City of Art and History of the Channel, Normandy, Coutances takes place west of the Cotentin, about thirty kilometers from Saint-Lô. Between the grove and the sea coast, the sub-prefecture and seat of the Catholic bishopric is located on a rocky outcrop surrounded by the valleys of Soulles, Prépont and Bulsar.
Very old, the city manchote was formerly the chief town of Unelles, a Celtic people, before being populated by the Romans who modernized it. Ravaged by Viking raids in medieval times, the city also suffers religious wars, including the looting of the cathedral by the Huguenots. Capital of the Cotentin during the Ancien regime, she lost this title in 1795 in favor of Saint-Lô. Turning to the work of textiles, especially linen, in the nineteenth century, Coutances suffered in the twentieth century deadly bombing during the Second World War. Despite its reconstruction, it has retained a certain charm and many authentic monuments.
Coutances also offers a particularly dynamic cultural and sporting life, especially through its world-famous festival, Jazz sous les Pommiers.
Listed as a Historic Monument, Notre-Dame Cathedral was built in the 13th century. Norman Gothic style, it takes place on the site of an old Romanesque church. Overlooking the entire city, on its mound 90 meters above sea level, it still has a beautiful lantern tower at the cross of transepts, as well as stained glass windows of the fifteenth century representing the Last Judgment. The building seduces by the purity of its lines, but also by the many Roman remains still visible inside. Guided tours are regularly organized to learn more about the history of the site.
It is also listed as an historic monument, while the Saint-Pierre church dates back to the 15th century. It combines an architecture of flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance styles with its two towers. Forty-two meters long and seventeen wide, it unveils in particular a lantern tower from the mid-sixteenth century. One can admire inside a very beautiful carved wooden pulpit of the first half of the eighteenth.
The hospital takes place in the former convent of Augustine whose bell tower of the old chapel is now classified as an historic monument.
As you stroll through the city, you can discover other beautiful religious buildings like the chapels of the Roquelle of the sixteenth century, the Sacred Heart, the Mare, or the school of the eighteenth century. This last is registered with the Historical Monuments.
Created in the mid-nineteenth century, under the Second Empire, the garden of plants is one of the oldest in the Normandy region. It mixes with harmony the symmetry of French gardens, English groves, and terraces Italian style. You can discover a beautiful collection of trees, a cider press, or a labyrinth. The whole is registered in the supplementary inventory of Historical Monuments.
Do not miss to admire during your walk the aqueduct of the thirteenth century Gothic arches, the former episcopal palace of the eighteenth, or the former sub-prefecture and the hotel Tanquerey de la Montbriere.
The Quesnel-Morinière Museum takes place in the former mansion of Jean-Jacques Quesnel-Morinière, at the entrance of the garden of plants. Open to the public in the second half of the nineteenth century, it includes memories of Jean-Mathieu-Adrien Lhermitte, a military penguin, and Prince Lebrun, politician of the nineteenth, and a collection of the sculptor from Coutances, Ernest Hulin.
Created in the 11th century, the Bishop's Park is the only medieval park registered with the Historical Monuments. A member of the Sensitive Natural Spaces network, it covers a hundred hectares and offers two ponds with mills.
During your stay, let yourself be charmed by the town hall, the former house of the Eudists nowadays high school, the Gallo-Roman remains, the ruins of the castle of La Mare, or the mansions of the Ecoulanderie, Vaudon, Fourrerie, or Porte.
To enjoy the beautiful days and do some family walks, head to the banks of the Soulles.
The fruit and vegetable market is held every Saturday morning, and the fish market on Friday morning. The weekly market takes place every Thursday morning, while a small organic market is organized on Tuesdays in the late afternoon. A Christmas market with animation is also proposed in December.
In February, the digital meetings offer workshops, meetings and animations.
In April, the spring of youth is an opportunity to attend readings, a musical springboard, a carnival parade, or a mud run.
Every year in May, Coutances hosts Jazz sous les Pommiers, a world-famous festival that has animated the streets of the city for over thirty years. Became one of the most important of its kind in Europe, it offers official concerts or off international artists, as well as many musical events.
Painters in the Street are held in July with a contest open to all ages and all levels.
In summer, the Estivales are an opportunity to discover Coutances differently with concerts, guided tours or conferences.
The Game and Toy Festival takes place in November with demonstrations of board games, a carnival or a game bar.
In December, for Coutances Christmas party, the city offers a parade and street entertainment.