Things To Do In Normandy

Introduction

Normandy’s close proximity to the UK makes it a popular destination for those wanting to travel via the ferry or Eurotunnel. It’s a favourite with young families who are often surprised at how quiet it can be, even in the summer season.

Beaches

You find beaches galore from the the Mont Saint Michel Bay all the way up the Cotentin peninsula. You could easily visit a different one every day. The beaches are a mix of sand and shingle. Some, such as Agon-Coutanville, Pirou and Julloville have a resort feel to them. Others such as Coudeville-sur-Mer, Saint-Martin-de-Bréhal and Gouville are quieter. The beaches at Bricqueville-sur-Mer and Annoville have a remote feel to them with limited facilities. The Normandy coastline sees tidal extremes so do check whether the tide is coming in or out when you pick a beach spot. At very low tide it can be a long way to the beach and has to be seen to be believed.

Outdoor Activities

The coast provides a whole range of nautical activities including swimming, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, sand-yachting. You can also visit the Chausey islands, Jersey or Guernsey by boat for a more relaxed day out. For visitors who enjoy walking, cycling or horse riding, there are maps you can download showing suitable routes to follow.

Thrills and Spills

Normandy is home to a number of water parks, theme parks and adventure parks if you’re feeling energetic. There are also mazes, zoos, playgrounds and crazy golf courses to enjoy.

Visit A Town Or Village

Whether you want to go out to eat, do some shopping, visit a market or visit one of the town’s attractions, there’s something for everyone in Normandy.

Nearby Towns

Gavray is a village nearest to the gite and useful for your everyday shopping needs. It’s equidistant between Coutances, Villedieu-les-Poêles and Granville. Coutances is home to a number of historic buildings including two churches, a cathedral, the town hall, the old hospital and various chapels. There’s also a very pretty public garden and heading west out of the town you’ll find a castle and also a large antiques shop.

Villedieu-let-Poêles is known as the copper town and has a number of copper workshops and also a bell foundry. Other artisans also worked in the town in their courtyard workshops that lead from the Main Street. Exploring the courtyards is an interesting way to discover what life in Villedieu was like in the 17th and 18th centuries. A large market takes place on a Tuesday morning.

Granville is a port with two very distinct parts of the town. The original fortified part of the town is known as the high town and is full of buildings dating from the 16th century onwards. The newer part of the town by the port is home to shops and restaurants with seafood being a speciality. Christian Dior’s childhood home is now located just outside the town and is now a museum.

Towns Further Afield

Avranches’ chateau and donjon date from 950. The town has one of the largest collections of medieval illuminated manuscripts in France as well as a botanical garden and a view of Mont St Michel. Bayeux is famous for its tapestry and there is also a cathedral and the Commonwealth War Cemetery. The medieval streets are full of historic buildings dotted along cobbled streets that are now home to shops and restaurants. The city of Caen is an hour away on the A84. You can walk in the footsteps of William the Conqueror by visiting his castle and the abbey he founded. A second abbey was founded by his wife and there’s also the  a museum commemorating the liberation of the city after 1944. Cherbourg has a large nautical museum which includes an exhibition about the Titanic. For younger visitors there’s also a planetarium outside the city. Saint-Lo was almost destroyed during the war and has only a few historic buildings. The largest national stud farm is based here and the Musée des Beaux Arts.

Museums

There is a whole range of D-Day museums to discover. You’ll also find museums about copper, the Bayeux tapestry, lace, cider, the Titanic, Christian Dior, fine and modern art and Monet.

Discover more recommendations in the Normandy Insider’s Guide.

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