State with the buildings being used as a cotton mill and also as a source of stone. It is set in a valley with extensive grounds. Restoration started in 1959. The church, lavatories, gatehouse, dovecote, abbot's lodgings and much more are well worth a visit.
Day 20 of my Normandy Advent Calendar in which I share some of my favourite things about Normandy. The stained glass windows to be found in churches, abbeys and cathedrals in the region often tell a story. This window is in Coutances cathedral.
Day 19, Normandy Advent Calendar. The Jardin des Plantes in Coutances in one of Normandy's oldest gardens. It is terraced and designed in both French and English styles. Each year, a theme is chosen for the garden with innovative planting. This year the theme was the Tour de France with bicycles featuring heavily.
Normandy Advent Calendar, Day 18. The Haras National de St-Lô is one of two horse stud farms in Normandy. Originally house in an abbey in St Croix, it was established in 1806. In 1884 a new location was found just outside St-Lô with construction taking a couple of years. These rather elegant buildings were the result. Sadly, they were destroyed during World War 2 but were rebuilt in exactly the same style along with much of the town. Around 40 stallions produce some of the finest horses in France. the stud farm specialises in Norman Cob, Selle Francais and Percheron breeds. Visits can be arranged from April through to September and last around 90 minutes.
Day 17 of my Normandy Advent Calendar in which I share some of my favourite things about Normandy. Hambye abbey was founded in 1145 and was a Benedictine monastery. It prospered in the 13th century but gradually slowly slid into a decline. The last monks left the monastery several years before the start of the French revolution. The abbey was then put up for sale and the outlying buildings used for agricultural purposes. Sadly stone from the church was quarried from 1810 onwards and the majority of the cloister was dismantled. In the early 20th century it was listed as an ancient monument, bought privately and has been the subject of a huge restoration project. Although the church is partly ruined, the magnificent pillars remain and the architecture is still breathtaking. Many of the adjacent monastic buildings including the refectory, dormitory, kitchen and chapter house remain intact. Well worth a visit.
Day 16 of my Normandy Advent Calendar. Today I'm sharing the public garden in Coutances which is one of the oldest in Normandy. It is terraced and was designed with both French and English influences. It is very well maintained with plants regularly being replaced to ensure a riot of colour. There is a theme each year for the planting. This year the theme was the Tour de France with bicycles featuring predominantly.
Normandy Advent Calendar, Day 15. I'm sharing some of my favourite things about Normandy. Barfleur is one of five Normandy villages to be on the 'most beautiful villages in France' list. It is twinned with Lyme Regis in England.