The town has existed since Roman times, functioning mainly as a market town for the surrounding agricultural area.
Roads connect the town to other places on the peninsula: Cherbourg to the north, Saint-Lô to the east, Granville and Avranches to the south. Cherbourg has ferries from the UK and Ireland. From Avranches, roads go west to Saint-Malo and beyond or south to Rennes and beyond.
There is a fine Norman cathedral.
There is an annual jazz festival in the spring (normally the 1st week of Ascension).
- 1 E.Leclerc (Supermarket), 9027 Ave de la Division Leclerc, 50200 Coutances, ☎ . M-Th 09:00-19:30, F 09:00-20:00, Sa 09:00-19:15. To the N of the town
- 1 Municipal Les Vignettes, ☎ . Municipal camp site. Office times vary (from official published times). Open all year round.