Out and About

There’s so much to enjoy in this delightful part of Normandy. From the breath-taking majesty of Mont Saint Michel to the sobering sight of the D-Day beaches.

Hill Crest Gite is surrounded by glorious Normandy countryside with wonderful walks and well-maintained long-distance cycle tracks right outside the gate. We have adult bikes available for you to use free of charge.

You’re really spoilt for choice for things to see and do, with a wide range of must-visit attractions are within an hour’s easy drive. Here we list some of the most popular, but feel free to ask and we’ll be happy to give you help and advice on the best places to visit so you get the most out of your holiday.

On our doorstep

Vire and Aquavire Water Park

Photo by Ikmo-ned via Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0. Original image

Vire is our nearest town, about a 10-minute drive from the gite, and as the capital of Calvados it has a good range of shops plus a gourmet market on Fridays.

There’s also an impressive water park – Aquavire, which is well worth a visit at Parc de l’Europe, 14500 Vire.

Trout fishery

We have a fantastic 3-lake trout fishery just 500m down the road where you can hire rods/bait if you don’t have your own. There are two conventional lakes where you pay by half-day/day plus a children’s lake where you are guaranteed to catch some fat, tasty trout as they almost jump onto your hook! You pay by the kilo for the fish you catch in this lake.

Lake Dathee

Just a 10-minute drive or half-hour cycle from the farmhouse, for us this was one of the key reasons for choosing this area. It’s a lovely large lake (7km around) with its safe sandy beach for swimming, sailing and windsurfing lessons/hire in the summer plus some fantastic fishing, cycle trails, walks, and picnic areas.

Saint-Sever-Calvados forest

Saint-Sever-Calvados by Ikmo-ned CC BY-SA 3.0

About 15 minutes by car is Saint-Sever Calvados Forest – hundreds and hundreds of acres of glorious broadleaf forest with a large lake, historic ruins, miles of well-marked walking paths and some of the best off-road mountain biking around. A recent addition is a fantastic treetop ‘go-ape’ style adventure course for all different ability levels – the great thing is you pay once and then can have as many goes as you like.

Golf de Vire at Dathee

We’re afraid we’re not golfers ourselves, but golfing visitors tell us that the 18-hole Golf de Vire course at Lake Dathee is one of the best around. The course is overlooks the lake, has a quality clubhouse and welcomes visitors throughout the season.

Go to Golf de Vire website

Domfront

Was once a fortied town with a medieval castle, much of the castle was destroyed during the Wars of Religion, though you can still visit the ruins and see the towers and ramparts that formed the city walls. Domfront’s old town is a delightful mix of cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and larger grander buildings, interspersed with cafes and open squares.

Further afield

Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel is a truly breath taking place to visit and our number one choice for a memorable day out. Be sure to pay extra to visit the lofty monastery at the top. Check the tide tables and get there early during the summer holidays. You can combine a trip to Mont Saint Michel with a trip to Granville and the beaches at Jullouville and Carolles as they are very close to each other, or even a trip to Alligator Bay attraction which is about 4 km from Mont Saint Michel.

Sandy beaches and Granville

Plage de Jullouville by GabDavanture CC BY-SA 4.0, Original image

If you want safe, sandy beaches with good facilities, head for Carolles and Jullouville just south of Granville with great views of Mont Saint Michel. It’s wonderful at low tide too when you can join the locals catching shrimps and searching for rock oysters and mussels on the rocks – it’s brilliant for rock-pooling so bring a net or two!

If you have time after the beach, then head up to the delightful old town, chic marinas, shops and harbours of Granville which are well worth the visit.

Swiss Normandy

This is a beautiful and spectacular area about a 30-minute drive from Hill Crest Gite with lots to see and do that owes its name to the canyons and lush valleys that have been carved by the rivers flowing through it. Head for Pont D’Ouilly for walking, kayak hire and cycling and take a drive along La Route des Cretes to experience the best of the area. We spent a couple of days kayaking up from Clecy – an amazing experience – just like film ‘Deliverance’ but without the bad guys!

Gorge de Souleuvre

Souleuvre viaduct via Wikimedia Commons

Gorge de Souleuvre is just under half an hour’s drive. Most visitors say it’s the best day out ever! Walk out on the amazing viaduct hundreds of feet above the valley floor and watch the bungee jumpers and maybe have a go yourself. Then walk down to the valley below to watch the jumpers from below and where you’ll find toilets, play park, restaurant and you can even hurtle down the gorge in the amazing luge cars. It’s free to visit and watch; you only pay for the activities you use.

Jurques Zoo

Previous guests have said that this is one of the best zoos they have ever visited with lots of animals, keeper talks and interaction – you even get to feed the giraffes and have a snake around your neck if you like that sort of thing.

It’s about a half-hour drive from the gite and has all the animals you could hope for including two rare white lions, all set in about 45 acres of parkland.

D-Day beaches

Souleuvre viaduct via Wikimedia Commons

The D-Day landings changed the course of World War II and without them, life for us may now be very different. The landing beaches are well preserved and tell the amazing story of what happened and the bravery and courage of the troops who took part. The beaches are just over an hour’s drive and well worth the trip, especially if you combine it with a visit to the stunning cathedral and tapestry at nearby Bayeux.

Bayeux tapestry and cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral by Paul Holloway via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 2.2 Original image

Created over 900 years ago, this world-famous 280 foot long tapestry tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 during the Norman invasion of England. This, together with the museum, the British Cemetery, beautiful cathedral and interesting town makes a trip to Bayeux well worthwhile, especially if you combine it with a trip to the D-Day Beaches.

Dinan

Built on the beautiful River Rance, Dinan is without doubt one of the most attractive and best preserved small towns in Brittany. With its 1.8 mile (3km)-long ramparts, half-timbered houses, attractive riverside port and cobbled streets filled with art galleries and craft shops, it’s worth a day of anyone’s time.

Dinan Scorcio by AlecOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Original image