"Maison de Reve" Le Bourg, Notre Dame de Touchet, 55140 FRANCE
To the North are the ports of Cherbourg and St. Malo. The famous landing beaches and battle sites of the second world war. To the South the Loire valley is only one hour away and to the West you have the world heritage sight of Mont St Michel leading onto the North Brittany coast.
Cherbourg, in Normandy, is a port town with a seafaring history that is second to none.
One of the first places that the Titanic visited on its fateful journey and quickly liberated from the Nazis after the Normandy Landings, Cherbourg has a rich and often tragic past.
Both events are marked in outstanding museums in the city, with a brilliant Titanic exhibition in the famous Citè de la Mer ('City of the Sea'), which is also home to the incredible La Redoubtable, the world's largest submarine.
Cherbourg has lots of good restaurants and is a great place to try some of the tastes of Normandy, a region famous for its apples, cider, mussels and rich butters and cheeses. A visit into the heart of the Old Town will take you to the fresh fish market at Le Vieille Ville, or you can wander through the grand markets of the Place de Gaulle, for fresh produce, delicatessens and flower stalls. If you're looking for great shopping, there is the shopping centre beside the river, Les Éléis, which has big international and national brands, as well as some local stores, all housed inside a spectacular glass and metal building that is designed to reflect the light.
St. Malo
The beautiful city of St Malo in Brittany curves out to sea on a stunning natural harbour that has created some of the best sandy beaches on the Emerald Coast.
Rising out of the granite rock, St Malo is a maze of medieval streets bursting with history and culture. The legacy of the pirates of the 19th century and the siege during the Second World War entwines with the bustling array of arty shops and the delicious smells from restaurants, markets and cafes, for a romantic atmosphere. Oysters and crêpes are local delicacies to be enjoyed throughout the restaurants and markets of the town.
Intra-Muros, the ancient walled town, forms the heart of St Malo where the stunning Gothic and Romanesque Cathédrale de St Malo dominates the skyline. Walking along its ramparts, visitors can see spectacular views of the town and harbour, including the islands and forts scattered just out at sea. The pretty islands of Grand Be and Petit Be can be visited on foot at low tide, with the Fort National reachable on foot from St Malo's longest beach, the Grand Plage. If you enjoy hiking, the GR 34 coastal path travels right around the Emeral Coast and extends across most of Brittany's coast from Mont St Michel to Le Tour-de-Parc.
Sites of the D-Day landings
On the morning of 6th June 1944, the Normandy coastline was scattered with Allied landing ships amd warships were sitting further out, prepared for naval bombardment of the German guns. Hundreds more ships were in the English Channel throughout the day, bringing over 132,000 troops from England to Normandy on D-Day alone.
A further 23,000 airborne troops were landed nearby the night before to capture and secure key positions including German gun batteries that could fire on the landing beaches.
Today, there are many memorials at the beaches and along the Normandy coastline here. German bunkers, gun batteries and other evidence of the intense fighting that took place still litter the landscape. We can now enjoy these beautiful beaches for the peace and enjoyment they offer us today, but the incredible events that took place at these historic sites offer an entirely different aspect.
Loire valley
The rich landscape offers great rivers, vibrant cities like Orleans and Tours, historical medieval towns such as Chinon and Loches, beautiful villages like Montresor, natural parks in La Brenne and Anjou, some of the best wines of France and a host of local delicacy's.
There is a plethora of festivals throughout the year to give you a taste of the region's unique culture and heritage.
The Loire River (the longest in France) is the thread that binds this area together but its tributaries of the Cher, the Vienne, the Indre and other rivers in the region such as the Creuse and the Claise give an added dimension to the region by providing attractive valleys and landscapes to stimulate interest.
Within the Loire Valley, France's third largest wine producer, vineyards and wine making are rooted in the very heart of its culture and heritage. Its official wine route which is marketed under the umbrella of 'La route des vignobles' stretches a total of 800km from Nantes in the west to Sancerre in the east.
Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel in Normandy is a granite tidal island just off the coast, famous for its majestic abbey.
One of France's main tourist attractions, the Mont St Michel captivates the 3 million visitors every year who come to experience the magic of this sacred place. The incredible 11th century abbey rises out of the mists. Known in France as La Merveille ('The Marvel') the Mont is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. The first church here, on which the abbey is built, was created by St Aubert after a vision of the Archangel Michael.
Access to the Mont is across a causeway through the Baie du Mont St Michel, an area of mudflats known for its extreme tides that sweep in quickly and can catch out the unsuspecting! Take the walk to the abbey at the top of the Mont, wandering up stone stairs and through the Mont's one street, the Grande Rue where you'll find créperies, restaurants and gift shops full of souvenirs to remember your journey to the Mont. Stay overnight to truly enjoy the beauty of the Mont St Michel when it is quieter and floodlit - the illumination makes the architecture even more striking as you sample some fantastic seafood in the Mont's restaurants. There is also the Mont St Michel Marathon most years in May that runs from nearby Cancale to the Mont itself, the competitors not only racing each other but also the bay's infamous tides.


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