Driving guides

Driving to Granville

Home of Dior, a famed carnival & a historical town. Granville is one of the French’s favourite seaside resorts, visit to see why it’s so special.

Visiting Granville

If you are dreaming of visiting Monaco, but wish it could just be moved north by a few hundred miles, you are in luck. The town of Granville, in the Manche region of France has been nicknamed 'the Monaco of the north', thanks to its coastal location, and rocky landscape.

With a population of just over 13,000 this is a more intimate town to visit, but ideal if you are really looking to be engulfed in proper Northern French culture, and skip out on anything too touristy.

What to See in Granville

La Maison Dior
La Maison Dior, home of Christian Dior is one of the most popular attractions in Granville.
La Maison Dior, home of Christian Dior is one of the most popular attractions in Granville. Credit: Philippe Fauvel.

As Granville is the northern cousin to Monaco, of course the town is going to be adorned with sophisticated glamour. There's no name that drips with as much French sophistication as Christian Dior, so naturally Granville's history is tied with the iconic designer.

Christian Dior, born in 1905, was raised in the seaside town of Granville. Being Christian Dior, of course he didn't fade into the background; he was raised in an incredible pink mansion, known as La Maison Dior that looked out over the crystal blue sea below.

The mansion is now an intriguing museum, a must-visit for fashion connoisseurs, or anyone who is fascinated with the history of one of France's most famous figures. Monsieur Dior's mother, Madeline, was determined to have the blush-pink house as soon as she saw it, and spent many years carefully sculpting it to perfection, much like Christian would do years later with his elegant haute-couture creations.

Christian was so fond of his childhood home and town, that Granville crept into his own creations. Light pinks and grey, the colours of his childhood can be seen in his classic designs, and he named a perfume after Granville, scented with notes of rosemary, pine and thyme. The house often hosts exhibits celebrating its eponymous founder, so check out what's on before you visit.

Carnaval de Granville
The annual carnival in Granville takes over the streets for five fun-packed days.
The annual carnival in Granville takes over the streets for five fun-packed days.

One of Christian Dior's inspirations for his designs came from the annual Granville Carnival which is still celebrated to this day. In fact, this carnival is so legendary that it has been included in the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The celebrations last for five fun-packed days, leading up to Shrove Tuesday. The mayor hands the town's keys to the King of the Carnival, a paper maché figure, and the celebrations begin.

The carnival is very important to the town, with 40 floats paraded through the streets. The floats can take as long as six months to create, and many members of the community join together to make the festivities as wonderful as the years that precede them.

With its sea-facing location, cod fishing used to be one of the main industries of Granville, and the fishermen would leave the town around Shrove Tuesday to catch all those tasty fish, so the carnival was there last chance to celebrate before heading off on their mission.

Granville Beaches
The inviting and rich blue sea at Granville is not to be missed.
The inviting and rich blue sea at Granville is not to be missed.

Of course, a must-do in Granville is to spend a day (or two, or three…) at the sandy beaches that make up the coast of Granville. It was at the end of the 19th century that Granville became one of the more popular seaside resorts in France, and its popularity hasn't slowed down.

If you love to swim in the salty, fresh sea water then don't worry about timing the tides. In the 1960s, a retention pool was created at the Donville-les-Bains part of the town. More of a sun-worshiping beach goer? The warm golden sand of Granville is the perfect place to lounge, get bronzed, and dig into your holiday read.

The Upper Town
If you can pull yourself from the beach, then the town is great place to spend the day.
If you can pull yourself from the beach, then the town is great place to spend the day.

Not wanting to be outdone by larger French cities, Granville's Upper Town has many interesting and cultural places to stop by, perfect if you want to discover more of the history of Granville, and what makes it such a special place to visit.

Dotted amongst the striking Upper Town homes are art galleries, museums and chic shops. The Richard Anacréon Modern Art Museum takes you on a journey through 20th century art, featuring works from Picasso, Derain and Claudel.

If the proximity to the sea has got your mind racing about what might be swimming in the depths below, then a visit to the Le Roc des Harmonies, the Granville aquarium will answer all your marine questions.

Where to Eat in Granville

Granville's history and classic style is embedded into its streets and shops, and this is no truer than at Picorette, a delightful tea room and restaurant on Rue Saint Sauveur. Fresh, homemade meals, pots of tea and traditional French pastries are the order of the day, with a cheerful service to match. If you fall heavily in love with the food, you can buy some treats there to take home with you.

Where to Drink in Granville

In a small town, you have the happy opportunity to become close with the locals. One of the best ways to do that is to visit smaller bars and pubs, and get chatting. Winnibelle is one of those tiny bars that has a welcoming feel. Go for the dry white wine, and mingle with the residents.

Where to Stay in Granville

In such a historical town, surely you would want to stay somewhere that is a part of the history. If that's you, then Hotel des Bains is the dreamiest place you can rest your head. It was built in 1881, right on the seaside. It is a quirky red and yellow building, with amazing views of the sea. You can also bring your pets with you! 

Weather in Granville

In June and July, the temperatures can reach up to around 22°C, with a low chance of rain, meaning that there will be plenty of beach days. In the winter time, pack your coat as it is quite chilly, at 4°C. Make sure that coat is waterproof, as it's likely you'll have to duck through some showers.

Are you excited about seeing Dior's real life home, and wandering through this exquisite town? Book your tickets early with us to get the best fares.

Getting there and around

The fastest route from our Calais terminal to Granville is just over four hours, but this does include toll roads. You can avoid the tolls, but this will add an hour onto your journey. Take the A16 from our terminal, and continute to the A84, taking A28, A29 and A13. Then follow the D924 to Granville.

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