Godfrey’s Top Ten Tips for Visiting Normandy

Godfrey Hall is an award-winning journalist who has been travelling the world for over 35 years. Over the years he has accumulated a number of tips and suggestions. In his first top tips for Silver Travel Advisor, he has selected a French destination just a few hours by ferry from his home in Somerset in the UK.

Cafe in Brecey, Normandy

  1. If travelling by ferry, book with a French company so that your holiday can start the moment you step on the ship. Brittany Ferries have some great offers and can provide a real French experience as soon as you get onboard. One tip is that it is usually a better deal to pay for things in pounds. They operate from Ports in the south of England and include a daily service from Poole to Cherbourg.
  2. If going out for a coffee, try a petit crème. Currently these are exceptional value and much cheaper than asking for a grand crème which could be almost double the price.
  3. Saint-Hilaire-du-HarcouetMarkets in Normandy and neighbouring Brittany are a great way of getting a feel for the area. Don’t forget to arrive early. One of my favourites can be found in Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouet, a short drive from Avranches. This local market includes clothes, vegetables, plants, freshly cooked food and of course cheese. There is also a smaller market at Brecey further north.
  4. Wine is still a very good deal in France and you can get some real bargains in the local supermarkets such as Leclerc, Carrefour and in branches of Lidl and Aldi. Look out for special offers for six or more bottles. The range of champagne is usually very good and prices can start from as little as 13 euros for a quality product.

  5. Restaurants, cafes and supermarkets, particularly on market days, often some excellent mid-day deals. A four-course meal with wine can be as little as 12.50 euros and recently I spotted a very good deal in a supermarket café at 6.50 euros for three courses! Search out the plat du jour menus and eat at lunchtime rather than in the evening.
  6. Mont Saint-Michel from across the bay in GenetsYou will usually be able to find free parking in most towns and villages. However, be prepared to pay if it is a popular tourist destination such as Le Mont-Saint-Michel or Cancale along the Brittany coast. Cancale can get very busy so you could try Port Mer with its delightful restaurants including Cap Chausey where I had a superb all-inclusive meal and there is plenty of free parking.
  7. There are some delightful seaside spots close to Cherbourg including Barfleur and Saint-Vaast-la Hougue with its yachts and fishing boats. If you have time, take the unusual ferry from Saint- Vaast across to the island of Tatihou just off the coast.
  8. The main routes along the motorways in Normandy and Brittany are toll free, however also consider the minor roads which seem to be pothole free!
  9. Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue near CherbourgThere are some delightful spots along the coastline opposite Mont-Saint-Michel on the way to Granville on the D911. The views across the bay are quiet spectacular and there are plenty of stopping places.
  10. People in Normandy are very friendly and have strong connections with the British and Americans due to the D -Day Landings. You will also hear a number of British voices who have settled in the area. Sainte-Mere-Eglise is well worth a visit with its museum and famous church as is the war graves cemetery at Saint-James.

For more information on this area go to www.brittanyferries.com. and www.manche-tourism.com

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Godfrey Hall

Award-winning travel writer

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