France // Normandy //

The Cotentin Peninsula


Hard against the frontier with Brittany, and cut off from the rest of Normandy by difficult marshy terrain, the Cotentin Peninsula has traditionally been seen as something of a backwater, far removed from the French mainstream. By sea, on the other hand, it’s very easily accessible. Beyond the peninsula’s major port, Cherbourg, little ports such as Barfleur and St-Vaast on the indented northern headland presage the rocky Breton coast, while La Hague to the west offers a handsome array of heather-clad cliffs and stone-wall-divided patchwork fields.

For many visitors the Cotentin’s long western flank, with its flat beaches, serves primarily as a prelude to Mont St-Michel, with hill towns such as Coutances and Avranches cherishing architectural and historical relics associated with the abbey. Halfway down, however, the walled port of Granville, a popular destination with French holiday-makers, is a sort of small-scale mirror-image of Brittany’s St-Malo.

More about France

Explore France



Travel Offers

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.