It was in the Coutances area that the sons of Tancrede of Hauteville were born: they were the knights who founded the kingdom of Sicily in the 11th Century. This page of history is one of many written in the Coutances area.

Weekend Normandy


The region has a rich past, mirrored in its architectural heritage:  the Gothic cathedral of Coutances (one of the finest examples in France), the lime kilns of Regnéville-sur-Mer, manor-farms, the chateaux of Gratot and Pirou, the abbeys of Blanchelande, Hambye and Lessay, and many churches, chapels, gardens and parks… The Coutances area combines bocage and coastal landscapes, and is a very popular holiday destination due to its long sandy beaches and seaside resorts: Agon-Coutainville and Hauteville- sur-mer, have  both been given the “Famille Plus” award.

 

 

The Coutances area hosts many cultural events and festivals. Pop music, jazz, blues... every type of music has its festival here: “Jazz sous les pommiers”, in Coutances, “Quai des Blues” in Regnéville-sur-Mer, “Chauffer dans la Noirceur” in Montmartin ! Another key event in the area is the millennial fair in Lessay.
 

Holiday Normandie

Ideas of visits, local curiosities

The fishery “La Maillard"

There are only two examples of this type of fishery in Europe, both located in la Manche: "La Petite" at Agon and "La Maillard" at Hauteville-sur-Mer. The latter wooden fishery, placed at about one kilometre off the coast can be seen at low tide only. The fishery stands on the sand; wooden posts are planted in the sand at 60cm intervals. Measuring between 50cm and 1.5 meters in height, the wooden posts have branches woven around them; they form a V shaped “hedge”, with the point facing the sea. When the tide goes out, the fish is trapped between the “hedges”.


 


Holiday Normandy

The port of Regnéville-sur-mer

This peaceful natural harbour, close to the vestiges of a 12th Century castle, was in the past a key location for fishing and for commerce. Its history is told in the maritime museum, situated close to the lime kilns of Rey. They are also a testimony to prosperous times – albeit short – in Regnéville: thirty years during which limestone was calcined to produce quicklime, used in construction and to enrich agricultural land.


“La côte des havres”

Weekend Normandy

A horse-drawn carriage on the beach

In Gouville-sur-Mer, take a ride on the beach at low tide in a carriage drawn by Norman cobs and Percherons: You will get up close to oyster beds and mussel posts, and make a halt to sample oysters and a glass of white wine!
 

The chateau of Pirou and the legend of the geese

Built during the 12th Century, the fortified castle of Pirou houses a bakery, a press-house, a chapel ... but also a justice room and living quarters (vieux logis). From the sentry path (chemin de ronde), the magnificent schist roof can be seen. Behind its moats, high walls and fortified gates, this intimidating place is also the scene of a strange story, the legend of the geese of Pirou: Besieged by the Normans, the lord of Pirou and his family transformed themselves into geese to flee from their attacker. Normandy and particularly la Manche have inspired many legends!


The abbey of Lessay

Trinity Abbey was founded during the 11th Century, on marshy land, on the south bank of river Ay, at the end of the harbour. Barbey d'Aurevilly visited the church in 1864, after his novel "L'Ensorcelée" (1852) was published. In his book, he mentions the vast and wild heatherland which surrounded the abbey. Entirely destroyed in 1944, the abbey was rebuilt exactly as before, thanks to archives kept in Paris.