St Vaast la-Hougue, Manche, Normandy
This is a favourite holiday area with our grandchildren who have inherited our love of France.They all enjoy watching the fishing boats landing their catch, the lovely sands and rock pools, practising their French in the boulangerie and visiting museums - particularly those to do with the D-Day landings. On this visit they discovered that amphibious vehicles really do exist when we went on one to the Isle of Tatihou.
Text to follow
Ile Tatihou and millions of oysters
"Saint-VAast-la-Hougue, capitol of oysters"
Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue can be called the capitol of oysters. It's here where the bulk of the famous French oysters come from as it is here that extreme good circumstance exist to "farm" these sea fruits. The little village itself holds a wonderful marina, that - in constrast to those of Barfleur, Goury etc. - keeps filled with water during the extreme tidal differences of the English Channel in this region. The port is locked with thigt doors and keeps the water inside, while the sea retreated for several kilometers away.
"Saint-Vaast ... the world is my oister"
Especially famous are the oysters from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. These are well known for their taste of nut. At low tide you can walk between the "pillows" on which the oysters are kept until they are fully grown. Due to the extreme tidal differences, the growing of oysters has become a speciality around the Cotentin peninsula. Oysters only grow well in fresh moving seawater, that is not to deep, preferably so shallow that once or twice a day the location lies dry. The coastal planes of Saint-Vaast are ideal for this cultivation as the tides have a difference of several meters and the seabed only gently lowers itself into the ENglish Channel (La Manche).
"In front of the coast: Ile de Tatihou"
Just outside the coast of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, lies a small island. This is Ile-de-Tatihou. The insignificant island would have been absolutely unknown if it wasn't here that in 1692 an English-Dutch fleet completely destroyed the French fleet in the battle of La Hougue. After this defeat, Ile de Tatihou was appointed to become a fortress, constructed by no-one less then the famous fortress builder Vauban. Now-a-days Ile de Tatihou has become a museum, that tells about the battle, as well as about the architecture of the famous Vauban fortresses.