It is time to embark on a discovery of the Normandy countryside by bike on this fascinating cycling holiday. Your tour starts Bayeux which is home of the famous Bayeux Tapestry which depicts the time leading up to the Norman conquest of England. It is also the home of the largest British war cemetery of the 2nd World War with over 4600 graves. Bayeux was also the first French city to be liberated when the allied forces landed on the Normandy beaches on 16 June 1944. This wonderful cycling holiday will take you from Bayeux in the west eastwards towards Rouen, during the tour you shall see much varied landscapes and towns with stunning architecture. You will, of course, see the famous landing beaches, where you can sit quietly and try to imagine what it must have been like for young servicemen liberating France. You shall come across old Normand Abbeys, interesting museums and of course taste the best cheeses, cider and Calvados which are so famous in this region.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Cycling that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.
During the day, arrive at the interesting town of Bayeux. You must find some time to visit the famous tapestry, the cathedral, and of course the commonwealth war museum, which are all located in the centre of the town. Take a walk around the streets and explore the wonderfully preserved old part of the town. Bayeux was the Allies headquarters soon after the landing consequently Bayeux was not bombed and is therefore extremely well preserved,
Heading out from Bayeux and the commonwealth memorial, we head north-west by bike to Omaha beach and the chance to visit the American war cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer. After your sombre visit, you return by bike to Bayeux passing the lovely typical fishing village of Port-en-Bessin. A longer option takes you further to “Pointe du Hoc” near Grandcamp-Maisy.
Today you start by following the narrow Aure Valley until you reach the coast at Longues-sur-Mer, you shall see the main German Battery right on the cliff of the Gold beach. Now it’s a short downhill to the famous artificial harbour of Arromanches. Here, Juno Beach and the Canadian Museum is right on the beach. Courseulles-sur-Mer is a great place for sea food should you wish to take lunch here. After your visit to the Canadian war cemetery of Reviers, you follow the little Mue valley until the Village of Fontaine-Henry. Here you can visit the Chateaux should you wish. Now you cycle eastwards to reach Benouville on the Orne Valley. You can spend the evening by the famous Pegasus Bridge on the Orne Canal, this was the landing target of the British parachutes forces and where the ‘longest day’ really started from!
Cycling away from the Pegasus Bridge, you soon reach Ranville, the first liberated town of the British 13th Parachute Battalion. You the ride towards the coast and the last site of D-Day; the Merville battery! You can continue along the coast a little until Cabourg where yu can maybe stop for lunch. After that, you cycle eastward to hit the first slope of the Pays d’Auge plateau. In a short distance, you reach the market town of Troarn the Marsh on the Dives River and continue to the exquisite village of Beuvron-en-Auge.
The first section today takes you through some of the prettiest Normandy landscapes of rolling hills, apple orchards and fields with the local spotted cows! Eventually, you reach the village of Beaumont-en-Auge which will make for a perfect stop for lunch in a local restaurant. The slightly longer option will take you to the larger village of Cambremer. You now continue until you reach the coast at Deauville-sur-Mer where you can admire some of the Anglo-Norman architecture. You follow the coast to Honfleur which is brimming with art and history. On the south bank of the estuary of the Seine river, Honfleur was a strategic port before becoming an important trading harbour in the 16th century. During the 17th century, Honfleur was the starting point for many navigators of the new world, Brazil, Newfoundland, Quebec were all discovered from here. Its rich past is very well preserved, its churches, old port, belltower, warehouses, 4 and 5 hundred years old buildings, cobblestone streets all too small for cars…. A real treasure to explore.
Today you follow the Seine Estuary to the east and until you arrive at an area known for its thatch roof buildings. The longer option takes you into the nature of the “Vernier Marsh”
You now progress inland on quiet country roads along the Risle River until the pretty town of Pont d’Audemer. You continue further along the Risle valley before you reach the old village of Le Bec Hellouin and its well-maintained 12th-century abbey which is one of the great Norman Abbeys where you can visit.
This last ride can be short enough to allow you time to visit Rouen in the afternoon.
The morning ride is a mixture of farming land and forests to get to the market town of Bourg-Achard. A longer option would have first taken you to the chateau of Harcourt. Leaving Bourg-Achard, you have a wonderful 4kms downhill stretch which takes you to the Seine River at the little town of la Bouille. From here you cross the Seine River on one the barges. This is a free shuttle service run by the local council. You then approach the big city of Rouen on a very quiet road following the north side of the Seine River
Depart after breakfast.
By train from Paris and a short walk to the hotel once you arrive Bayeux. On departure a train from Rouen to your onward journey.
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