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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte BULKELEY CREDLE

Granville Day Trip (Normandy FR - TAPIF)

Living in east Normandy with one train line from Paris to the coast provides a seemingly limited train transportation outlet, but a day trip to Granville not only gives you some wonderful views of the Norman countryside but shows off the lovely seaside town of Granville. Here’s a 1 day itinerary for Granville, which could also be the starting point for a coastline tour of Normandy and include stops like Mont Saint Michel, Honfleur, and, of course, the D-Day Beaches.

Because I work for primary schools and there is no school on Wednesday, I decided to take the train from my town to the end of its only line and make the most of the day off. A couple things to know about this particular part of the Norman coast is that is it usually cloudy, gray, and pretty windy. That being said, if you are looking for warm, sunny beaches, then head South. But if you’re looking a peek into the rough, rocky, port, fisherman cities in Normandy, you will want to see Granville

Granville hosts several « main attractions, » including the Christian Dior museum and a modern art museum on top of a rocky fortress-like hill overlooking the cliff-like fall into the sea. Known as the « Monte Carlo » of Northern France, there is also a historic casino (still operating and full-time hotel) just overlooking the beach, as well.

Granville is easily accessible by car and train. Not having a car, I took the 2-hour train from Verneuil d’Avre et d’Iton (the town where I live) right to the Gare de Granville. I went on a particularly windy, drizzly, and gray day, so although I felt a little wind blown and chilly for a good part of the day, seeing the sea and smelling the salty air was still refreshing.

Bullet point Itinerary
  • Christian Dior Museum and gardens.

  • Walk towards the town center along the seaside « boardwalk » towards the Casino up to the Musée d’art moderne Richard Anacréon and enjoy the stunning views (make sure you go on a day when this museum is open to get the full experience).

  • Follow the walking paths along the old city walls heading east for a panorama view of the town, the church, and the harbor.

  • Descend from the upper level of the walkway and enjoy a stroll around the harbor and a real-life glimpse into the fishing town. When you see a stair case leading down to the beach, take it! Walk along the water line and feel the English Channel mist up close.

  • Hang out at the harbor and have dinner or a drink at one of the restaurants at this end of the harbor, like Le Phare, Le Restaurant du Port, or La Citadelle.

If you want to keep moving instead of stopping for a pause…
  • Spend some time walking around the shared village garden, « jardin partagé de la haute village » (as on Google Maps) and work your way back to the Casino corner of the beach.

  • Wind through the town to see the shopping streets (maybe pick up a souvenir here, I promise I won’t be a touristy item but high-quality and well-priced If you find something you like). Most restaurants open for dinner around 7pm, so take your time making your way to dinner After this shopping streets stroll.

  • Have a coffee or dinner at one of the restaurants near the beach, like Westie and Wedge, you might be ready for a warm coffee or hot chocolate and a crepe by this point :)

If you took the train, make sure you head back in time for the train, as trains truly do wait for no man. I hopped on my train and headed back to Verneuil, and saw the prettiest sunset yet in France on the way back. Do try to time your travel so that you get to see the sunset over the beach and the countryside as you make your way home or to your next destination.

What to expect for weather: 50-60 F, cloudy, windy (but BEAUTIFUL!)

I visited Granville in early October, and it was windy (gals — bring a hair tie, hat or hair scarf), pretty cloudy, and misting rain the whole time. I happen to love this kind of weather, but if you’re looking for a warm sunny, more summery beach, save Granville for the warmer months. But, if you like seeing the natural, chilly, day-in, day-out side of this beautiful town, just make sure you bring a warm sweater and rain jacket or windbreaker and you’ll be all set.

Overall thoughts on Granville

It was really windy and cold, but beautiful so just be prepared for the weather if you visit in the fall. There is a lot this town has to offer for a low-key, "authentic France" view and experience which was really refreshing having just visited Paris. It is a more local environment, someone even asked me for directions as I was walking down the street. People are very nice, so don't be worried if you don't speak much French. Give it half a day and head on to the major sights along the coast line, like Honfleur, Mont Saint Michel, or Saint Malo, and you'll have a great time.

à plus,


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