Each year viewers of a French TV series vote for their favourite village in France. In 2019, many viewers voted for the winner: Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (50 Manche, Normandie) which lies on the eastern coast of the Cotentin Peninsula. Named after a naval battle of 1692 (which the French lost to the Anglo-Dutch navies in the Nine Years War) Vauban bult two towers to protect the port.
Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue truly is unique! With its narrow streets, good restaurants and shops (including the famous épicerie (grocer) Maison Gosselin), gorgeous setting, relaxed atmosphere, UNESCO-listed Vauban Towers and its very own Tatihou Island, it’s a seaside village unlike any other. [Normandie Tourisme]
The Vauban Towers – The towers of la Hougue and Tatihou: splendid examples of Vauban architecture. One is continental, the other is built on an island; the towers of la Hougue and Tatihou are two stone sentries, built by Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, the architect of Louis XIV.
Listed “World Heritage” by UNESCO in July 2008, the two towers and the whole Vauban fortifications were built to protect the harbour, which Vauban himself described as “the safest in the entire kingdom”.
From the quay of Saint-Vaast embark on this strange vehicle: an amphibious boat! Tatihou can be reached on foot at low tide, but this boat sails to the island at high tide… and runs on the sand at low tide. The island hosts an impressive Maritime Museum – Le Musée Maritime de Tatihou
On foot or aboard the boat, you will see the oyster beds at low tide. Seafood of the Val de Saire is much sought after. Mussels from Barfleur grow in pure and rich waters, which give them an incomparable taste. Saint-Vaast Oysters are well known for their subtle nutty flavour and have always delighted gourmets! [Manche Tourisme]
The port lies about 20 miles/32 km east of Cherbourg
Stay in a cottage on the harbourside at the holiday home Quai Vauban in St Vaast
By Train/TGV to Cherbourg with Rail Europe