Lunch at Granville and tour of the old town – 14th June 2017

On one of the warmest days so far in June, sun-lovers met at Le Borsalino on the marina in Granville. We enjoyed a varied and unhurried lunch including seafood, salads, turkey, gammon and pizzas.

We then made our way to the old portcullis gate at the entrance to the old town of Granville (known as la Haute Ville – high town) to meet our tour guide. It’s a walled fort built on a peninsula. Originally the Portcullis was the only entrance into the fortified town but these days there are three road accesses.

Offering wide open views of the sea on all sides, its strategic importance was noted very early on and the fortified town was built in the 15th century by the English, to control the seas towards le Mont St Michel and surrounding areas. The area near the modern day Casino and beach was carved out so that, at high tide, the sea would come in, meet with the river that flows through the centre of Granville and flow back out to the sea the other side, making the peninsula an island (but only at high tide!). Nowadays, the area has been raised again and no longer floods!

There are two main streets running the length of the peninsula and the cross streets are named after professions (bakers, plasterers, leather workers). People with these professions lived on those streets. If you changed your profession, you had to move out of the street you were living on.

The residents would sell their wares through their front windows. Some of the houses still have these extra wide ledges in place, but the shops and trades have mainly gone now and there are just a few centred around le Place Cambernon, which is the heart of the old town. The residents originally enjoyed a tax free status so it was very popular, with the over spill occupying le rue des Juifs – which still has many small shops and businesses. Much of the old town was built with granite from the Chaussey islands – Coutances and le Mont St Michel also benefited from the granite of Chaussey. The peninsula was occupied (mainly by the allies) during WW2 as it is a very strategic point on the coast offering full control of the sea surrounding it and the bay of le Mont St Michel.

The old town escaped bombings during WW2 and the only damage was sustained by the church when a large and noisy plane flew over and the vibrations caused all the windows in the church to blow out. These were replaced in the 1950’s. When the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou was originally constructed the design was Roman, but it was not completed at that time. It was later completed in a gothic style and the two very distinct halves are easily seen from the inside.

Near the church is a very unusual house built into and on top of the fortified wall – it is almost like a small fairytale castle.

Much to our surprise, our tour guide informed us that it was actually only built at the turn of the last century. It is privately owned but rumour has it the owner does, very occasionally, open it up to visitors. Our tour guide was delightfully well-informed and able to answer all our questions. Our thanks to Chris and the committee for organising such an interesting day.

Write up and photos courtesy of members.

 Mad dogs and Anglophones  – 21st June 2017   

There was a distinct absence of dogs, mad or otherwise, when a group of us met at Lac des Bruyères for a walk. It was 10.30 am and already hot, hot, hot! Because of this, there was a choice of a 2 or 5 km route. The majority did, however, opt for the longer walk. So, sunscreen applied, water supplies to hand and sun hats on heads, we set off. Our route took us along country tracks and included wooded areas where some dappled shade gave welcome respite from the sun. Towards the end, we walked by a small lake, before coming to the large lake on the home stretch. We finished at the rest area where we partook of our well earned picnic. Once retrieved, out came a goodly array of light refreshments! Another good walk, well planned by Louise & David.

Waffles in the Garden – 7 June 2017

How lucky were we, after Tuesday’s high winds and driving rain, to be sat outside in sunshine surrounded by the most beautiful garden.

Annette invited the Anglophone Association to afternoon tea with, not only a selection of cakes, but an extra bonus of Belgian waffles. Catherine and Annette did a splendid job with the waffles, many more helpers were serving teas and coffee.

It was a very relaxing and friendly atmosphere with everyone joining in a conversation, either with people they knew well, or getting to know those they didn’t know too well.


Apart from the refreshments the garden was superb with so many flowers and plants to look at. Considering the house was only a short way from the main road and a busy shopping area it was so peaceful.




Being nosey, I spoke to Michelle, one of Annette’s neighbours, who was carving a piece of wood. She beckoned me over and showed me all the different sculptures in her home that she had made from various media. That was such a nice addition to a lovely afternoon.

Write up and photos courtesy of members

Walk at La Baleine – 23rd May 2017

The most precious ingredients for a late spring walk are fair weather and sunshine and we were blessed with both at La Baleine. Add beautiful countryside, quiet lanes and wildlife and your day is idyllic. From Le Krill restaurant in the village we climbed a short hill to give us a wonderfully expansive view of the area north towards Coutances.

We exited the woodland at the entrance to the Mini Golf centre and posed for a group photograph before turning briefly onto a quiet road and then exploring deeper into the shade through this countryside billowing with spring wild flowers.

We found tracks that looked as though they had not seen any wheeled traffic for a very long time. A sense of rural abandonment pervaded the land until we met a number of ponies and horses who were curious at our arrival. Who were these strangers briefly disturbing their day? Our Breton spaniel was grateful to share their drinking water as the heat of the midday sun increased.

We occasionally crossed a road as we followed a figure of eight route around this village and followed even quieter and deeper tracks before eventually returning towards our starting point, affording vistas of seemingly endless countryside. I considered it the most beautiful walk to date and have promised the dogs that we will return. We were fortunate to be able to park in the shade at Gavray where the sun continued unabated and we thoroughly enjoyed a varied menu at L’Hotel de la Gare.

