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Out & About

The coast at Barneville-Carteret, on the west side of the Cotentin peninsula of Normandy, is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has therefore been favoured as a holiday area for around 200 years with a wealth of attractions. Good restaurants (especially for fish and shellfish lovers with oysters, mussels, shrimps, prawns, scallops and lobster), glorious sandy beaches (at Barnville and Carteret, Port-bail and Sciotot near Les Pieux to name but four), peaceful lanes, pretty market towns and fascinating chateaux and churches are to found in abundance. Excellent sporting facilities include swimming, horse riding, dinghy sailing, canoeing, mountain bike riding and golf.

There are colourful open-air street markets in Barneville on Saturday mornings, in Bricquebec on Monday mornings, in Valognes on Friday and in Les Pieux on Friday mornings (at all of which there are a wide range of cheeses, fresh vegetables etc).

The Cotentin peninsula and the neighbouring Calvados area provide plenty of major attractions. France produces some four hundred cheeses and farm tours are available where Camembert, Livarot and Pont l'Eveque are made by traditional methods in the Normandy area. The region's apple orchards provide the local drinks of cider and Calvados (the fiery apple brandy of Normandy).

For children there are two zoos within reach (one is towards St Vaast on the east coast of the peninisular and the second is near Bayeau). At Caen there is a childrens theme park called Festyland.

Nearby towns include:-

Bricquebec - said to boast the largest square in Normandy overlooked by the impressive 14th Century castle Du Donjon and nearby Trappist monastery.

St Sauveur-le-Vicomte - a most attractive town with a castle and Benedictine abbey. For the more energetic there is white canoeing on the River Douve. On the outskirts there is a forest, ideal for walks and picnics.

Valognes - the former aristocratic capital of the Cotentin. The town is known as "petite Versailles" because of its beautiful 18th century buildings. Here there is a museum dedicated to cider and Calvados.

At St Vaast-la-Hougue stand on the peaceful beach, look out to sea and try to imagine the scale of human loss of the first American landing point on June 6th 1944. Now a popular destination for sailing enthusiasts as well as home to a moule fleet it is also a renowned centre for oyster farming. Just offshore you will see the Ile de Tatihou, once a leper colony and now a nature reserve.

The ancient - but still working - fishing port of Barfleur from where much of William the Conqueror's fleet set sail for England in 1066. Richard the Lionheart and his Crusaders also set sail from Barfleur on their way to the Holy Land.

Cherbourg is well worth a visit. See the old centre of the town with its magnificent buildings and winding 'secret' passageways evoking the past together with the modern shopping centre and miles of lanes filled with bars, restaurants and shops. Call in to the Tourist Office on the town quayside opposite the swing bridge (Pont Tournant) to find full details of the many museums (Fine Art, Maritime, War & Liberation and Natural History) and tourist attractions. The famous La Cité de La Mer houses the first French nuclear submarine "La Redoubtable" and is open to visitors - over 10 years old.

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Photo's © D.Smith

Beach, north of Cap De Cateret
Cap De Carteret
Towards Barnville from Cateret
Barneville
Port-Bail
Port-bail
La Bocage - A patchwork of small fields bordered by trees & hedges
Scenery near
La Grange
Norman Architecture at Le Veldecie
Le Veldecie
Towards 14th century castle - Bricquebec
Bricquebec
D-Day Museum at Utah Beach
Museum at
Utah Beach

For those interested in the D-Day Landings in June 1944, all of the places around which the conflict centred - St Mere Eglise, Utah Beach, the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, remains of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches and the Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches at which so many British and Commonwealth soldiers lost their lives - are within easy reach.

Further a field (but still only a day trip) are :-

The historic medieval city of Bayeux with buildings dating from the 15th century, Musée Mémorial 1944 depicting the Battle of Normandy, the Musée Mémorial du Général de Gaulle, the British War Cemetery, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and, of course, the world-famous tapestry at the Centre Guillaume le Conquérant (William the Conqueror Centre).

Villedieu-les-Poeles - the copper capital of France.

Caen - famous for the Ducal Castle, home of William, before he drove Harold out of England by his victory at Hastings in 1066 (which made him the Conqueror), the Abbaye aux Hommes monastery built by William the Conqueror and the Abbaye aux Dames founded by his mistress Matilda. Also good shops are to be found!

The charming fishing port of Honfleur with the 17th century salt warehouses (which supplied the cod fishing industry) now used to display modern day art exhibitions. Impressionist artists including Picasso, Monet, Renoir and Cézanne painted many scenes within the harbour and surrounding streets.

A visit to the magical Mont St Michel (is it a fortress or a monastery!) with the Abbey at the very top founded by Richard I during the early 10th century can be concluded well after midnight during the summer months by enjoying the Son et lumières having climbed the steps to the highest point on the rock.

The walled maritime town of St Malo and the nearby seaside resort of Dinard are within easy reach by car as is sunny Jersey - only fifteen minutes away by regular passenger ferry service, leaving the quay at Carteret.

Useful websites include:-

manchetourisme
normandy-tourism
westernfrancetouristboard

General Location - Cotentin Peninsula, La Manche, Normandy, France
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