La Pointe du Grouin
One breathtaking bay location
Marking the westernmost tip of the Bay of Mont St-Michel, this brilliantly located headland not only allows you to benefit from sublime views eastwards, but also splendid ones to the west. The island just offshore is off-limits though as it’s the preserve of birds.
Get to the pointe
The panorama is flabbergasting on a clear day. To the north, far out to sea beyond the Herpin lighthouse, you can make out the Îles Chausey, a scattering of islands off Normandy’s Cotentin coast. A mere 25 kilometres east, the Mont St-Michel is reduced to an intriguing spiritual speck on the horizon. The views tripping westwards along the coast reach towards St-Malo, although the corsairs’ city remains hidden out of sight.
Beside the pointe
Much closer to the headland, the jagged-edged Île des Landes calls for your attention with its dinosaur back. It’s not accessible to humans, though, being a bird reserve. However, on the Pointe du Grouin itself, a German pillbox has been cleverly converted into an ornithological observatory. Great cormorants rule the roost on the island, but you can spot other species too. See if you can detect the dolphins that come from time to time on fishing expeditions around the peninsula. At low tide you can venture down, with great care, to visit an atmospheric grotto below the headland, but beware the tides.
Either side of the pointe
The coastal path south leads to a string of charming coves with little ports tucked into them. Port-Mer proved particularly popular with 19th- and 20th-century artists, but all of them are blissfully protected from the prevailing winds, offering wonderfully sheltered spots from which to contemplate the Bay of Mont St-Michel. The coastal path westwards leads past rocks to a series of sandy bays and at L’Anse du Verger, the striking chapel is plain 19th-century on the outside, but contains colourful marine stained glass within. The fort just out to sea from L’Anse du Guesclin was built to keep the British out during times of war. Now of course they’re welcomed in large numbers at nearby St-Malo!
Did you know?
The mischievous author Colette was inspired by beach holidays around here to write a heady novel on adolescent loss of innocence; Le Blé en Herbe (The Ripening Seed) reveals her at her seductive best.
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