“Stations Vertes” in la Manche

Discover the eight labelled towns
Photo
Photo, © Un monde à vélo

“Station Verte” is a label created to promote territories that adopt an eco-responsible approach to tourism. In la Manche, eight towns have been awarded this distinction, showing their commitment to responsible, authentic tourism. All of these destinations are great places to live or holiday and are ideal if you want to go green! Grab your trainers, fishing rod or bike, we’re taking you to discover these rural gems.

The 9 communes "Station verte" 

 

1

Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte

a charming medieval town

This town is nestled in the Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin Regional Nature Park. It has the oldest castle still standing in la Manche. Discover the ruins of the old fortifications, watched over by a massive keep built by the King of England during the Hundred Years’ War. In this little haven of greenery on the Cotentin Peninsula, there are plenty of activities available: canoeing and kayaking, archery, climbing, hiking, mountain biking, a treetop adventure, fishing, a medieval fair, and much more.

Bonus: The Forest of Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte with its ancient trees, including beech, holly and Scots pine. It’s one of the only forests in la Manche that’s open to the public, and is well worth a visit!

Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte

Photo
Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud
2

Pontorson

gateway to Mont Saint-Michel

At the heart of the polders and marshes, Pontorson sits in a lovely natural setting, and offers lots of environmentally-friendly activities. Following the greenway path along the banks of the River Couesnon, Mont Saint-Michel is just 9 km away for cyclists, walkers, horse riders and kayakers. A bit further on, follow the hilltop road and look out for the old windmills, the best-known of which, the Moulin de Moidrey, is still in operation. The miller there produces flour using only wind power.

Bonus: Get there by train. Pontorson is the closest train station to Mont Saint-Michel. You can get there from Rennes or Paris. It’s the ideal base for exploring this emblematic site in the Manche without a car.

Pontorson

Photo
Photo, © Hello Travelers
3

Agon-Coutainville

a family-friendly seaside resort

This pretty seaside resort near Coutances sits between two tidal inlets, in Regnéville-sur-Mer and Blainville-sur-Mer. It has vast stretches of grassland and heathland where freshwater meets saltwater, providing some unique spots for a walk. There’s also golf, watersports, tennis, a racetrack, a riding centre, and sporting events, making Agon-Coutainville a perfect place for sport and nature lovers.

Bonus: If you want to go off the beaten track, head to the peaceful rural setting of Essay lake in Agon-Coutainville, where you’ll find pedalos, a playground, a picnic area and fishing: perfect for a day out.

Agon-Coutainville

Photo
Photo, © Captain Yvon
4

Ducey-les-Chéris

a floral town in the Sélune valley

Around 20 km from Mont Saint-Michel, the town of Ducey-les-Chéris is renowned for its flowers (awarded the “Ville Fleurie” three flower label) and its green spaces. A must-see in the town is the 17th century Château des Montgommery, a listed historical building. A bit further on, explore the Ardennes wood, through which the Sélune meanders. This river is one of the best in France for fishing Atlantic salmon.

Bonus: From Ducey-les-Chéris to Mont Saint-Michel by bike! The town is the start of the final stage of the Véloscénie, the fantastic cycle route from Paris to Mont Saint-Michel. Following the greenway for 25 km, this safe bike ride has some gorgeous views of Mont Saint-Michel.

Ducey-les-Chéris

Photo
Photo, © Aymeric Picot
5

Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët

an authentic town in the south of la Manche

Situated at the crossroads between Normandy, Brittany and the Pays de la Loire, Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët is a great place to reconnect with nature. You can go hiking along the greenway or fishing at Le Prieuré lake. History lovers can walk through the streets to see the houses that date back to the post-war reconstruction, and on Wednesdays, you can try some local specialities at one of the biggest markets in la Manche.

Bonus: Every year in November, the town hosts the centuries-old Saint-Martin fair. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, to meet producers and craftspeople from the area and to try some tasty treats made in la Manche.

Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët

Photo
Photo, © Aymeric Picot
6

Mortain-Bocage

a haven of greenery in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel

Mortain is famous for its waterfalls, which are a must-see during your visit to la Manche. Unique in Normandy, the Grande Cascade is an impressive 25 m high, while the Petite Cascade gushes in a shady green setting, the perfect place for a walk! The Mortain region is ideal for hiking, climbing, cycling and family leisure activities, and is also known for its legends and fairy tales!

Bonus: From the waterfalls you can head off on a family bike ride along the Véloscénie cycle route, either to Barenton (10 km) or to Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët (11 km). More seasoned cyclists can go all the way to Mont Saint-Michel (55 km) or follow the Vélomaritime cycle route to Vire (42 km). 

Mortain-Bocage

Photo
Photo, © David Daguier - CD50
7

Brécey

at the heart of the Sée valley

In the south of la Manche, Brécey welcomes you to a lovely setting in the heart of the Sée Valley. The surrounding hills form an ideal playground for mountain bikers: there are 16 trails with different levels of difficulty, where you can escape the bustle and test your limits. On Friday mornings, head to the weekly market to try the famous “galette saucisse”, an unmissable local speciality.

Bonus: Brécey lake is a gorgeous spot in a peaceful rural setting. Enjoy a nice walk there, far from the crowds. Get your picnic at the market and sit down to eat by the water’s edge!

Brécey

Photo
Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud
8

Saint-Jean-Le-Thomas

nature by the sea

This charming little seaside town sits in an unspoilt environment with a view of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Saint-Jean-le-Thomas is known as the “Little Nice” of la Manche because of its microclimate, in which Mediterranean plants grow. Enjoy a complete change of scenery and spend a day there, admiring the biggest tides in Europe, climbing to the top of the cliffs or cycling in the forest.

Bonus: The GR®223 coastal path goes through Saint-Jean-le-Thomas. It’s the ideal starting point for some lovely hikes. To the north, take the steep paths along the coast all the way to Granville. To the south, Mont Saint-Michel lies before you!

Saint-Jean-Le-Thomas

Photo
Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud
9

Barneville-Carteret

A seaside resort on the Cotentin Peninsula

On the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula, Barneville-Carteret is a family-friendly seaside resort with incredible landscapes. Long sandy beaches edged by dunes, hiking paths along the clifftops, lots of different watersports, and a lively programme of events: there’s no shortage of things to do!

Bonus: Carteret headland, classified as a “sensitive natural zone” in La Manche, is home to a nest of peregrine falcons, and has a great view of the dunes, where Kentish plovers nest.

Barneville-Carteret

Photo
Photo, © Best Jobers
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Photo, © Captain Yvon
Photo
Photo, © David Daguier - CD50
Photo
Photo, © Captain Yvon

A 195 km cycle route links all six Stations Vertes in the south of la Manche. Why not spend a week pedalling along the paths and discovering their hidden gems? A great idea for a family cycling holiday off the beaten track.

Cycle route

Station Verte:
a guarantee of quality for a stay in a rural setting

The Station Verte label concerns towns of fewer than 10 000 inhabitants. Created in 1964, it’s awarded to towns that:

  • commit to authentic tourism that respects the territory,
  • develop sustainable initiatives to protect nature,
  • propose a range of activities in connection with natural, cultural or historical heritage
  • have infrastructure that’s open all year round: shops, accommodation and restaurants
  • organise events and entertainment,
  • promote the natural assets of the territory.

Find out more about this label

 

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