The fishing port of GranvilleThe fishing port of Granville
©The fishing port of Granville|Philippe Fauvel
The fishing portGranville, France's leading shellfish port

The fishing port of Granville

After centuries of wild oyster fishing and great cod fishing, the fishing port of Granville continues to live dynamically to the rhythm of the tides. Fishing boats unload thousands of tons of shellfish here every year, making Granville France’s leading shellfish port.

Granville

France's leading shellfish port

Like the Normans who live here, the fishing port of Granville lives in all humility. Nevertheless, it is France’s leading shellfish port, supplying the whole of Europe with scallops, whelks, spider crabs, lobsters, clams, oysters and more.

With Bulot de la Baie de Granville (IGP and MSC Pêche Durable certified), Coquille St Jacques de Normandie, Praire de Granville, almond, venus, olivette, and its shellfish (spider crab, dogfish, MSC-certified Cotentin lobster, crab, étrille), cuttlefish and fish (sea bream and other sole, skate….), more than 7,600 tons a year of products are landed and sold at the Criée de Granville.

The Auction, or Halle à Marée, is the meeting point between the boats landing their catch and the buyers, be they wholesalers, fishmongers or fishmongers.

The whelk

of Granville Bay

The real emblem of the port of Granville is the bulot.

Recognized by a PGI testifying to the know-how of the industry, the bulot de la Baie de Granville is often enjoyed here as an aperitif accompanied by a simple homemade mayonnaise. It’s the locally famous “bulot-mayo“!”

It’s impossible to leave Granville without at least tasting one of these little treasures! In fact, all you have to do is cross Rue du Port to find a good address to enjoy them.

Did you know?

During the German occupation, in order to camouflage the lighthouse in the eyes of the Allies, it was entirely repainted green!

A little history

Inshore fishing, deep-sea fishing and racing warfare

A first 148-meter-long dry-stone jetty was built in the havre de Granville during the reign of François I. In 1564, work on the jetty was completed.

Port activity developed in the 16th and 17th centuries, with Granville becoming a grand port morutier, the first in France at the time of Louis XIV, and a port for oyster fishing.

As early as the mid-16th century, Granville chartered a dozen terre-neuviers for the grand pêche for cod on the banks of Newfoundland. The cod fishery was one of the main activities of Granville’s fishing port until the early 20th century.

From the 17th century to the early 20th, the fishing for wild, flat or pied de cheval oysters dominated the coastal fishing activities in Granville. Oyster fishing took place from September to May in the baie du Mont-Saint-Michel, aboard bisquines equipped with dredges.

Vauban visited the port in 1681 and 1686. He advised the construction of a detached breakwater. In 1750, the King’s Council decided to build this V-shaped breakwater on the Moulières rocks.Construction was completed between 1773 and 1778.

Between the 16th century and the fall of Napoleon, Granville was a regular race warrior. Granville became the third-largest privateering port in metropolitan France under Louis XVI in terms of the number of vessels and the value of catches brought back.

A stroll around Granville harbour

The lighthouse as a starting point

Why not begin your discovery of Granville harbor at the Cap Lihou lighthouse and semaphore? After all, these two buildings are an integral part of the maritime city’s history.

Not far away, you’ll also catch a glimpse of the Roc barracks, home to various marine infantry regiments.

Enjoy the panoramic view as you head south along the GR223, otherwise known as the sentier du littoral. On the way down, you’ll pass a small stone house. Far from being an old dwelling, it is in fact a ball-reddening furnace, a witness in its own right to the military importance of the Roc de Granville and the history of French artillery.

At the bottom of the path, you’ll reach the quays.

A dynamic fishing port

From the dockyard to the village of Marité, from one end of the rue du Port to the other, experience Granville’s harbor atmosphere up close. A few dry-docked ships reveal their undersides on the west side of the harbor.

Thanks to this remarkably shaped slipway, specialist marine craftsmen can dry-dock huge vessels to pamper them from every angle. As with the whole of the outer harbor, this space empties and fills with each tide.

Then lengthen the quays of the outer harbor where ships fall asleep on the bottom at low tide. You’ll then reach the criée where professionals exchange their resources.

Bassin à flot, gare maritime and Marité village

In the bassin à flot, hulls are always in the water. Moored along the quays, the port’s biggest boats are parked in this part, which is always underwater thanks to the float gates. Here you can see the launches that will take you to the archipel de Chausey or to the Channel Islands.

There’s often a coaster not far away, loaded with materials bound for other European countries. There’s always something fascinating about the merry-go-round of cranes when you observe them carefully.

Not far away, the Marité, a historic witness to the Terre-Neuvas past, proudly stands its three-masted masts waiting to embark sailors for a day bound for Chausey or the baie du Mont-Saint-Michel.

And of course, fishing vessels are in the majority in this basin. Some use trawls, others pots or dredges.

What if this was an opportunity to review how each species is fished and in what season? If you’re in any doubt, take part in the Granville maritime and port guided tour organized by the Office de Tourisme Granville Terre et Mer.

Attend the

The landing

If you synchronize with the time of the opening of the flotsam gates, you’ll have a better chance of catching a glimpse of the fishing boats returning to port.

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