Must-see sights in the Cotentin
Set off to explore the culture and heritage of the Cotentin during your stay at the Hôtel Les Pieux. This French peninsula is an unspoilt rural region in the département of Manche in Normandy.
Full of pristine landscapes, the Cotentin is home to numerous iconic places. An integral part of the peninsula’s heritage, these sights are a wonderful window onto the local culture.
The Nez de Jobourg – La Hague
The Nez de Jobourg is one of the awe-inspiring landscapes which you must absolutely see during your stay in the Cotentin. It’s the second most-visited natural attraction in the Manche, after Mont-Saint-Michel. Located to the south of Cap de la Hague, this natural gem is genuinely breath-taking. Also well-known as a viewpoint, the cliffs of Nez de Jobourg reach 128 metres above sea level, making them some of Europe’s highest. You can also visit hidden caves, which, legend has it, used to shelter smugglers.
It’s possible to come here by car or on foot, via the coastal footpath (which is also called the « Sentier des Douaniers » or the Customs Officers’ path). Top tip: it’s an excellent place to stop and rest at the end of the day to enjoy the spectacular beauty of a sunset.
The Cité de la Mer, Cherbourg
Cherbourg-en-Cotentin has been a town that’s been reliant on the ocean for hundreds of years. So where better place to go than the Cité de la Mer, which tells the exciting story of people and the undersea world over the last few centuries? This is a great visual and sensory experience on the theme of the Ocean.
We follow in the footsteps of the explorers of the seabed, discover unusual objects brought up from the wreck of the Titanic and dive into the entrails of the enormous French nuclear submarine ‘Le Redoutable’. These are just some of the fun things you can do which will be sure to be a real highlight of your stay in the Cotentin!
The Océan du Futur is the most recent exhibition space in the Cité de la Mer. Opened in 2019, the visit itinerary features incredible displays and creates an immersive journey which brings you from the surface of the sea down to the depths of the ocean.
The D-Day landing beaches
During your stay in Normandy, don’t miss the famous D-Day landing beaches, a 50-minute drive from the Hôtel Les Pieux. These are places imbued with real emotional significance – millions of people continue to come to pay their respects here. They are places where the past and our duty to remember the dead intersect. This is where the D-Day landings of 6th June 1944 took place on the beaches of Normandy. Even today, they continue to bear witness to the ferocity of the fighting during this part of the Second World War.
Amongst the many sights that you shouldn’t miss from this period of history are Omaha Beach, (and its US cemetery and dedicated museum), not to forget Utah Beach, Juno Beach, the Atlantic Wall, Gold Beach and Sword Beach, which really are like a kind of open-air museum.
The phare de Gatteville lighthouse
The Phare de Gatteville lighthouse is located 2 kilometres from the port of Barfleur, in the département of Manche. It was built between 1829 and 1834 to guide ships and sailors who ventured into the narrow – and dangerous – sea passage known as the raz de Barfleur.
Are you ready to reach for the skies and take on the challenge of climbing the 365 steps of the lighthouse to get to the highest accessible point, the observation gallery? You’ll be well-rewarded for your effort with amazing views of the Channel and the Calvados coast from a vantage point some 75 metres above sea-level. It’s enough to make you go quite dizzy – especially when you know it’s the second-tallest lighthouse in France and the third-tallest in Europe.
Île de Tatihou Island
The île de Tatihou is a 28 hectare island in the Cotentin, in Normandy. It’s a beautiful place to visit, with an interesting heritage to explore. You can visit its maritime museum, its fort, including a tower designed by Vauban (included in the UNESCO World Heritage list) and its gardens – demonstrating the many-sided character of this island.
How do you get to the île de Tatihou? You need to go to Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue to start with, then you have two options. Take the amphibious vehicle, which will take you there in 10 minutes, or, for the more adventurous, walk over to the island. At low-tide, the island becomes a peninsula.