1. Barfleur - for people who appreciate the better things in life
WeatherTo start with, don't visit Barfleur if you like noise, heavy nightlife or very brash commercialised places! (Please, please don't - we don't want it spoilt!) Also as this is a rural area, it helps if you do make the effort to speak French. I've visited Barfleur regularly for over thirty years. It's one of the prettiest places in Normandy, has links to our own history, and for those with small children it's only 21 kilometres from the ferry port at Cherbourg. The weather is similar to ours - don't expect very hot sun, and as it's seaside it can be windy. The excellent Tourist Information Office by the church does a detailed weather forecast each day,(in French) with details of the tides and the tidal range, and also any local weather warnings. (And local birthdays!)
Most holidays there will be one or two days of rain, but there is plenty to do for families who like a quiet contemplative holiday with some walking, cycling, history, natural history, sailing, fine restaurants and pretty beaches that are clean and quiet. It's livelier in the summer, where there are often sweet, ice cream and hot food stalls along the quay, and a roundabout (really old fashioned, I know!) by the high street. Every Sunday, the local butcher cooks your meat over a wood fire if you order it, and there is a good little Shopi supermarket, an excellent fish shop, and a newsagent that sells English papers (a day late).
HolidayThere are plenty of good gites in and around Barfleur, and some hotels; there is also Camping Indiana, which opens in the summer and is directly opposite a short lane that leads to La Sambiere beach. La Sambiere has two crescents of white sand separated and closed at either end by granite headlands with rockpools full of fish, sea urchins and interesting wigglies of all sorts. The beach faces east, and the sandy bottom of the bay slopes gently out. The water is clean and clear, if cold, but it's ideal for teaching children to swim as long as you don't go further out than the headlands' end. Don't allow children on small boats or lilos unless roped from the shore - if they go beyond the headland and the current gets them they'll be out to sea in no time. We always swim on an incoming (flow) tide, not on the ebb. I WOULD NOT SWIM ANYWHERE ON THIS COAST WITHOUT CHECKING WITH THE LOCALS FIRST, however I have proved La Sambiere over many years, and with care it is safe. You need to take everything with you - there is nothing to buy, and nowhere to pee other than the tamarisk bushes at the landward side of the beach. (For fainthearts, the town loo is a gentle ten minute walk away.) It's quiet and beautiful, but not the place for people who like noise and a lively atmosphere. Loud music is frowned on, and people make sure they don't 'camp' too close to you, so you'll have privacy if you want it.
Recommend Barfleur to others