Courseulles-sur-Mer in the Normandy département of Calvados is a small fishing village a 20-minute drive from Caen, situated in the heart of the D-Day Landing Beaches. You might be more familiar with its code name: Juno Beach. Luckily for me, my parents live in Courseulles, so this is where I grew up. Now a bustling seaside town set around around a picturesque harbour, many tourists visit Courseulles in the summer to enjoy its beach, markets and, of course, its delicious fish!
One Sunday morning, I set off with my dad to visit the fish market which takes place every morning on the Quai des Alliés. With about 20 fishing boats, you have lots of choice when it comes to buying seafood in Courseulles. You can practically buy your fish from the boat, for the fishermen sell their catch as soon as they come into the harbour.
All year long, there is a great variety of fish and seafood to be found at the market – it all depends on the season and what fishermen have caught that day. You’ll be spoilt for choice between scallops, whelks, oysters, crab, shrimps, mussels and white fish galore!
During the autumn and winter season, there is less fish but more seafood. This time of year is prime scallop season and if you are into food festivals, don’t miss the Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques (Scallops and Seafood Festival) on 25-26 November.
If you are not into fish, you can also find oysters. There are oyster parks a mere two minutes away from the harbour at Aux régals de l’île, a business run by the Benoist family since 1955. This is where we order seafood platters for family get-togethers.
If you fancy sampling fish and seafood in style in Courseulles, most of the restaurants in town feature fresh local produce on the menu. La Crémaillère in particular boasts great sea views so be sure to stop off for a bite here; after all, what’s better than enjoying a fresh seafood platter while watching the sun go down over the sea?
History buffs can also visit the museum dedicated to the Canadian troops who landed at Courseulles on 6 June 1944 , the Juno Beach Center, which is well worth a visit.
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourist Board website.
Cover photo © L. Durand / Calvados Tourist Board | Text: Sévérine Frères