The Cotentin Peninsula is often described as one of France's great secrets, it is oustandingly beautiful and unspoilt. While so many people flog further South only to discover traffic jams and polluted beaches, the Cotentin which is a short hop from Portsmouth is virtually bereft of cars, and offers mile upon mile of the most stunning and empty sandy beaches. With the East and West coast some thirty miles apart, it is something like being on an island and the weather reflects this, squalling in and out and constantly changing, while the sunsets and night skies are spectacular.
Inland the countryside has hardly changed since Medieval times. Farmers have resisted moves elsewhere to raze hedgerows and knock small fields into large ones better suited to agribusiness. The result is winding lanes with tangled hedgerows either side, and a patchwork of little paddocks, orchards and fields, where little has changed in farming methods except for the introduction of the tractor.
The beaches too carry the kind of life you would expect and hope for, with the noted absence of hawkers trying to sell you cheap reproduction goods and hire out sunbeds. During the day children and teenagers sail and mess around in boats, fly kites and comb the beaches for treasure, and in the evenings gather to play ball and barbecue. It is also not unusual to see sand-surfers and horsedrawn buggies racing along the beach.