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Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

Richmond, Virginia
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Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

Bonjour a tous,

After many posts in various TA forums, we are deciding to visit the Cotentin Peninsula after a week in England (Lake District). We'll most likely fly from Manchester to CDG and rent a car.

I was thinking of a couple ideas for a base: Barfleur, Barneville-Carteret, Cap La Hague area.

We want to be in or near a village or town where we can walk to a tabac and boulangerie in the morning. Hotel or self-catering is fine. Maybe hotel is preferred for more interaction with other people.

Walks from the town or village along the GR 223 are our plan, with side trips to D-Day beaches one day and St-Malo or maybe Mont-St-Michel another day. But general itinerary is relaxation and walking and enjoying local cuisine.

Oh, also one day the ferry to Channel Islands.

If anybody can help me narrow down our focus on a base village or town, I can start looking for accomodations. Barfleur looks beautiful and kind of reminds me of Camaret-sur-Mer in Brittany, where we loved the town and area. But the northern and western coasts of the peninsula look inviting too.

Merci d'avance pour votre conseille,

Eric Zwicky

Richmond, Virginia

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England
England
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Lake District
Lake District
Cumbria, UK
Manchester
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Greater Manchester, UK
Barfleur
Barfleur
Manche, France
Barneville-Carteret
Barneville-Carteret
Manche, France
The Hague
The Hague
South Holland Province, The Netherlands
Saint-Malo
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16 replies to this topic
Akron, Ohio
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1. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

Places mentioned do deserve your attention. You are dealing with optimal size and population as well as access by public transportation - not found everywhere. I might suggest Lessay, St. Vaast-la-Hoague or Valognes. Lessay might be too small but it has an abbey church worth seeing. Coutances might not be too large. Granville for proximity to MSM. Granville has a wonderful site with views for a distance. Granville has ramparts and Pointe du Roc and Place de la Roque. Old town is there too plus place du Isthme, an aquarium and a light house for a port or harbor together with a train station. Avranches has its visitors and can be a good place but maybe it would it be too large also. Yet there is a flower garden and museum with manuscripts for MSM there. Monument for Patton is there. Also there is a platform for viewing the landscape. Valognes might me my choice with proximity to St. Lo and Coutances and Cherbourg. Access to places by rail transportation and bus is available. Somewhat smaller is Barfleur , Coutances has its advantages - including a cathedral and public gardens and public transportation by train. Choose a location with these advantages. You need a central location for setting up camp. Western and northern coasts do look inviting I assure you. Population is a factor to consider. Hope this helps.

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Valognes
Valognes
Manche, France
Granville
Granville
Manche, France
Avranches
Avranches
Manche, France
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Manche, France
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Coutances
Manche, France
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Essex
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2. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

I quite liked Valognes, but it is inland. It's a good place to "drive out from" though.....

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Valognes
Valognes
Manche, France
Bayeux, France
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3. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

Barfleur has been voted one of the most pictoreque villages.

We stayed in a b&B right by the port. The fishing boats below the window and breakfast in the bar next door.

Nearby is the Saire valley. The other side of the peninsular the rocky coast of La Hague..

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Barfleur
Barfleur
Manche, France
The Hague
The Hague
South Holland Province, The Netherlands
Richmond, Virginia
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4. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

Thanks everybody for your advice so far. I have a couple more questions if you don't mind:

1) Is anybody familiar with the Omonville hamlets near the Cap? Do either have a boulangerie and a tabac? These capture my eye for some reason.

2) How obvious is the Jobourg-area Chemical plant from the nearby villages? Same question for the Nuclear plant at Flamanville?

3) My wife is quite taken with photos from Granville, but it seems a bit large to me. Is the Haute-Ville accessible by auto, assuming we find a gite or apartment there?

4) I am leaning to a smaller coastal village or harbor town (Barfleur, Dielette, Carteret, St-Vaast etc) , but I wonder if the interior would be good as well. The peninsula seems very small, so maybe a base in the interior, as as suggested above, would be good, and not requiring much time to drive to other places. For reference, when we stayed at Camaret-sur-Mer for a week, the drives to Quimper, Locronan, etc was just fine for us. It seems like the drive from Barfleur, for example, to Mon-St-Michel, for example, would be similar. Or Granville to Bayeux. Or Auderville to Mont-St-Michel.

Sorry to be asking so many questions, but here in the US, we don't get much vacation time, we can only get to Europe once a year, and I need to plan our visit as ideally as possible.

To recap what's most important to us:

1) Nice walks from the village... coastal, hills, country lanes.

2) Ability to walk to boulangerie and tabac in the morning for a L'Equipe, Le Monde and a baguette.

3) Interaction with other people - locals and tourists, in the local cafe or restaurant or hotel. Meeting new people really widens one's horizons.

Everything else, tourist-wise, we can figure out from web searches and reading reviews on Trip-Advisor. But I think recommendations for villages are most important to get from people who have stayed here and can offer suggestions based on their experiences, and who maybe have similar ideas on relaxation.

I really do appreciate you all taking the time to write back and offer your suggestions for a town from which to base our week-long visit.

