Avranches et Coutances
The town, with its rich and turbulent past, benefits from an important civil heritage which includes a donjon, ramparts and a historical monument known as the “Grand Doyenné”.
Formerly a bishopric, it also boasts remarkable religious buildings.
The Saint Gervais Basilica
Built in the 17th Century, the basilica underwent renovation works in the 19th Century and has been the object of an important restoration campaign since 2010.
The building has been registered in the supplementary inventory of French historic monuments since 2006..
The church of Notre-Dame-des-Champs
The neo-gothic church, built in the 19th Century and extended during the 20th Century, also saw the addition of two towers and the arrival of two great organs.
The Treasure House
A collection of religious artefacts is kept in a room of the church: the Treasure house of the Saint-Gervais basilica.
The French Revolution and later the separation of the Church and State in 1904, led to the confiscation and destruction of parishes’ wealth. In Avranches, the local clergy, under the direction of Farther Cornille, created a parish museum where many religious objects were gathered over the years. The centrepiece of the Treasure is the skull of Archbishop Aubert which bears the fingerprint of the archangel Saint Michel.
The shrine attracts many visitors each year.
The church of Saint-Saturnin
According to certain historians, this could be the oldest religious building in Avranches. Of modest dimensions, it benefited from extension works in the 19th Century because the Parish Council had claimed that “on market days, the church was crowded”.
Avranches has been, since the French Revolution, the depository of the manuscripts of the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. These are exhibited in the Scriptorial – the Museum for the Mont Saint-Michel Manuscripts.
The botanical garden
Situated on a hill, the botanical garden offers spectacular views over the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Guy de Maupassant even drew his inspiration from this place for one of his short stories.
Restored in 2006, after suffering serious damage during the storm of 1999, it offers today 12 theme gardens for the delight of visitors.
The town of Avranches has a network of charming little streets and picturesque squares dotted with art and craft shops.
La Maison d’en haut, Jolies choses et petites douceurs
This arts and crafts boutique offers an array of “pretty things”: visitors will find unique hand-made items, ceramics, accessories, jewellery, decorative ornaments and small furniture, but also edible treats such as caramels, jam, terrines, and soup…
Un Bruit qui court
Step through the door of this workshop and discover a range of designer lampshades made from old fabrics, linen and photographs. You will find here plenty of ideas for an unusual gift!
Le Parchemin des Limbes
This workshop is the demonstration that calligraphy and illumination are not an art of the past reserved to museums! Courses and introductory workshops also available.
The public garden and the Quesnel Morinière Museum
Jean-Jacques Quesnel de La Morinière bequeathed his private town house and garden to the city, on the condition that it was open to the public and that the gardens were turned into a municipal park, where medicinal plants would be grown.
The public garden combines Italian style terraces and English borders, water fountains and a hedge maze. A granite obelisk was erected in memory of the donator Quesnel de La Morinière. The three levels of landscaping works were completed in 1855; the garden became a precursor and a model for 19th Century gardens, and was contemporary to the first Parisian gardens. It is also the oldest garden in Normandy and was added to the National Heritage Inventory in 1992. The donator’s house is now home to the museum’s collections.
Magnificent expression of Gothic Roman art, the cathedral of Coutances was built in the early 13th Century. It was constructed on the substantial remains of the 11th Century Romanesque cathedral. Vestiges can still be seen under the Gothic structure during guided tours: an opportunity to go up into the high galleries above the nave and chancel, into the lantern tower and the Romanesque towers.
Jazz sous les pommiers
Jazz sous les pommiers is an internationally renowned festival is organised in Coutances, in Normandy.
This festival proposes a very eclectic programme, from New Orleans jazz to electronic music. Concerts, street performances, brass bands, and creations… come and enjoy the music of different artists from all around the world.
Source : Site www.manchetourisme.com