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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

France features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
20 fantastically romantic places

20 fantastically romantic places

Whether you're looking for a beautiful beach to share a sundowner on, or you want to get lost in each other amongst the bustle of a city, these are the best pl…

09 Feb 2017 • Tim Chester camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month