Eric

Edited: 13 June 2018, 21:43
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Flamanville
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Manche, France
Granville
Granville
Manche, France
Barfleur
Barfleur
Manche, France
Quimper
Quimper
Finistere, France
Bayeux
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Calvados, France
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Paris, France
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5. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

I spent two weeks based in Barneville a few years ago and the Cotentin is my favorite part of Normandy. Barfleur and Saint-Vaast are, IMO, the most beautiful towns with Carteret a close third. But I would choose Carteret as a base as I found it to just have some special charm above all other places on the peninsula. It also has a fantastic beach and great coastal walks. The best coastal walks start just west of Cherbourg and continue to Carteret, so better coastal walks in/near Carteret than Barfleur or St. Vaast. And the town has ample stores and services and at least two excellent restaurants (one has a Michelin star).

I highly recommend a day trip to Les Iles Chaussey with ferry service from Granville. The peninsula is small so driving distances aren't excessive. Check manchetourisme.com and other town tourist office website for all kinds of useful info and always visit tourist offices in person for maps, brochures and other usually free info and advice. I'll post again tomorrow with some other useful tips. You'll love the Cotentin, I assure you.

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Barfleur
Barfleur
Manche, France
Granville
Granville
Manche, France
Paris, France
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6. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

The Omonville hamlets are lovely but limited in stores and services. Near the nuclear plant is ugly if within view of it but still magnificent coastline. I'll suggest a few other villages and sites tomorrow.

Montreal
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7. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

I haven't spent much time in that area so my knowledge is limited but here is the little I know. I slept one night in Coutances. It's not a town that I would recommand. The cathedral is very nice. There are a few restaurants and shops but that's about it. For one night it's fine.

From around Carteret up tp the Cap de la Hague there is a coastal road with a little sign that I followed and from which I discovered most of the coastal area of this part of the Manche department.

It's a good thing that you are investigating before going as I found that many villages along the coast didn't even have a café or a bar to stop and have a coffee or a beer. Or maybe it was because I was in the off season and many businesses were closed. I don't know.

Carteret would indeed give you the opportunity to discover a larger area than if you would stay in Auderville for example where you would have to backtrack each time you would want to go somewhere else.

I liked Portbail, the dunes around Biville, Vauville, Omonville, Barfleur. I don't know if you are into castles but the château de Pirou is interesting.

Don't forget to go see the "Nez de Jobourg" and the "route des caps". It's worth the view !

Like always for me, I ran out of time before I knew it and I had to drop some items on my list. That's why now I prefer having a base for a minimum of a week so that I can explore more into details the area I'm staying in.

http://www.cotentin-tourisme.com/en

cherbourgtourism.com/discover/cotentin-desti…

If you read French : encotentin.fr/files/…01_tireapart_srok_0.pdf

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Coutances
Coutances
Manche, France
The Hague
The Hague
South Holland Province, The Netherlands
Manche
Manche
Basse-Normandie, France
Barfleur
Barfleur
Manche, France
Essex
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8. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

I liked Carteret too, and Barfleur is amazing, of course, but does put you very 'out of the way' if you want to go a-wandering.....

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Barfleur
Barfleur
Manche, France
Richmond, Virginia
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9. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

I am leaning more and more towards Barfleur. Mont-St-Michel is not a must-see for us, but it would be nice. So maybe we put that in the pocket as a possibility if we feel like making the drive.

Also, from what I see on Air B n B, a lot of the places on the western coast seem to be in holiday villages or suburban developments. I could be missing some good ones though... still looking.

We loved staying at Port-Isaac in Cornwall, and at Camaret-sur-Mer in Brittany, and Barfleur seems very much along those lines.

From Barfleur, Cherbourg is close, not too far the Cap de la Hague. The other way, one day the beaches of Utah for my wife (her Dad was at D-Day and she's always wanted to visit there) and maybe one day of Bayeux for the tapestry (an acquaintance of mine wrote a book on this, so now I want to try to see it).

And from Cherbourg we can get a boat to one of the islands.

But I am still keeping an open mind and I do appreciate everyybody's replies.

Eric

Edited: 14 June 2018, 21:09
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Barfleur
Barfleur
Manche, France
Port Isaac
Port Isaac
Cornwall, UK
Cornwall
Cornwall
England, UK
The Hague
The Hague
South Holland Province, The Netherlands
Bayeux
Bayeux
Calvados, France
Paris, France
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10. Re: Cotentin for a week in late September - village for a base?

I don't know what websites you're using besides AirBnB to find accommodation. I had no problem finding a single family home about a 5 minute walk from the beach in Barneville when I stayed there and there were loads of such places but I don't know what you mean by suburban development. This place was in a residential neighborhood of single family homes and was perfect for us.

Anyway, there are many websites where you can search for self-catering accommodation in France. The three that I usually use are:

www.gites-de-france.com

www.abritel.fr

http://www.homelidays.co.uk/

Here are links to several more (in no particular order):

www.airbnb.com

http://www.gite.com/holiday-homes/index.php

http://www.fleursdesoleil.fr/

http://gitelink.com/

http://www.french-country-cottages.co.uk/

www.clevacances.com

www.holiday-rentals.co.uk

www.frenchconnections.co.uk

www.papvacances.com

www.cheznous.com

www.vacationinfrance.com

www.francelodge.com

www.vrbo.com

www.ownersdirect.co.uk

www.sawdays.co.uk

http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/

www.cottages4you.co.uk

http://www.french-guesthouse.com/

http://www.logishotels.com/en.html

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