If you’ve never heard of this small town in Normandy, you’re probably not alone.
The people of France just voted the small coastal town of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, located about a 30-minute drive northwest of Utah Beach in Normandy, the country’s favorite village as part of the annual TV show Le Village Préféré des Français.
With a population of around 2,000, Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue is a scenic port town that most people outside of France probably haven’t heard of before today despite its close proximity to the westernmost beach where Allied troops landed during the D-Day Invasion 75 years ago. But there are several reasons why it’s worth taking note of this beautiful village.
Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue is home to one of the oldest oyster basins in Normandy, so seafood lovers will enjoy dining on the local delicacies in town. But even if you don’t eat shellfish, you can explore Maison Gosselin, a gourmet grocery store that was founded in 1889 and still sells house-made jams, cookies, and more to take home as souvenirs.
A small island called Tatihou is also part of the town. During low tide it is accessible by foot from the mainland, but you can catch an amphibious boat there during high tide. There are also two 17th-century towers—one on Tatihou Island and one on the mainland—to explore. Both towers belong to the Fortifications of Vauban UNESCO World Heritage site, which is a network of 12 sites around France built by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, King Louis XIV’s military engineer.
Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue beat out 13 other villages to win the title. The medieval town of Pont-Croix in Brittany took second place, and the island of Terre-de-Haut in the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe came in third.
This article originally appeared online on June 25, 2018; it was updated on June 26, 2019, to include current information