Historic heritage

Normandy, and especially the lower part, is a fertile ground for history lovers.

Bessin is defined first and foremost by history. Indeed, Bretteville l’Orgueilleuse is the land of the Baiocasses, a Celtic people in ancient Gaul who gave the name Bessin as well as Bayeux, located 12 km away.

From prehistoric times to D-Day on June 6th, 1944, a lot has happened on this land and on the coast. Churches, castles and museums are landmarks of a prestigious history where we often find the great name William the Conqueror.

In the northern part of the Manche, near the cottage of Gatteville-phare (North-East of the Cotentin), a terrible shipwreck happened in 1120. The “Blanche-Nef” sank off the coast of Barfleur (raz-de-Barfleur) which resulted in the death of the sole heir of Henry I of England, himself descendent of William. Barfleur was the main port of the old anglo-norman kingdom in the Middle-Ages. The village has conserved its medieval character (Yard Sainte Catherine, a must-see). It has also become the historical starting point of the “Chemins de Saint-Michel” (pilgrimage) and of the route of the Plantagenets, a dynasty from the kingdom of Anjou who reigned for more than 3 centuries on the “White Albion”.

History and the sea meet again in 1692 off Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (10 km from Gatteville) where a naval battle was fought. The French fleet opposed a coalition composed of England, Spain, German principalities, Sweden, … Louis IV lost there his best ships, destroyed by the enemy.

Finally, Normandy bears also the scars of WWII. All along the coastline, former blockhaus are still visible. D-Day landing took place 50 km south of Gatteville (and 30 km west of Bretteville) but the battle to conquer the port of Cherbourg back was fierce.

Don’t hesitate to visit the tourist information centers, to read books, but more especially to ask …me!

In the area of the house in Bretteville

In each section, the locations and activities are classified according to the distance from the house (within 15/30/50/100 km).
  • - Museums and archeological site of Vieux (ancient Roman city)
  • - Musée de Normandie in Caen (ethnographic and archéologic)
  • - Château de Caen (XIème)
  • - The Bayeux Tapestry is listed "Memory of the World" by UNESCO.
  • - Cathédrale de Bayeux
  • - Mémorial de Caen (history of XXème siècle)
  • - Mémorial Pégasus in Ranville
  • - Juno Beach Center in Courseulles s/mer (Tribute to the Canadians)
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  • - Château de Crèvecoeur (XIème)
  • - Château de Guillaume Le Conquérant (Falaise, XIIème)
  • - Château de Colombières (XIVème)
  • - Château de Canon and the gardens (The castel is listed Monuments Historiques, the gardens are listed "Jardins remarquables")
  • - Landing Museum (Arromanches)
  • - Arromanches 360 (New spectacular film!)
  • - Memorial Museum in Omaha (St Laurent s/mer)
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  • - Château de Vendeuvre ( Museum of miniature furniture and XVIIIth c. French art of living + water gardens)
  • - Musée de la Percée du Bocage (St Martin des Besaces)
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  • - see below the websites on the Manche, listed for Gatteville’s cottage.
  • - Mt Saint Michel (1h30 by the highway A84)
  • - Paris (2h30 by the highway A13)
  • - Brittany, ...
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In the area of Gatteville-Phare

In each section, the locations and activities are classified according to the distance from the house (within 15/30/50/100 km).
  • - The church of Gatteville (XIth c.) and the Chapel of the sailors
  • - Yard Ste Catherine, medieval house in Barfleur
  • - Church of Barfleur
  • - Julie Postel's house, Ste Marie Madeleine in religion
  • - Blokhaus, vestiges of WWII (Gatteville, Néville, ...)
  • - Fortifications of Vauban in Saint Vaast -la-Hougue and on the island of Tatihou (World heritage Unesco)
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  • - Cherbourg, the fort of the Roule and the harbour
  • - Park of Martinvast, castel and floral garden (in the French Supplementary Historic Monument List. s)
  • - Château des Ravalet, in Tourlaville (XVIth c.)
  • - the Memorial of Found Freedom, in Quinéville
  • - Battery of Azeville, near by Ste mère Eglise
  • - Musée Airborne, Ste mère Eglise
  • - Musée du Débarquement Utah Beach
  • - Château d'Omonville, in Denneville
  • - "Hôtels particuliers" in Valognes, the "Versailles normand"
  • - Abbatiale de Lessay (XIth c.)
  • - Château de Bricquebec (XIth c.)
  • - Saint Sauveur-le-Vicomte and his Museum Barbey d'Aurevilly (Monuments Historiques)
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  • - Coutances and the gothic Cathedral of the XIIIth century
  • - Castel of Pirou (XIIth c.)
  • - Granville, the old city or "Haute Ville"
  • - Mont Saint Michel
  • - Sightseeing mentionned above around the Bnb in Bretteville
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