Coutances Travel Guide

  • Some of the Joe Beyrle story
    Some of the Joe Beyrle story
    by rexvaughan
  • Things to Do
    by rexvaughan
  • Purportedly numerous Franco-Prussian war dead here
    Purportedly numerous Franco-Prussian war...
    by rexvaughan

Coutances Things to Do

  • The German cemetery at La Cambe

    Whatever the horrors of WWII, it seems right that there should be a final resting place for the German soldiers who died in Normandy. This cemetery is an understated place that houses the remains of some 21,000 of them and is managed and maintained by the German War Graves Commission. It was originally the site of a battlefield cemetery for...

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  • Saint Come du Mont

    As it is just a few miles from Carentan, this little town was the first stop on our tour of the D-Day Beaches and we really just heard stories and visited the old church here. There is at least one other thing worth seeing but our time did not permit us to visit the Dead Man’s Corner Museum which is here. It commemorates the battles fought by the...

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  • Tour the D-Day Beaches

    As I have mentioned elsewhere, the owner of our bed and breakfast is a retired British major general who is a military historian and gives tours of the D-Day Beaches. He does both one and two day tours, and we opted for the one day. Major General Hollands is a very knowledgeable historian and a good story teller which made for a wonderful day. We...

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  • Notre Dame Cathedral

    When we were planning our trip, my son expressed an interest in attending “maybe a grand cathedral in Normady” on Palm Sunday. At the suggestion of our B’n’B host, we decide on Notre Dame de Coutances. When we arrived we noticed a lot of people gathering at the rear of the church near an auxiliary building so we went back there too. They were all...

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  • Gardens

    There is a nice garden close to the cathedral. Look at the beautiful flowers and the artistic flowerbeds. The French are specialists in arranging gardens.

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  • Cathédrale - inside: the windows

    The cathedral of Celje is known for its beautiful windows. The most famous are the three windows of the Last Judgement, in the Southern transept. They were painted in the second half of the 15th century. Unfortunately, my father didn't photograph them...The first window in this tip is the ambulatory and depicts episodes from the life of Saint-Lô....

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  • Cathédrale - inside: the architecture

    The interior of the Coutances cathedral consists of a nave with two aisles and a transept. The windows in the transept were restored after WWII. Worth remarking among them are a 13th-century window depicting three martyrs and another with the Last Judgement dating of 16th century (unfortunately, my dad didn't took a pic of them, and he only had a...

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  • Cathédrale - overview

    The Gothic Cathedral was built between 1251 and 1274 over the remains of a Romanesque church destroyed in 1218. The façade shows two imposing towers, each of which has smaller pinnacles. Remark the typical "Norman tower" in the middle, where the transept crosses the nave. The style of the apsis is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic elements.

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  • Enter the Lady Chapel

    The 14C axial chapel of the chevet is the Lady Chapel. Fittingly, it has sained glass windows and contains a revered Madonna and Child statue extracted from the church of St.-Nicolas.

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  • The Chevet is Noteworthy Too

    When the chancel of a church is elaborated so that the apse contains many projecting chapels, usually preceded internally by one or more ambulatories, so that it presents a rounded and shapely exterior, the French call it a "chevet". This prominence of the East end had its roots in pilgrimage churches when praying and visiting relics was a major...

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  • Enter and Study the Church Structure

    The Cathedral is moderately large, 93m long and 23m high with sturdy wide-arched arcades. The traceried aisle windows are tall and wide as well and require minimal buttressing. The support ribbings of the vault run unimpeded along the columns all the way to the ground enhancing the feeling of height. There is a triforium with a balustrade but only...

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  • Notre Dame Cathedral: Start at the West...

    The Early Gothic cathedral at Coutances is one of our favorite churches. We prefer the late Romanesque which this one was before it was destroyed in the early 13C. It was rebuilt (1235-50) as Chartres was being finished. The West Facade is illustrative of what we like best here. It was built with two identical towers rebuilt on the original sturdy...

