Avranches, from the top of a granite hill, towers over Mont Saint-Michel and its Bay.

 

The town, with its rich and turbulent past, benefits from an important civil heritage which includes a donjon, ramparts and a historical monument known as the “Grand Doyenné”.
Formerly a bishopric, it also boasts remarkable religious buildings.

 

The Saint Gervais Basilica

 

Built in the 17th Century, the basilica underwent renovation works in the 19th Century and has been the object of an important restoration campaign since 2010.
The building has been registered in the supplementary inventory of French historic monuments since 2006..

 
The Saint Gervais Basilica Avranches
 
 

The church of Notre-Dame-des-Champs

 

The neo-gothic church, built in the 19th Century and extended during the 20th Century, also saw the addition of two towers and the arrival of two great organs.

 

The Treasure House

 

A collection of religious artefacts is kept in a room of the church: the Treasure house of the Saint-Gervais basilica.

The French Revolution and later the separation of the Church and State in 1904, led to the confiscation and destruction of parishes’ wealth. In Avranches, the local clergy, under the direction of Farther Cornille, created a parish museum where many religious objects were gathered over the years. The centrepiece of the Treasure is the skull of Archbishop Aubert which bears the fingerprint of the archangel Saint Michel.

The shrine attracts many visitors each year.

 

The church of Saint-Saturnin

 

According to certain historians, this could be the oldest religious building in Avranches. Of modest dimensions, it benefited from extension works in the 19th Century because the Parish Council had claimed that “on market days, the church was crowded”.

 

Avranches has been, since the French Revolution, the depository of the manuscripts of the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. These are exhibited in the Scriptorial – the Museum for the Mont Saint-Michel Manuscripts.

 

Château d'Avranches - Fotolia

 

The botanical garden

 

Situated on a hill, the botanical garden offers spectacular views over the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Guy de Maupassant even drew his inspiration from this place for one of his short stories.  
Restored in 2006, after suffering serious damage during the storm of 1999, it offers today 12 theme gardens for the delight of visitors.

 

The botanical garden Avranches

 

The town of Avranches has a network of charming little streets and picturesque squares dotted with art and craft shops.