On a gloriously sunny June afternoon, we set off en famille from the seaside port of Granville on the Jolie Vedette ferry service to the Chausey Islands We were off for a few days’ well earned rest at the end of the school year to stay at the picturesque Hôtel du Fort et des Iles, the only hotel on the main island of Chausey, the Grande Ile.
Having arranged trips here in the past for journalists and my Instagrammer buddy George the Explorer, I was intrigued to see first hand where the best lobster in Normandy is to be found. Having grown up a few miles from the heart of England, every time I see the sea, I get a childishly happy feeling and want to rush in and paddle, whatever the time of year. So the idea of all that sea on an island which is 7km long by 5km wide made me seriously giddy with delight!
I have to admit, I was not up early enough to catch sight of the fishermen bringing in the lobster pots, but I did take some photos! Lobster fishing in and around the Chausey archipelago is a long-held tradition and the perilous waters and rocky inlets around the 365 islands at low tide and 52 at high tide, are perfect for lobsters to breed. The blue lobster, known locally as Chausey lobster, is a beautiful indigo colour and a paragon of natural design.
The Hôtel du Fort et des Iles restaurant offers a special five-course menu with foie gras to start and baked lobster with a rich sauce at 79 euros. This was my holiday treat. I tucked in cheerfully while my husband looked on enviously. I did however graciously share a claw plus a glass or two of white Burgundy. You can also opt for a half lobster with baked potato and salad on the lunchtime menu at a reasonably priced 24 euros.
Once the day-trippers have left, the island comes into its own and you can set off to explore the fort and the beaches. As a nature reserve, there is oodles of wildlife to see and the local guide can take you on a trip to meet the local flora and fauna.
Another option is to join Franck Voidie on his yacht at Granville marina and set sail for Chausey on a half-day cruise with gourmet picnic included. Here is a taster of Franck the skipper in action in this video with some excellent shots of the archipelago and a few words of French, bien sûr:
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourist Board website.
Cover photo: © George the Explorer | Text: Alison Weatherhead