The Chausey archipelago from the airThe Chausey archipelago from the air
©The Chausey archipelago from the air|Julie Hurricane
The Chausey IslandsA fragile and magical archipelago
Just a few miles from Granville

The Chausey archipelago

Chausey, Granville’s island district, lies nine miles to the west, punctuated by Europe’s highest tides. It’s possible to glimpse its slender silhouette, stretched across the horizon, from the mainland. To stroll through this protected space is to make the choice to immerse yourself in sovereign nature, far from the noise and crowds. It’s a precious gem that we owe it to ourselves to preserve and respect.

The Chausey archipelago, both spectacular and precious
The Chausey archipelago, both spectacular and precious
À l'ouest de la presqu'île de la Manche, tout près du Mont Saint-Michel, repose l'archipel de Chausey. Véritable écrin naturel abritant une faune et une flore extrêmement riche, ses îlots apparaissent et disparaissent au rythme des plus grandes marées d'Europe. Il est possible d'y passer quelques heures ou quelques jours pour s'évader. Idéal pour se déconnecter du superflu et se reconnecter à l'essentiel...

Did you know?

365 islets spread over nearly 40 km² appear at low tide, while at high tide, some fifty islets make up the 68 hectares that remain on the surface.

This is enough to surprise the visitor to whom the archipelago offers, in addition to an exceptional shore fishing area, a spectacle in perpetual motion.

The richness of a natural site

Exceptional diversity

At 17 km off Granville, the Chausey archipelago witnesses the highest tides in Europe with a tidal range of up to 14 meters (difference between high and low tide). It’s made up of coves, mudflats, beaches and foreshore sheltering a good number of mollusks, crustaceans and other treasures to be preserved.

Chausey is a natural site whose richness has earned it inclusion in the Natura 2000 Network, which helps to preserve its exceptional diversity: marine animals, birdlife, shellfish (Chausey lobster, clams, bouquet…).

It’s a sanctuary for birds, with over 200 species (eighthounds, seagulls, great cormorants, crested cormorants…) frequenting the archipelago, not to mention cetaceans such as bottlenose dolphins and marine mammals (grey seals).

On the seabed, Chausey is home to a protected underwater plant: the zostera. It acts as a hiding place or nursery for numerous shellfish and fish. This entire ecosystem is fragile, and since 1998, the Conservatoire du Littoral (coastal protection agency) has been overseeing its protection (Grande île and maritime domain). To make the most of this natural environment, privilege visits in spring and autumn.

An archipelago to preserve

Chausey welcomes 200,000 visitors a year, who enjoy the quietude of the big island’s beaches, yachting (sailing, kayaking, scuba diving) or fishing on foot, but the archipelago is vulnerable; it’s essential to respect it.

A policy of protection and enhancement of the site is thus pursued by the SCI des Îles Chausey – owner of most of the archipelago (i.e. 38 hectares) and all of the islets. SCI warns visitors not to stray from the coastal path on its property, marked by a white barrier, which runs from Grande Cale to Anse de Port-Marie, and that walkers are liable in the event of accidents resulting from carelessness or inattention. The Conservatoire du Littoral, owner of 6 hectares on the Grande Île, ensures good conditions for welcoming the public and preserves the archipelago’s natural riches.

The Ville de Granville owns around one hectare – the pointe de la Tour, on which the lighthouse and Vauban fort are built – and ensures the smooth running of public services on the whole island.

The grande île can be reached by boat via the Vedettes Jolies France company or aboard traditional rigs.

How to get to Chausey

From the port of Granville

Board one of the 3 launches of Compagnie Jolie France from the Granville ferry terminal bound for Chausey. Sometimes, dolphins guide the Jolie France speedboats.

In less than an hour, you arrive on the grande île, in the Sound where numerous boats are at anchor. This place charmed the writer Jean-François Deniau, who confided that Chausey was “the most beautiful anchorage in the world after Bora Bora“.

You can also access the archipelago on board an old rigging: the Granvillaise, the Charles Marie or the Marité.

Another possibility: numerous charter boats are available from the port of Granville: sailboats, yachts, semi-rigids with or without skipper.

Discover the Grande Île on foot

Take the sentier du littoral which allows you to circumnavigate the large island in less than two hours (5.5 km).

Remember the slipway built in 1862 at the same time as the fort. This slipway is often photographed with its colorful annexes, lockers, carts and pavilions. Turn left. Pass the Sound, a recently renovated restaurant run by Pierre. Just behind it, you’ll find the souvenir store, where you can pick up a gift or simply chat about island life with Babeth or Chantal. Then leave on your left the island’s only hotel, l’hôtel du Fort et des îles with its breathtaking terrace overlooking the islets.

Drive towards the lighthouse, leaving the fort behind with its fishermen’s casemates. Take the path to the left of the lighthouse entrance, which runs between the houses and along the seafront to the south. Pass the pointe de la Tour and continue on to reach the plage de Port-Marie where the rock “le dormeur” stands. In Chausey, even the smallest pebbles bear a historical name or one given by the locals. The beach is supervised by lifeguards in summer. You can indulge in the joys of swimming before resuming your walk.

Then continue on the path around the beach to the north, with the imposing Château Renault building in your sights. Go alongside the Château Renault, leaving its granite-cut swimming pool on the right and passing onto the Port Homard beach, facing South-West. Reach the plage de la Grand Grève where the famous elephant (rock resembling this animal) can be seen. La Grand Grève is the archipelago’s largest beach, and the starting point for fishermen on foot.

Drive towards the sémaphore de l’île, built in 1867 offering a 360° view of the archipelago. Return along the same path. After reaching the village des Blainvillais, passing by the former farmhouse on the island, now converted into gîtes, a well-earned break is in order to collect the pretty, colorful shells known as “littorines”. With a little patience and an eagle eye, you might just stumble across the lucky “coffee bean” shell

.

Then head for the slipway, passing by the chapel, daring to venture behind to enjoy a breathtaking view of the slipway, the islets and the village of Blainvillais.

It is said that at high tide there are as many islands visible as there are weeks in the year (52), and at low tide as many days in the year (365).

You can see the Eiffel Tower, and yes, that’s the name given to the balise de la Crabière because of its metal framework reminiscent of a well-known silhouette in Paris.

Continue on your way and pass by this famous house with blue shutters nicknamed, the captain’s house, the house “Marin Marie”, the official painter of the navy. He was also a storyteller, inventor, adventurer and lover of Chausey. The little beach below is now called l’Anse à Marin, in his honor.

We rejoin the slipway. Our loop is complete as we’ve returned to the starting point.

This walking tour is unique each time, depending on the vegetation, the lights and the tides.

Our Tourist Information Offices offer ticketing for the Isles Chausey.

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