Saint-Pois is a small but a very vibrant village located in the Manche region of Normandy. It is perfectly placed, being approximately 20/25 minutes, between the larger towns of Avranches and Vire. It is also a shorter drive, less than 10 minutes, to the medium sized town of Brécey
For a small village it has all the amenities that you could ask for and more. Saint-Pois has it all! Given that it has a population of less than 600 inhabitants it is somewhat impressive for a small French village like this. The inhabitants are also a mix of differing nationalities which makes it a surprisingly cosmopolitan village!
There is a boulangerie, boucherie, restaurant, bar tabac, post office within the Mairie, cash point machine, large pharmacy, mini supermarket for all those forgotten items and a self service petrol station. You can also buy your gas bottles from this local supermarket.
Also impressive, is it has a dedicated nurse’s surgery which is open 7 days a week. You can visit there without an appointment from 6.30pm but for early morning appointments (for blood tests etc) you will require an appointment. It also has a doctor’s surgery with 3 doctors and a large pharmacy – all in the same place. This makes it a one stop shop for all your medical requirements. The nearest hospital would be Avranches and the well used Notre Dame clinic at Vire, where you can go for all manner of specialist appointments.
The Comité des Fêtes (the organisation that runs events and is very active in Saint-Pois) puts on events throughout the year, notably the Fête Saint-Louis which is held every other year. This involves a parade of vintage cars and has a party atmosphere which starts in the day and goes well into the early hours with live music, food and an outdoor disco finished by fireworks.
You will also find a large yearly Vide Grenier (car boot sale) in October, Fête de la Musique (a national event held throughout France) and more recently they organised a soap box race ‘Caisse à Savon’ where the homemade cars are released at the top of the main high street for several runs and brought back up by one of the many tractors that are available in Normandy! This has become a very popular event throughout many villages in this area of Normandy.
All around Saint-Pois there are wonderful bridle paths so you can easily get off the beaten track, coming across streams and mini cascades. As you head out of Saint-Pois towards Brécey, you may notice someone has parked and is utilising the ‘source’ by filling up various bottles of water. This is natural spring water and is perfectly drinkable. Just to the left of this source, you will see one of the many bridle paths that takes you into the woods and beyond.
You can walk around the old Château (heading out of Saint-Pois towards Saint-Michel-de-Montjoie) and in the opposite direction towards Cuves, if you turn right by the local international company of Plastimetal (which makes plastic products for top make-up brands like Dior, Chanel etc) and continue, there is another beautiful walk along the stream. In any event, you can find all the various rambling routes at the Mairies and join a rambling club that regularly meet up.
The town also has many leisure activities you can join. There is a rugby club for both juniors and adults – this has proved very popular and had a recent visit from the French Rugby Association to support this great initiative for such a small village.
You can also join a table tennis club and there is a gym that you can access during set times and days in the week. So there are many ways in which you can integrate yourself within the local community.
There is a pre-school and a local primary school which was named after an American world war two veteran (sadly passed) who would come to Saint-Pois for the VE day commemorations – Jack Port. A little further in Brécey you have a sports collège and the local lycée for Saint-Pois is in Mortain or Avranches.
Saint-Pois is associated with Villedieu Intercom who provide the rubbish collections and all manner of services eg. grants for home insulation, local services etc. We have written about Villedieu-les-Poêles recently. It is also near Saint-Michel-de-Montjoie home to the granite museum. You cannot fail to notice the stunning works of art as you drive through this village and it also has lovely bridle paths, one of which has a hidden chapel – Chapelle des Nouettes.
“This chapel was built in memory of Pierre Lesage, the commune’s sacristan, who served mass to a refractory priest during the French Revolution.
From then on, Pierre Lesage’s life was entirely devoted to protecting unofficial priests. He helped them to go into hiding, and the man who came to be known as “Le Père les Nouettes” became the leader of a whole network of confessors of the faith, bearing witness to the Christian vitality of the region in the throes of the Revolution.
Next to the chapel stands the statue of Saint Clare, where the faithful come to draw water that is said to help cure eye diseases. At each pilgrimage, the priest blesses the water and pilgrims take home bottles of this so-called miraculous water. At the end of the ceremony, the municipality offers a glass of friendship.”
Finally, just a few minutes drive from Saint-Pois you have a well know high quality restaurant called Le Moulin de Jean which many go to for that special occasion.
We hope you enjoyed this little insight into the thriving town of Saint-Pois.