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Villers sur Mer - a town on the Greenwich Meridian

The little seaside town of Villers sur Mer, in the Calvados department of Lower Normandy, lies directly on the Greenwich Meridian Line. This is clearly marked in the town and on the seafront at the exact point where you cross the line, and many tourists can be seen photographing themselves at this point! Villers sur Mer is certainly about more than just this, though, as a quick glance at its lovely beach and its character-filled old part of town will show.

Markets and shops

The town centre is lively and welcoming, with a proliferation of interesting shops, lively bars, cafés and excellent restaurants serving superb fresh fish and other Norman specialities. Expect to find Calvados brandy on the wine list too! The market comes to town at least twice a week, selling fresh produce, seafood, arts and crafts among other local products in a colourful and aromatic display that never fails to intrigue.

Amenities on offer

Villers sur Mer also offers all those amenities you would expect from a town of this size, with banks, petrol stations, a supermarket, a patisserie, boucheries, boulangeries, health care, a library, cinema and casino.

Elegant buildings

Villers sur Mer has some lovely elegant old buildings, many of them constructed in the typical Norman style with external timbers, such as the beautiful 18th century City Hall. Nearby you can see the old Presbytery, which is another interesting building, and further along, the neogothic Church of Saint Martin, with its stunning stained glass windows. Other points of interest include the Palaeontological Museum, which is dedicated to the discovery of fossils from this age in the "Vaches Noires", the cliffs that line parts of the coast here.

Cliffs of the Black Cows

Heading for the coast round here means taking in some stunning cliff top views before you drop down to the beaches. These cliffs are known as the "Cliffs of the Black Cows", and are the site of some of the best properties in the area. They are also the site of some important archaeological finds, including fossils dating back to the days of the dinosaurs! This is commemorated not just by the museum, but also by the huge figure of a dinosaur, sculpted and created entirely from plants.

Beaches and a time line...

The town is blessed with two beaches of lovely fine sand, perfect for sunbathing and family days out. The beaches are charmingly characterised by a line of white beach huts, giving an old fashioned air to the resort. The Greenwich Meridian Line is also found here, at the point where the Meridian meets the sea. It is clearly marked, and provides an irresistible opportunity to take a photograph of yourself at a singularly important geographical location. On a sunny day it can be fascinating to watch the sun reach its highest point, and cross the marking exactly when it is supposed to.

Sports and leisure

The town offers a variety of sports and leisure activities, and the beaches are an obvious place to start, with swimming, sailing, fishing and beach games always popular. Locally you can also find golf courses, tennis courts, horse-riding stables and even greyhound racing.

Out and about

This part of Normandy has many interesting and beautiful places to visit. Very close to Villers sur Mer is the fishing town of Honfleur, where you can spend a very enjoyable day watching the fresh fish come in. Later you can sample it in one of the famous restaurants of this town. Visit the historic beaches of Normandy, or spend time sight-seeing and shopping in the busy bustling atmosphere of the port towns.

How to get there

It is wonderfully easy to access towns in Normandy, as the ferry ports are so near. The closest are Caen, Le Havre and Cherbourg. There are airports at Dinard in Brittany, served by Aurigny and Ryanair, and of course in Paris, but the ferry or the tunnel trains are probably the best options for those wishing to travel from the UK. The town is situated on the D513 and not far from the A13. There is a railway station at Villers sur Mer, but this is no longer used although trains run through the town along the Deauville to Dives sur Mer line.

Property prices and availability in and around Villers sur Mer

Property in Villers sur Mer varies considerably in price, with the large elegant properties near the cliffs and the seafront being easily the most expensive and desirable. Apartments provide a more realistic possibility for many, with affordable prices even in some excellent locations near the town centre or the beaches.

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Villers Sur Mer AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Villers Sur Mer?

Villers sur Mer is located on the coast in the north of France, close to the northern ferry ports. It lies in the north-east of the Calvados department.

Villers Sur Mer Property Map


Lower-Normandy Guide

Lower-Normandy Property Map


Calvados Guide

  Calvados Map

Population: 2,318

Access: By boat: Take a ferry to Caen, Le Havre or Cherbourg. By rail: From Paris, take the train to Deauville or Lisieux. By air: Fly to Dinard or Paris. By road: Take the A13 then look for the D513 coast road.

Economy: The economy is mainly tourism based now.

Interesting fact: The town is crossed by the Greenwich Meridian Line, which is marked on the ground by a blue line.

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