Write up and photos courtesy of members.

Visit to Chateau de crosville-sur-douve – 19th May 2017

After a lovely lunch at the Auberge du Vieux chateau in St Sauveur le Vicomte, a good number of Anglophones met up in slightly uncertain weather for the guided tour of the 16th and 17th century chateau at Crosville-sur-Douve.

We were shown round by the owner, Michele Lefol, who has been restoring the chateau since 1985. She was absolutely passionate about the chateau and its history, and really enthused us with her love for the place and the work she is doing.





Afterwards we enjoyed a cup of tea and fabulous cakes in the Salon de Thé. For those who were not able to be there on the day, I highly recommend a visit, – if only to the tea room!

Thanks to Jacques for his excellent translation of Michele’s words as we toured the chateau.

Write up and photos courtesy of members

Le Poulailler and the AGM at Les Unelles 27th April-2017

It was a really sharp frost on Thursday morning and the first coffee at Le Poulailler was especially welcome, mainly for thawing the hands as much as anything else. Well before 10.00 our friendly host was busy preparing drinks for the growing hubbub of members meeting before the AGM. The small viennoiseries were particularly sweet and started disappearing fast.

Local visitors to the bar looked on in bemusement as this group of English speaking coffee drinkers grew and got louder.

The hubbub grew to more than thirty, including members joining for the first time, before we eventually moved on. Fortunately the walk to the meeting at Les Unelles was short and without the arrival of rain.

On arrival the exciting business of the day was soon under way with a new member of the Committee voted in, a charity selected, a hamper won and parting gifts presented to Kenza, who somehow has managed to escape the Committee. We will miss her language skills. A very warm “Thank You” was also said to Mike in his absence for his long duty as editor. It was a pity he could not hear the round of applause.

After the meeting members stayed chatting for some time before the even shorter trip down the hill to La Crêperie de Sophie where we tried to see how many people you can fit into a small triangular room. Surprisingly the answer was twenty.

Photos and write up courtesy of members

Walk around Agon-Coutainville. – 13th April 2017

The group met up on a grey cool morning at a car park overlooking the sea in Agon-Coutainville.

We set off along the prom before turning our backs to the sea and wound our way through the side streets, around the racetrack to a nice collection of mainly holiday homes, set on a rise overlooking the town and the sea.

The sun, at this point made a welcome appearance and layers of clothing were shed. On up the hill and into the country. Horses watched us pass from some of the fields hoping for a stroke, or a handful of fresh grass. Further along the lane, we had to get out of the way of a couple of trotting gigs coming back from their outing. The view from this vantage point took in the gently sloping countryside going down to the coast and the vast expanse of the sea. Definitely worth a moment or two’s contemplation.

We returned via the route we had taken and past a YMCA hostel, being used for the temporary housing of some of the asylum seekers, where an impromptu game of football was going on.

Back along the prom to enjoy a coffee at Les Bains De Mer before returning to our cars and driving the short distance to Le Passous where we had lunch at restaurant L’Equinoxe, which we all enjoyed. Looking forward to next month’s walk!

Photo and write up courtesy of members

Coffee afternoon – 8th April 2017

Stevie and Kerry had arranged a surprise … after the days of winter the sun warmed their garden so strongly you had to be careful not to catch sunstroke. Some of us took refuge from the heat in the kitchen near the tea urn and the excellent homemade pastries and scones. Those who wanted to enjoy the sun remained on the terrace admiring the pond and the wild flowers in the garden. It was again a great success through the efforts of the hosts in their beautifully renovated house with castle-like stairs. A big thank you to Stevie and Kerry.

Bell Foundry – 16th March 2017

Thursday 16th March 2017 was a beautiful day for a trip out and on this sunny day the ‘Association Anglophone de Coutances’ were off to Villedieu les Poêles to visit the Fonderie de Cloches Cornille-Havard (Bell Foundry).


We met at 12.15 to have lunch prior to our guided tour. We were twelve who enjoyed à la carte meals at La Cuisine de Léonie.








We all had a most enjoyable and convivial time that lasted right up to the time of our planned visit… The Bell Foundry was a fascinating place and our guide, who spoke perfect English, explained and showed to us all the steps of making a bell. It is interesting how the Fonderie de Cloches not only receives commissions for new bells from places such as the Notre-Dame in Paris but also from far afield making bells for towns and cities in the USA! Currently they are making plaques for all of the American War Cemetries and some can already be seen at St. James and Colleville sur Mer.

We finished off our visit with a trip to the gift shop after having ‘played’ the bells that are all around in the courtyard…Smashing… We think a lovely time was had by all.

First Walk of 2017 -10th March 2017

The 10th of March dawned foggy and damp but the Anglophones members are hardy souls and this did not put anyone off meeting for the first walk of the 2017 season.

We walked from Le Haut Dy along the estuary of the Ay towards the sea, ever hopeful that the mist would lift. As we crossed the dunes there were some hints of brightness and we got some quite impressionistic glimpses of the beach.

Then it was back through the leek fields – where we commented on the likely state of the peoples’ backs who were busy in the fields – to our parking spot.

We then had an excellent lunch at La Badine at Creances Plage – a recommended venue for a good value lunch if you are in the area.