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Cotentin Peninsula.jpg
The Cotentin Peninsula
Geographical location
Cotentin (France)
Coordinates 49 ° 30 ′ 0 ″  N , 1 ° 30 ′ 0 ″  W Coordinates: 49 ° 30 ′ 0 ″  N , 1 ° 30 ′ 0 ″  W
Waters 1 English Channel

The Cotentin is a French peninsula on the English Channel . It is located in the Manche department in the region of Normandy .


The peninsula was named after the place Coutances .


Most of the Cotentin belongs to the Manche department , and to the east also to the Calvados department . In the south the peninsula borders on the Avranchin landscape around the city of Avranches , in the east on the Bessin . The largest city on the Cotentin is Cherbourg-en-Cotentin . Other places on the Cotentin include Coutances , Barfleur , Saint-Lô , Bricquebec , Granville , Barneville-Carteret , Carentan and Valognes .

The Cotentin consists of the natural spaces:

The Cotentin peninsula used to be almost an island. Only a narrow strip of land near the Lessayer Heiden connected the Cotentin with the mainland. Thanks to the so-called portes à flot , which close at high tide and open at low tide and which were built on the Baie des Veys , but also on the west coast (e.g. in Portbail ), the Cotentin has become a peninsula.

Transport links

The Cotentin can be reached via the RN13 .

The Cotentin is connected to the railway network with the Paris-Saint-Lazare-Caen-Cherbourg and Paris-Montparnasse-Argentan-Granville railway lines. The Lison – Lamballe railway connects Caen with Rennes and thus Normandy with Brittany . The museum train, Train Touristique du Cotentin , runs a short distance along the coast in the summer months .

Sea routes: to Cherbourg roadstead


Cape of Jobourg in La Hague , where the oldest rocks in France are exposed.

Geologically , the Cotentin peninsula belongs mainly to the Armorican massif (except for the Plain , which belongs to the Paris Basin ) and is more like Brittany than the eastern part of Normandy . In the Plain, clayey limestone from the Sinemurian predominates .

In Jobourg the oldest rocks of France come to digestion . Granites are exposed on the coast, namely Cadomian granites in Auderville and Variscan granites in Flamanville on the one hand and in Fermanville and Barfleur on the other. In the Cotentin, the headlands correspond to the harder rocks (granite, gneiss and sandstone). There are bays where the softer rocks lie:

The Côte des Havres lies between the Cape of Carteret and the Cape of Granville . In the north-west there are two dunes: one between Siouville-Hague and Vauville , and one north of Carteret in Les Moitiers-d'Allonne . In the east lies the Baie de Seine , with the Baie des Veys in the southeast.


The La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant with the adjoining Center de Stockage de la Manche and the Flamanville nuclear power plant are well known . Two large substations were built in L'Étang-Bertrand and Tollevast .

Biogas is produced in the Éroudeville waste treatment plant .

There are wind farms in Baudreville , Clitourps , Sortosville-en-Beaumont , Saint-Jacques-de-Néhou and Auvers-Méautis . The tidal force can be developed in the Strait of Alderney , as well as in the Raz de Barfleur at Pointe de Barfleur.

As part of the development of renewable energies, especially tidal power, an HVDC connection is planned between England and L'Étang-Bertrand , which could land in Siouville-Hague .


In 867, Charles the Bald ceded the Cotentin, together with the Avranchin, to Salaün , King of Brittany , by the Treaty of Compiègne . Shortly thereafter, however, Norwegian Vikings invaded and settled, while Danish Vikings settled in neighboring Normandy. In 933, Cotentin was reunited with the Duchy of Normandy William I. Due to the Scandinavian influence on toponymy (and to a lesser extent patronymy) in Normandy, and particularly in the Cotentin, British researchers drew blood from hundreds of residents of the Cotentin peninsula in June 2015 to study the Scandinavian settlement in Normandy. The results should be known in 2016.

