Frankly, I had never heard of this town, or had just ignored it over the years as I drove along the northern coasts, but I decided to make a brief stop there on Sunday as I was going from point A to point B since I had some extra time on my hands. All I knew -- from reading the road signs -- was that it had a cité médievale to be visited. So I drove into Saint Valery-sur-Somme and parked in front of the church. One thing that tipped me off to the fact that this town was an authentic tourist attraction was that it was clearly marked that payment was due for parking "including Sundays and holidays." You only see this in places that are invaded by tourists. Well, when I arrived the lot was mostly empty so I didn't pay.
The medieval town is up on the cliffs, so there is an overlook down to the Baie de Somme.
I followed the clearly marked tourist trail.
Jeanne d'Arc was kept here by her English captors just before being taken to Rouen for the barbecue.
The bay always makes me think of quicksand.
This is a hotel with 5 rooms according to the sign.
The lower town has most of the "tourist services."
There was some soft of market along the waterfront, but I could hear the merchandise screaming "I'm just tourist junk!" so I went the other way.
These tourists had already lost interest in rowing their boat. Only the employees were rowing.
You could hear the commentary blaring from the loudspeakers on this boat.
I had not planned to go down to beach level.
I had to climb the cliff all the way back up.
One last look down, and then I retrieved my car. The parking lot was now overflowing, so I see why they make people pay.
I was thinking the British history books must give a passing mention to this town, not just to celebrate doing away with Jeanne d'Arc but also it is from the port of this village that William the Conquerer left France to go and conquer England. And the rest is history...
Actually, one of my sisters-in-law had a job based in Amiens in the 1980s, but was into windsurfing so bought herself a little house in Le Crotoy, the poor relative of Ste Valéry. She even had vague plans of retiring there but after a few weeks of rain decided to stay in Paris.
The beaches are not sand (or quicksand), but mud. It's the estuary of the Somme River, so really not pleasant to walk on when the tide is out. Not to mention all the locals walking their dogs there, fully justifying the name "crotoy". (For you non-French speakers, a "crotte" is a turd).
Well, thanks for this anyway -- I haven't been there for a long time and had completely forgotten what it looked like.
Nice little report k2. The brickwork/stonework is remarkable, ranging from quite artistic to downright shambolic. I wonder if some of the rather odd variations in walls are the result of rebuilding and repairs down the centuries? The effects of the invention of high explosives certainly have left their mark all over the northern parts of France.