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Carentan - capital of the Marais

The town of Carentan, which is located in the north of France in the Lower Normandy region, is often called "the capital of the Marais", as it lies at the very heart of a unique and fascinating network of marchlands, peat bogs, ditches and inland waterways that seamlessly link the land to the sea and which nurture a wide variety of wildlife. Carentan is also notable for its role in the Second World War, with the famous beaches of the American Normandy landings on the doorstep.

Enjoy the flora and fauna of the Marais

Carentan offers a great variety of things to see and do, and attracts people with very varied interests to visit as a result. Firstly, its location in the Marais is a sure draw for nature lovers, as this intriguing and unusual land of marsh and waterways, pastures and eventually, the estuary, supports rare and lovely flora and fauna. The area can be discovered by boat trips, or on foot, by bicycle or even on horseback.

Sights and monuments to see

The town also appeals to those with an interest in history and architecture, with sights of note including the 11th century Notre Dame Church, a Gothic church from the 15th century, a beautiful town hall complete with a fountain, and several mediaeval buildings. Further sights might include the canal bridges, a war museum and an old washhouse decorated with gargoyles!

Learn about the events of World War Two in the area

The third major area of attraction of Carentan is its role in the events of World War Two. Anyone interested in this period can, from a base in Carentan, trace the events that occurred through visits to the museums, the landing beaches, American cemeteries and by following the trails from significant place to significant place. The town, of huge strategic importance during the war, is in the heart of the American sector of the beaches from that time, with Utah, Omaha and all the legendary beaches known so well to film buffs as well as to historians, all nearby.

Shopping, wining and dining in Carentan

History, war and nature aside, what does Carentan have to offer the holiday maker? The town has a great selection of shops, from small shops selling speciality cheeses and other locally sourced products (camembert is superb from here!) to handy supermarkets where you can buy virtually anything you need from gardening equipment to fashion in addition to a delicious range of food and drink. There are numerous cafés, bars and restaurants around too, and these tend to be of a high standard as the local gastronomy is one of France's most celebrated. Dairy products are a local speciality, as the lush pastures of the Marais are excellent for cattle grazing. Others to taste and enjoy are cider, Calvados brandy and apple tarts.

Out and about - it's all there for you to explore

Normandy is rich in heritage, and there are many interesting towns, villages, stretches of coast and port towns to visit. You can see the famous Bayeaux Tapestry, stand on the beaches that were such an important part of the war, or simply enjoy shopping in the port towns, browsing the stalls of local markets or enjoying the peaceful countryside. The departmental capital of Coutances is worth a visit, while the stunning town of Mont St Michel is not much more than an hour's drive from the town. Wherever you go, you can't go wrong in this delightful little section of northern France.

How to get there

You can fly to Dinard, in neighbouring Brittany, but probably a better way to reach Carentan is to travel by ferry to Cherbourg or Caen, both within an hour of the town. Should you prefer to fly, Dinard is served by Aurigny and Ryanair. If driving, Carentan lies close to the N13 Route Nationale, on the D913.

Property prices and availability in and around Carentan

As long as you stay away from Mont St Michel, where property can be very expensive, the town and its environs offer some very good properties at very reasonable prices. Normandy is so accessible from the UK that weekend cottages here are a real possibility, but in spite of this advantage the region is far from being over crowded with foreign property buyers. This means that prices have stayed low and there is still lots of choice.

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Carentan AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Carentan?

Carentan is situated in northern France. It lies in the north-east of the Manche department.

Carentan Property Map


Lower-Normandy Guide

Lower-Normandy Property Map


Manche Guide

  Manche Map

Population: 6,340

Access: By air: The nearest airport with direct flights from the UK is Dinard in Brittany. By boat: The nearest ferry port is Cherbourg, although all the northern ports are within reasonable reach. By road: The town is easily found from the N13, on the D913.

Economy: The economy is mainly agricultural, with tourism a factor. Trade and peat extraction are also significant.

Interesting fact: Carentan has been featured in many films and television programmes about the Second World War.

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