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IN PICTURES: Discover the Normandy village crowned France’s ‘favourite’

Every year the French are asked to choose their favourite village from a selection of 14. Here's a look at this year's winner - a stunning coastal beauty in the north west of France.

IN PICTURES: Discover the Normandy village crowned France's 'favourite'
Photo: Manche Departement/Twitter
Viewers of the programme “Le Village préféré des Français” on France2 are asked each year to decide on their favourite village in France out of a selection of 14 contenders.
 
This year Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, with 1,779 inhabitants in the La Manche department of Normandy has been crowned favourite.  
 
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“I do not know if it will be the favorite village of the French but what I already know is that it is the most beautiful!” Yves Villeneuve, the village butcher, told Le Parisien before he found out the good news. 
 
And the result clearly went down well with the locals, known as Saint-Vaastais. Check out the video in the tweet below which shows the moment they found out their village was the country's favourite
 

 

Located on the east coast of the Cotentin, the village of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue in north west France is described as a land of sailors, and at low tide, the oyster beds provide a link between the French mainland and another jewel: the island of Tatihou, a unique point of view for painters for more than two centuries.

The traditional Norman boats in the harbour and the picturesque narrow streets, as well as a path to the lighthouse make Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue a wonderful place to visit. 
 

 
The village's famous oysters are sold in France as well as exported.
 
Saint-Vaast is the Norman name of Saint Vedast and Hougue is a Norman word meaning a 'mound' or 'loaf', which comes from the Old Norse word haugr.
 
The village is also home to the Tour Vauban de La Hougue (see photo below) which stands at the entrance to the small harbor and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
 

 
And if you do pay a visit to this year's 'favourite village' you are unlikely to be the only tourist in town, with popular hotels, restaurants and campsites dotted around the village, which has been designated with the official title of 'tourist town' since April 2017. 
 
On top of that, the winner of the title of France's favourite village normally sees the winner benefit from an influx of visitors the following year so the Saint-Vaastais can look forward to a busy year.
 
Map: Google
 
Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue succeeds Cassel, a village just a few minutes drive from the Belgian border, which won the title last year.
 
Previously the winners have been concentrated in Brittany, Alsace in the east and Occitanie in the south west.

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Tell us: How strict are French border checks

We know there are a lot of rules in place right now for travel into France - but just how strictly are these being enforced in reality? If you have recently travelled to France, share your experiences with us.

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Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Depending where you are travelling from, entry to France can now require a vaccination certificate, negative Covid test, health declaration and proof of the essential nature of your journey.

Meanwhile for arrivals from the UK, post-Brexit rules are in place for everything from passports to pets, visas to sandwiches.

But just how strict are the checks being done on the ground?

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