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Sightseeing

Normandy is a beautiful and fascinating area to visit. The sights include the wondrous Mont St Michel, the famous tapestry at Bayeux and the numerous locations linked with the World War II D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy.

We have listed below just a few of the places you may like to visit whilst in Normandy.

Mont St Michel - "Marvel of the Western World"

Both the Mont Saint Michel Bay and the Mont itself feature on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites as national and cultural treasures. The huge bay occupies an area of some 500 sq kms from Cancale to Granville. It is also the scene of the most spectacular tidal activity with a range of almost 15 metres between low and high tides.

The highpoint of medieval architecture from the Middle Ages and constructed on a rock pinnacle, the Abbey is the most commanding view point from which to see the bay. The abbey's audacious and innovative rooms are evocative of one of Christianity's most important pilgrimage locations.

As one of the most visited attractions in France, Mont St Michel can become very busy. Avoid the obvious busy periods if possible. An evening visit is worthwhile, especially on a very dark night when the floodlit Mont appears from a distance to float above the sea.

On the road just south of Mont St Michel at Beauvoir is the Reptile House which is a very popular attraction. You can see crocodiles, lizards, snakes and tortoises all in a lovely setting.

Mont St Michel is about 54 kms from Granville.

Granville - "Monaco of the North"

The local town of Granville, often called the "Monaco of the North" is well worth a visit. The busy port is the starting point for ferries to Chausey and Jersey and from the port you can walk to the lighthouse at Pointe du Roc which marks the northern limit of Mont St Michel Bay. The walk offers fine views out to sea and along the coast. Pointe du Roc is also home to the Maritime Museum, the Aquarium and Butterfly and Insect Garden.

On the northern edge of Granville, near the main beach, is the former home of Christian Dior. The gardens are open to the public and the house has now become a museum to the famous couturier.

The D-Day landings and The Battle of Normandy

June 1944 saw one of the most daring manoeuvres of the Second World War. The allies attempted a large scale invasion, code named Operation Overlord, into northern France. The allies avoided the most obvious route to the Calais area and instead came ashore in the Bay of the Seine. A longer more difficult crossing but one that meant they avoided the more heavily fortified coastline and in turn gained a degree of surprise.

There are many sites around Normandy linked with the landings and the following Battle of Normandy. The beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword are all between Caen and Ste Mere Eglise. The Pegasus Bridge near Caen, St Mere Eglise and the Arromanches Museum and Cinema just north of Bayeux are just a few places not to miss.

The Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux is a beautiful city but most people visit to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry. Housed in the Centre Guillaume le Conquerant in an impressive 18th century building the tapestry presents its unique record of the events of 1066. The embroidery is in coloured wool on a piece of linen, 50cm (19 inches) high by 70m (203 feet) long.

Bayeux is about 110 kms from Granville and you should allow about 1.5 hours for the visit.

Other Options

Champrepus Zoological Park - 20kms from Granville on the road to Villedieu. http://www.zoo-champrepus.com

Avranches - The Mont St Michel manuscripts are some of the finest in Europe and are on display in the town hall at Avranches.

Villedieu-Les-Poeles Bell Foundry - One of the few bell foundries still in existence where you can see the bell casters making their moulds from clay, horse manure and goat hair! http://www.cornille-havard.com

Also see our things to do page for more active ideas.