The highest and strongest tides in Europe
If you believe the popular expression, you could say the Chausey archipelago is a "heaven paved of bad intentions". Anchored 9 miles north-west of Granville and about 15 miles north-east of St-Malo, the Norman archipelago is indeed marvelously wild, authentic and safe from envy since it is a "classified site". However, this mineral Eden has to be deserved: the crossing from the continent remains a small adventure, spiced with an impressive marling and strong currents. Once on the spot, these ingredients mixed with the chaos of islands, grunes, sand banks, mudholes, shallow waters and tortuous channels require nautical competence and wise navigation. Chausey is the largest archipelago of Europe and carries the strongest tides of the Old Continent. Set sail on adventure if you dare the tides, then admire them coming in and out from Granville's ramparts.
Granville owes its name to its first occupants after the Vikings: the Grant family. William the Conqueror asked for their assistance in 1066 and, in reward of their fidelity during the conquest of Great Brittain, allotted them grounds. During the 14th century, the English conquered Normandy with the exception of Mont-Saint-Michel; Sir Thomas Scalles discovered the Roque de Lihou, Granville's first name, and built a forteress around the city. He also had a trench dug up in the centre of a cliff mesuring seven meters wide by eighteen deep, with twenty meters at the base so that the water going up north joined the Boscq and the southern seaside, thus making Granville an island larger than the Mont-Saint-Michel. In 1492, the Jews chased out of Spain, arrived in Granville; forbidden to live in the city, they settled in the suburbs where they acquire the right to trade gold and lend money. It is mostly thanks to that activity that the granvillais' armament developed. As soon as 1450, Granville fishes around Newfoundland, not yet part of America (1492) and with time, Granville becomes an important cod fishing port. In 1695, after many centuries of war with Great Brittain, again the English bombarded the city: 80 houses were touched and 27 to rebuild. In 1793, at the time of the Vendean attacks, no protection was left at the Great door, seeing the half-opened door, the Vendeans were just about to enter when, at the top of the ramparts, women let cider barrels rolled down on them: Isthmus Place was saved. Since 1850, the summer months attract travelers for the "Elegant district of Paris" which Granville is turned into. The casino, organized evening balls, concerts and stage performances are presented before Stendhal and Victor Hugo who appreciated the picturesque city and the port's activity. The first barracks were completed in 1750, the next in 1780 and the last date from the end of the 19th century. With these fortifications, the Germans added blockhouses from the "Atlantic Wall": Isthmus Place, to the point of the Roc. Released without combat on July 31, 1944, Granville is invested during a few hours on March 9th, 1945 by Germans arriving from the still occupied Jersey.
Today's Granville is home to 13 700 inhabitants; important for it's fisheries and commercial activity, it benefits a direct train line to Paris, Montparnasse (3h) and many others towards Chausey and Anglo-Norman islands. Among some of it's historical monuments the Notre-Dame Church dates from the 15th to 18th century, the famous Ramparts guard the old city and the Haute ville. Granville being the closing door to the Mont-Saint-Michel, the "Monaco of the north", offers an unforgettable tides spectacle : the strongest and highest of Europe, especially with Chausey, it's maritime archipelago. The most famous Christian Dior lived in Granville and would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2005; gardens of amazing beauty can still be visited at his estate, as well as a museum celebrating his life.