The port of Barfleur was the favorite port of the Anglo-Norman kings

When the then 19-year-old Duke Wilhelm was staying in Valognes in 1047 , he was warned of a conspiracy by the knights of Western Normandy who refused to recognize his rule. He fled south-east and crossed the Baie des Veys that night . For fear of being recognized, he avoided the cities. He arrived in the Bayeux area , where he was received by a loyal knight and led by his sons to Falaise . He asked the French King Henry I for help. Together with the French army, he won the battle of Val-ès-Dunes , near Caen . Nevertheless, a Norman knight from the Cotentin managed to knock the French king off his horse with his lance. The king got off lightly. This gave rise to a proverb that was long used with pride between Coutances and Cherbourg: ( African De Cotentin issit la lance qui abattit le roi de France. From the Cotentin came the lance that knocked the French king down).

Robert (or Adam) de Bruis, a Norman knight who moved to England with William the Conqueror, was born in Brix . He became the ancestor of the Bruce clan , which provided two kings in Scotland. Tankred von Hauteville from Hauteville-la-Guichard founded a kingdom in southern Italy .

The Hundred Years War began on July 12, 1346 with the landing of an invading army of the English King Edward III. of 15,000 men in the bay of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue . The fortresses of Saint-Vaast, built by Vauban , have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since July 2008 .

In the east of the peninsula, the invasion beaches of World War II begin with Utah Beach near Carentan . The parachute jump took place in Sainte-Mère-Église . On June 6, 1944, D-Day , the Allied invasion of Normandy began on the eastern beaches of the peninsula .


A café next to Cherbourg  : Le Rô d'la Mé ( nrm . : sound of the breaking waves).
Guernésiais BBC Sticker Learn Guernésiais with the BBC .

The Cotentin lies north of the Joret Line, which separates the northern areas of the Langues d'oïl (practically Norman and Picard) from the southern areas of the Langues d'oïl.

Because of its remoteness, the Cotentin has known how to maintain its culture. The Norman language is considered extinct in the rest of Normandy , only surviving in the Cotentin. In a highly centralized state like France, the Cotentinais (Norman language in the Cotentin) is also threatened with extinction. The language in Jersey is called Jèrriais and in Guernsey it is Guernésiais . The Auregnais in Alderney has long been extinct. The three dialects are of course very closely related. Paradoxically, Jerriais and Guernésiais could survive longer as Jersey and Guernsey enjoy greater independence.

Channel Islands

The Cotentin of Jersey as seen from

To the west of the peninsula, beyond the Passage de la Déroute , lie the Channel Islands of Alderney , Guernsey , Sark , Jersey and other smaller islands , which belong to the British Crown . Alderney is only 15 kilometers from the mainland coast. The islets of Minquiers and Ecréhous are only 10 km from Barneville-Carteret, but British. The Îles Saint-Marcouf and Tatihou in the east, Île Pelée in the north, and the Îles Chausey belonging to Granville are French.

Web links

Commons : Cotentin  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Les Parcs Naturels Régionaux. Editions Gallimard, ISBN 2-7424-0573-9 , p. 176.
  2. ^ Patrimoine hydraulique: les portes à flot. ( Memento of the original from March 29, 2014 in the web archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (French) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ Geology of the Cotentin (French).
  4. Landscapes website Lithothèque de Normandie (French).
  5. Guide geologique Normandie Maine. 2nd Edition. Editions Dunod, ISBN 2-10-050695-1 , p. 75.
  6. Bay of Écalgrain and Bay of Cul-Rond Website Lithothèque de Normandie (French)
  7. Cadomic Granite Website Lithothèque de Normandie .
  8. Alain Foucault: Guide du geologue amateur. Editions Dunod, ISBN 978-2-10-049959-5 , p. 182.
  9. ^ François Michel: Le tour de France d'un géologue. Editions Delachaux et Niestlé, ISBN 978-2-603-01546-9 , pp. 36 and 37.
  10. [1] (in French).
  11. Réseau de transport d'électricité ( Memento des original of December 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (in French).  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. "Aujourd'hui en France " newspaper published on June 16, 2015. See page 11.
  13. ^ Marc Morris: The Norman Conquest. Windmill books, 2013, ISBN 978-0-09-953744-1 , pp. 56-58.
  14. Les fortifications Vauban inscrites au patrimoine mondial ( Memento of the original dated August 13, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , , July 7, 2008.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. ^ Joret-Linie website Wikimanche (in French).