Proud locals like to call Granville the "Monaco of the North" for its seawater therapy center and casino, a rarity in Normandy. Gambling aside, Granville instead has a down-to-earth feel. Granite houses cluster around the church in the Vieille Ville, and the harbor below is full of working boats. From the ramparts there are fine views of the English Channel; catamarans breeze over to Jersey and the Iles Chausey daily in summer. Drive a few miles down the coast to find sandy beaches and a view of distant Mont-St-Michel. The Grand Pardon des Corporations de la Mer, a religious festival devoted to the sea, is celebrated in Granville on the last Sunday of July with a military parade, regatta, and platefuls of shellfish. The town's Christian Dior museum, housed in the designer's childhood home, honors this famous native son.
A region with a cultural history like nowhere else in the country has its own ways of celebrating the holidays.More