Normandy has just about everything for holiday makers to France – picturesque villages, gorgeous sandy beaches, historic towns, exquisite countryside and the most delicious gastronomy. Wherever you go on holiday in Normandy, you’ll find some fabulous day trip destinations not far away including the world famous Mont-St-Michel. Here are four more of our favourites in and around the department of Manche.
Bayeux is home to the renowned Bayeux Tapestry – a true wonder of the world, a 1000-year-old tapestry depicting the Norman Conquest of England. Nothing prepares you for the reality, seeing it is an incredible experience. The Medieval town of Bayeux has a historic and famous Cathedral, it too dates back to the time of William the Conqueror. It has a beautiful interior and is well worth a visit.
The town is pretty with cobbled streets and a lovely Saturday morning market. During June, Bayeux hosts a medieval Fete where the sound of ancient music fills the air, costumed participants roam the streets and there’s a party atmosphere for the whole weekend.
Stay at: Le Moulin de Parfouru, two lovely gites which sleep 6 and 4, in a tranquil hamlet. At just 20 minutes from Bayeux and 30 minutes from the beaches, it makes for a terrific stay. Close to horse riding, fishing and stunning countryside
Saint-Lô has an abundance of restaurants, shops and leisure facilities. Horse lovers can visit one of the 23 national studs which specialises in breeds such as Norman cobs, trotters and French saddled horses. The 8 stables surrounding the main court yard, house over 100 stallions of 7 different breeds: thoroughbreds, Anglo-Arabs, Percherons, New Forest and Connemara ponies. It also holds vibrant weekly markets in various parts of the town (Monday to Saturday – see tourist office website for details: www.ot-saintloagglo.com).
Stay at: L’Etang Cottage in Cerisy la Foret, Manche, just a 15 minute drive from St Lo. Sleeping 6, this lovely character cottage is in gorgeous tranquil surroundings on the edge of the village but just 5 minutes’ walk from the town centre. It’s just 20km from the coast and historic D-Day landing beaches.
Dramatic and stunning views across the Bay of Mont-St-Michel, an ancient walled high town, pretty boutiques, creperies and galleries make for a great day out in Granville. Not to be missed is the Christian Dior Museum which is housed in a pink villa where the famous designer lived as a child. A market is held on Wednesday and Saturday when the usually quite sleepy town becomes busy. There are dozens of great restaurants and bistros in the town but for authenticity, L’Echauguette (22-24 rue Saint-Jean) creperie is authentic and friendly and if you’re a fan of fish, you’ll love the house speciality of crepes with scallops.
Stay at: Gite de Charme, Auberge holiday rental in Cavigny, Manche. This stunning gite sleeps 5 in an 18th century “Longhouse” on the edge of the Parc des Marais close to St Lo. Once a cider farm the gite has been beautifully renovated. B&B rooms are also available. For those who really want to relax evening meals are available on request at an irresistible price and there’s a gorgeous garden. Close to Ste Mere Eglise, the D-Day beaches Bayeux and Granville and perfect for a truly relaxing Normandy break.
The hill top town has winding streets, picturesque squares and oodles of Norman charm and makes for a great day trip. Among its jewels are the 17th Century Basilica Saint Gervais and the Museum of Manuscripts where manuscripts created in the middle ages by Monks at Mont St Michel are stored. There’s a pretty garden and the views over the Bay of Mont-st-Michel are superb. Take a break at Chez Francois (2 rue Jeremie) for a friendly and homely meal. There’s nothing fancy about this restaurant but you’re sure to make friends as the tables are long enough to sit everyone together. There’s an open wood fire for cooking on in the restaurant and the dishes are delicious and authentic.