Visit Coutances (Normandy, France)
The town suffered severe damage during the Second World War, but has recovered remarkably well and is an interesting town to explore. While the cathedral is the principal attraction in Coutances allow time to discover the other attractions.
There is one principal attraction, that has dominated the town for more than 1000 years - the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Towering above both Coutances town and the surrounding countryside, the original cathedral was built in the 11th century in the roman style - although the current cathedral is predominantly a 13th century rebuild in the gothic style.
In design, the cathedral has a elaborately decorated facade with two substantial towers to the front, a separate lantern tower above the transept, and the sides of the cathedral feature extensive buttresses - typical of the gothic style, these buttresses are structural elements that allowed the walls to be much higher than in earlier churches, and also enabled the side walls to include windows.
Inside Coutances Cathedral the highlight is the view into the inside of the lantern tower, with a dome above the octagonal structure that features 16 decorative stone arches. There are also some notable stained glass windows, dating from as early as the 13th century.
If possible visit the cathedral during summer evenings when a sound and light show makes the most of this dramatic building.
Elsewhere in Coutances
There are various other sights of interest in the town that you will discover during your explorations of Coutances.
There are two important churches in Coutances - the Church of Saint Peter (14th century) and the Church of Saint Nicholas. The church of Saint-Nicholas is a simple roman style church (now featuring exhibitions) that provides an interesting contrast to the grandeur of the cathedral.
Take a stroll in the streets around the Hotel-Dieu (ancient hospital) which include the 17th century brick cloisters of the augustines.
If you visit during spring or summer be sure to visit the public botanical gardens in Coutances. These date back to the 17th century and each year numerous flower beds are planted in the gardens.
The Museum Quesnel-Morinière is in an attractive 18th century building, and features many paintings and objects of art, mostly 'realist' type paintings from the 17th - 19th centuries.
Photos taken within 10 km
Tourist classifications for Coutances
Coutances is classified as a listed town of Art and History
Address: Coutances, Manche, Normandy, 50200 || GPS: latitude 49.04, longitude -1.47
Map of Coutances & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Coutances, France
- Argences - remarkable garden (4km)
- Granville - recommended detour (24km)
- Parc zoologique de Champrepus - zoo or wildlife park (25km)
- Villedieu-les-Poeles - village d'etape (29km)
- Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin - regional natural parc (32km)
- Domjean - ville fleurie 4* (32km)
- Torigni-sur-Vire - village d'etape (35km)
- Abbaye de Cerisy-la-Forêt (Cerisy-la-Foret) - religious monument (43km)
- Pointe du Grouin - site of natural beauty (46km)
Market days in Coutances: Regular market(s) are held in Coutances each Thursday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Coutances (Francais)