Carentan, a small market town with marina, is so called because it developed through the settlement of the dwellers on the high ground. Surrounded by marshes and canals, it is at the centre of a cattle-rearing area, thus full of farmers and dealers every Monday who come together under the covered market to discuss their dairy and meat produce. The surrounding marshland has now become the Cotentin and Bessin Marshes Country Park; a protected nature reserve due to its diverse flora, which in turn lends to the name of the whole area: the Côte Fleurie. Carentan is often called the gateway to the Cotentin Peninsula and the capital of marshland.
Carentan is situated in the southwest corner of the Baie des Veys (Manche). Cherbourg ferryport can be reached in 30mins and Paris is 3 hours away via the RN 13.
A famous piece of history rendering this area famous took place in WWII. On 6 th June 1944, General Maxwell D.Taylor’s paratroopers of the 101 st Airborne Division became the first Allied soldiers to land in France and for 33 days they bravely fought the Germans. Carentan was a key city of Normandy so their mission was to regain control of it, in which they succeeded.
Sights in the town include an C11th Notre Dame church with panoramic views, a fine collection of paintings and a C19th organ, a C15th Gothic church, a C17th town hall fronted by an C18th fountain, a canal bridge, Dead Man’s Corner Museum which is dedicated to the 101 st Ariborne Division’s Liberation of Carentan in WWII and contains an impressive collection of authentic German and American artefacts directly related to the location (http://www.paratrooper-museum.org), a series of old private hotels, including Hotel de Dey where Honoré de Balzac stayed whilst writing ‘Le Réquisitionnaire,’ a unique ensemble of 4 medieval houses incorporating 10 pillars and Lavoir de Fontaines which is an old washhouse surrounded by a gallery containing superb stone gargoyles.
Carentan is also the American Sector of the Beaches. Popular routes are: Carentan to Utah Beach, via Saint Côme du Mont, Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Batterie ( Battery) de Crisbecq and Azeville, near Saint-Marcouf, above Ravenoville and returning via Sainte-Mère-Eglise where one can visit the “Airbone” and “C47” museums. Alternatively, visitors can pass via the Pointe du Hoc via Isigny-sur-Mer and Grandcamp-Maisy to see the cemetery at Colleville-SaintLaurent near Omaha Beach.
The marshes can be visited on board the Rosée du Soleil, a river boat with 50 seats, or by hiking and cycling along the 9 paths made available and leading to either the bocage of uplands or the low lying areas. Donkey rides are also fun and the Mascaret tidal bore is a must see; a breaking wave which moves rapidly up the Douve, Taute and Vire rivers.
Food and Drink
Cheeses such as ‘Camembert,’ ‘Livarot’ and ‘Pont l’Evêque’ are local specialities, as well as Normandy cream (used in most recipes) and cider as Normandy is a major cider-producing region. ‘Calvados,’ an apple brandy is also popular and makes up the ‘Trou Normand’ (Norman break) which is a pause between meal courses in which diners drink a glassful of ‘Calvados.’ ‘Kir Normand,’ cassis topped with cider, is a good aperitif and‘Flan Normand’ is a classic, apple pastry tart.
- Auberge Normande, 11 boulevard de Verdun, tel no : 02 33 42 28 28, www.aubergenormande.com
- Auberge la Guidonnerie, farm restaurant 50480 Angoville au Plain, tel no : 02 33 71 06 63
- Le Napolitain, 18 rue de Caligny, tel no : 02 33 71 52 14
- Le Pere Alta, 16 rue de Caligny, tel no : 02 33 71 26 54, www.le-pere-alta.com
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Normandy. We have a large network of partners in Normandy . All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Normandy matching your requirements.