No trip to La Manche in Normandy would be complete without a stop in Granville, the Monaco du Nord. It’s a perfect Normandy beach town with plenty to see from the port to the picturesque seaside streets, shops, and restaurants, Musée Christian Dior and more. One thing I absolutely wouldn’t miss is a walk around La Haute Ville, the upper city of Granville.
Granville is one of the biggest cities in La Manche. Sometimes with size the French character tends to disappear. That’s why I always make a point of visiting the historic areas in bigger cities like Lyon and Lille. La Haute Ville in Granville has that same charm, plus the bonus of essentially panoramic views of the sea.
Granville: The Monaco du Nord
Granville’s nickname is Monaco du Nord, the Monaco of the North, and you’ll see why from the top of the city. On a clear day the water is just as gorgeous as what you’ll find along the Côte d’Azur. The water temperature however is all Normandy.
From La Haute Ville you can see the Granville port and the stretch of gorgeous sandy beach that connects the local Normandy beach towns: Saint-Pair-sur-Mer, Jullouville, and Carolles. You can walk to the furthest point, the Pointe du Roc and see the Batterie du Roc from World War II as well as more incredible views.
La Haute Ville: Historic Granville
The English originally constructed La Haute Ville in the 15th century. The original ramparts were destroyed in 1689 and rebuilt between 1727 and 1749. La Grand’Porte de Granville was built during the 18th century reconstructions. This drawbridge door gives access to the upper city and the governor of Granville lived in the apartment just above the door.
La Haute Ville is also the arts and culture district of the city. Stop in the Richard Anacréon Museum of Modern Art or visit different art galleries and craft shops. La Haute Ville is a wonderful place to find a unique, artisanal souvenir from La Manche and Normandy.
Because of the proximity to Brittany you’ll find several great crêperies in Granville as well as restaurants, bars, and cafés to stop in and enjoy the scenery.
A visit to the historic La Haute Ville is like stepping into a time machine in a vibrant French seaside town, and an absolute must town to see when visiting La Manche.
Source: Fiche Mérimée PA00110421