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Coutances Hotels

  • Etap Hotel Coutances

    14, Allee du Chateau de la Mare, BP 20512, Coutances, 50200, France

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 2 out of 5 stars

  • Cositel

    Route De Coutainville, Coutances, 50200, fr

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • Hotel La Pocatiere

    25 Boulevard Alsace Lorraine, Coutances, 50200, France

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

Coutances Restaurants

  • They are open when others are not

    This is not a blanket recommendation for MacDonald’s as I rarely eat there but we were very happy to find this one. We had driven all around Coutances looking for a café or restaurant, or failing that, a grocer or any store where we could buy something to eat. We were hungry! We finally gave up, thinking we would just go to bed hungry, when we came...

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  • Crepes and more

    After some brief shopping on a cool April day, we found this nice little creperie just down the square from the cathedral. Our party of four had soup, omelettes and crepes and all were very good. The service was prompt and friendly. It was good enough that we tried to go back on a Sunday evening but they were closed. Prices seemed to be reasonable...

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  • great lunch option

    When we visited Coutances we were in need of some lunch. The restaurant I had hoped to eat at was closed (it was a Monday), but we liked the look of La Taverne du Parvis and decided to give it a try.The restaurant's décor was old fashioned, but nice, with a lovely tiled ceiling. The staff were friendly and efficient enough for our needs. By the...

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Coutances Transportation

  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    by sue_stone Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In June/July 2006 we had a 9 day driving holiday in France. We caught a car ferry from Dover to Calais, drove down through Normandy, popped into Brittany and then caught the ferry back to Dover from Boulogne-sur-Mer.

    We chose to take our own car over, as the cost of the ferry and petrol was significantly cheaper than flying from London and hiring a car in France. I also feel a lot more comfortable travelling in our own car as opposed to a hire car.

    The only negative thing about driving our car in France is that it is a right hand drive car, and French cars are left hand drive, which means that tolls/tickets machines etc are on the wrong side of the car for the driver to operate…luckily I was able to assist in these duties from the passenger seat, but I do feel sorry for the solo traveller in these situations.

    Driving in France is great. The roads are good and the sign posting is excellent. You can hoon along on the wide tollways/freeways, or travel along pretty coastal roads, soaking up the atmosphere of the French countryside. Just remember which side of the road you have to drive on if you come over from the UK.

    driving in Coutances
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    • Road Trip

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Coutances Shopping

  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    by rexvaughan Updated Jun 9, 2012

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    This is a pretty specialized tip in that it relates to a store that deals primarily with things related to electronics, the internet and mobile phones. However, it can also serve to remind us that just because we assume a particular thing is not available in a particular location doesn’t mean that we are right.
    The short version of a long story is that we needed some electrical plug adaptors (not voltage converters) for some US equipment. We set out with no real hope of finding them, but came upon Orange in the middle of Coutances and they had exactly what we needed. In fact my new adaptor purchased there will now allow me to plug my US electronics in virtually anywhere in the world. It is just down the hill from the cathedral in the middle of Coutances.

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Coutances Local Customs

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    by hquittner Written Dec 8, 2007

    The Hotel de Ville in old towns is frequently established in a fine old building. This seems to apply in Coutance but I could not find its provenance. It is on the Place du Parvis before the Cathedral. Right behind it are other old rich buildings and a city garden that was attached to one of the manors.

    Hotel de Ville
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    • Family Travel
    • Seniors

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Coutances Off The Beaten Path

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    by hquittner Updated Dec 8, 2007

    The Church of St.-Pierre is down the rue G. de Montbray about 2 blocks South toward where we parked, so it is really not off the beaten path. It was rebuilt in the 15-16C and has a lantern Renaissance tower over its crossing. On the west side is an interesting Gothic tower.

    South Side (note the two towers) West Front
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    • Family Travel
    • Seniors

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