La Manche in autumn

Our suggestions for activities and outings this autumn in La Manche
Photo, © Withaxie

Autumn has arrived in La Manche with its crisp air, but that’s no reason to wish it was still summer! The late season is the opportunity for you to discover the area differently and to admire its vibrant scenery. It’s a great time to enjoy seasonal nature outings and to rediscover the coast. Take your pick from observing the spring tides, trying watersports or hiking on the GR®223 trail. For foodies, there are lots of visits and tasting sessions on offer, where you can sample all the delicious seasonal products of La Manche. As for culture, autumn is a busy time, with fairs, concerts and festivals. We’ve rounded up the best activities and outings in La Manche in autumn.


Hike on the GR®223 trail

Autumn is the ideal season for walks along the GR®223 in La Manche, the famous “Sentier des Douaniers” (Customs officers’ path). This hiking trail stretches for 446 km, with lots of beautiful coastal views for you to enjoy as you go. In autumn, the GR®223 is more peaceful than in the summer, enabling you to recharge your batteries as you walk along, at the edge of the world!

The temperatures are still mild at this time of year, which is great for hiking. The effort will keep you warm and you’ll enjoy the invigorating sea air all the more. For adventurous visitors, why not try the Tour of La Manche in autumn, like the bloggers at Hello La Roux? Follow in their footsteps and test the GR®223 in 14 days!

The GR®223

Photo, © Hello la Roux

Admire the spring tides in autumn

The spring tides return in autumn, making it the perfect time to enjoy the coast of La Manche. With the seasonal high coefficients, the tides shape the landscape and the territory takes on a different aspect. There are lots of activities for you to try in this season, including shellfish gathering on the beach when the tide is right out, or original walks.

At Mont Saint-Michel, enjoy the show during the highest tides in Europe: watch as the sea gradually covers the vast bay and even makes Mont Saint-Michel an island again.

The spring tides

Photo, © Best Jobers
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    Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

    The spring tides in the inlet

    La côte des havres

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    Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud
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    Photo, © Cécile Ballon

Watch the herons in the marshes

Head off on a guided nature walk in the Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin to observe the herons and egrets that come to winter in these protected areas. Grab your binoculars and enjoy a magical moment at sunset. The Maison du Parc Naturel Régional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin also offers other activities if you fancy exploring nature in autumn.

Programme at the Maison du Parc

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Try watersports

and brave the elements

In autumn, the changeable weather is perfect for trying out different watersports. The strong winds and still mild temperatures are the opportunity to test these exciting activities. The winter season is calmer in the watersports centres and colder, making autumn the right time to take the plunge!

At low tide, head to the vast beaches of La Manche to try sand yachting if you fancy an exciting experience and a dose of fresh sea air. Several watersports centres in La Manche offer sessions and courses during the October holidays. If you’re not afraid of getting wet, give windsurfing a go and brave the elements on your board!

Test our suggestions for watersports

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud
Photo, © Jérome Houyvet

Visit the autumn fairs

centuries-old heritage in La Manche

After the famous fair in Lessay in September, discover the unmissable autumn fairs! The centuries-old Saint-Luc fair in Gavray and Saint-Martin fair in Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët are held every year for three days.

In October, the Saint-Luc fair is the opportunity to discover the agricultural heritage of La Manche. Don’t miss the famous horse fair and its surprising pumpkin fair. As for the Saint-Martin fair, it takes place every year on the first weekend in November, with a programme of traditional shows, local breeds and regional produce.

The centuries-old fairs of La Manche

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Autumn weather:
strong winds and golden sunshine

In autumn, the weather in La Manche is changeable, which is part of the appeal! Between two downpours, a rainbow will light up the sky and plunge down to the misty seasonal landscapes.

Although the days are shorter in autumn and the sun can be reluctant to show itself, when it does appear, it can be dazzling! In this season, you’ll have plenty of superb sunrises and sunsets in La Manche.

The first autumnal low pressure systems can also bring some surprisingly windy weather with them. Wrap up warm and enjoy the special seaside atmosphere, with the crashing waves and powerful tides providing a unique backdrop.


Fill up on culture

with the music and film festivals in autumn

Every year in autumn, the Rendez-Vous Soniques festival is held in Saint-Lô. This unmissable musical event brings the crowds in for nearly a week of concerts, including big name acts and local artists.

If you prefer classical music, the Via Aeterna festival is a must in autumn! More than 30 concerts are held over 10 days in unique heritage sites around the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel.

Are you more of a movie buff? Then Les Égaluantes film festival is the place to be in Carentan-les-Marais in November. This event showcases La Manche as a filmmaking region, with several new documentaries, films and series for you to discover this autumn.

The unmissable festivals

Photo, © David Daguier - CD50

autumn is apple season!

In the orchards in autumn, the local producers are hard at work harvesting the apples used to produce local beverages, cider, Calvados and Pommeau, and lots of cider producers open up their orchards to the public.

Autumn is the ideal time to visit the cider farms in La Manche and to learn more about this local speciality and the age-old know-how involved in its production.

Find out more about cider products

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Eat your fill at Toute la Mer sur un Plateau

the autumn seafood festival

To celebrate the launch of the scallop fishing season, head to Granville to try some delicious local seafood. The “Toute la Mer sur un Plateau” festival is held every year in autumn, with a delicious programme of events, including opportunities to meet chefs and producers, seafood tasting and different activities.

“Toute la Mer sur un Plateau” festival

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Explore the forests

It’s impossible to get tired of this classic autumn activity! The forests of La Manche are extra special at this time of year, with leaves crunching underfoot as you walk and a magical golden light at the end of the day.

Put your boots on and head out to explore the forests of La Manche! Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte forest and Lessay heath are great places for guided walks in autumn. The Centre Permanent d’Initiatives pour l’Environnement du Cotentin (CPIE) organises seasonal walks and trails there.

activities organised by the CPIE

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

The forests and woods of La Manche

  • Cerisy forest, some of which is in La Manche
  • Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte forest
  • Lessay heath
  • Ardennes wood in Ducey
  • Mingrey wood near Saint-Lô

Go foraging for mushrooms

Grab your basket and head off to hunt for these delicious autumn treats accompanied by a guide. You’ll find out all about the different species and learn to recognise edible mushrooms.

The Association Mycologique du Cotentin offers different outings, where you’ll be to able forage for mushrooms and learn more about them. In autumn, the Association will take you to hunt for mushrooms in a variety of different landscapes, including woods, fields and forests, as well as in the marshes and dunes of La Manche.

 Our selection of nature outings

Photo, © Association mycologique du Cotentin

Indulge in some “me time” in La Manche

Autumn is also a good time to recharge your batteries after a busy summer. Why not just take the time to cosy up with some of the great products on offer in La Manche? Light a candle, get comfy and enjoy the simple pleasures: read a book, prepare your next adventures, and try some delicious local treats.