Situated in north-west Normandy, Manche has a diverse geography with sandy, white beaches and coastal towns with dunes and rocky cliffs to forests, open fields and marshland a little further inland. For visitors with a keen interest in history, there are a multitude of museums, monuments, castles, churches, fortified mills and maritime sites. The Mont Saint Michel is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site, and certainly worth a visit. Leisure activities include horse riding, hiking, water sports, fishing as well as parachuting, hot air ballooning and micro lighting. Local cuisine focuses on foie gras, Camembert cheese, seafood and cider.
If you are travelling with children, you may wish to visit the Cite de la Mer Aquarium and submarine, where you can tour a decommissioned nuclear submarine (not for children under the age of 6). You could also go to the Ludiver Planetarium or visit Alligator Bay Reptile House. Abbaye du Mont St-Michel is perhaps one of the most popular sites in the area, with its magnificent cloisters and awe-inspiring church. Building began in 708 and mass is still celebrated every day except for Mondays. The Gothic Cathedral de Coutances is also beautiful. It is located in the centre of the town and boasts 13th century stained glass windows and an organ dating back to the 1700’s.
If you don’t mind a slight drive, you could visit Calvados, which is approximately an hour’s drive away. The overall landscape is picturesque, with vast countryside, apple orchards, forests and farmland just further inland. Deauville and Trouville are the most popular resorts, drawing in visitors from all over the world, particularly during Deauville’s international film festival and annual horseracing events. Leisure activities include horse-riding, hiking, water sports, fishing as well as parachuting, hot air ballooning and micro lighting. Calvados is proud of its gastronomy ad local cuisine focuses on foie gras, Camembert cheese, seafood, cider and of course, Calvados brandy. You could visit Livarot, a town in the countryside where you can tour the Fromagerie Graindorge and see how the cheeses are made. You can even sample the different varieties and purchase your favourites. If you enjoy Calvados brandy then you must take La Route du Cidre, a 40 km long route where you can visit the distilleries, see how the cider and brandy is made and even taste for yourself.
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