Bicycling Brittany and Normandy Plus! Bayeux and the D-Day Beaches

Bicycling Brittany and Normandy Plus! Bayeux and the D-Day Beaches

France's northwest coast with its rocky cliffs and sandy beaches is widely known for its pivotal role in WWII, but the region's strong cultural identity and historic significance dates back to ancient Celtic roots. Just a couple hundred miles south of English Westcountry, Brittany and Normandy are geographically similar-though warmer, sunnier and less populated-compared with coastal England, and share a history of war, commerce, migration and cultural exchange that predates the Roman Empire. This trip is perfect for anyone who wants to...
  • cross a drawbridge and emerge from a dungeon,
  • imbibe local calvados, chouchenn and pommeau,
  • traverse a causeway to the world's most famous tidal island fortress,
  • watch a giant church bell made by "deaf" artisans, or
  • touch history at Normandy's beaches.
***If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 11-days check out our 7-day Bicycling Brittany and Normandy tour.***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Jun 6-16, 2020
USD$4950
USD$650
Sold Out!
Aug 23-Sep 2, 2020
USD$4950
USD$650
Guaranteed to Go!

* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

Tour Style: Classic Book This Trip Now Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 11 Days
  • Total Distance / 486 km (302 miiles)
  • Avg. Distance / 61 km (38 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 2.5 Classic
  • Countries / France
  • Begin/End / Saint-Malo / Bayeux
  • Price / From USD$4950
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Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Saint-Malo, Port town of Cancale, Fort la Latte, Dinan - one of Brittany's best-preserved Medieval towns, 13th-century Château de la Hunaudaye, Mont Saint-Michel, Hambye Abbey, a beautiful Benedictine monastery , Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Bayeux, home to the famed Medieval tapestry commemorating the Norman Conquest of England in 1066

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    Air Conditioning is not common at hotels and is rarely needed in Brittany and Normandy.
  • Includes
    11 days, 10 nights' accommodation; 10 breakfasts, 6 dinners with wine; oyster tasting; guided visit of Dinan; guided visit of Mont Saint-Michel and its abbey; cider tasting; calvados tasting; and the usual (see below).

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Paris
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    48km / 387m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    3
    60km / 597m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    4
    54km / 582m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    5
    55km / 622m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    6
    68km / 380m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    7
    Rest day
    8
    76km / 743m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    9
    72km / 503m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    10
    54km / 422m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    11
    Last day

    Tour Level Note:

Terrain Legend

Gently rolling Gently rolling hills

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Saint-Malo

Highlights: Saint-Malo

As you approach the walled city of Saint-Malo, pause to appreciate its tactical position near the mouth of the English Channel, its sheer, fortified walls, and its vast tidal beaches. Saint-Malo is notorious for its independent streak, having harbored corsairs-French privateers and pirates-who acquired fortunes from passing ships. Tonight enjoy a walk of the ramparts, and the opportunity to explore the old town's citadel and cobbled streets before enjoying a sumptuous welcome dinner. Bike Fitting and Test Ride this afternoon.

DAY 2: Loop ride to Cancale

Highlights: Cancale

Inland Brittany is a secret world of winding paths, walled villages, granite cottages and serene churches. Our first stop will be the Ferme marine where we will learn all about oyster farming. Pedal leisurely through this storybook countryside, or crank up your cadence to spend more time exploring the colorful port town of Cancale and its many culinary delights from the sea. Treat yourself to a lunch of oysters, langoustines, crabs, or clams as you watch the sailboats. Or perhaps you'll head north to Pointe du Grouin, which marks the entrance into the Bay of Mont Saint Michel, before turning back toward Saint-Malo along rocky coastline and sandy beaches.

  • Distance: 48km (30mi)
  • Gain: 387m (1269ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Bicycle to Sables d'Or les Pins

Highlights: Dinard, Fort la Latte

Just when you thought Brittany's shoreline couldn't get more picturesque, you arrive at the breathtaking blue-green waters of the Côte d' Eméraude west of Saint-Malo. Here you'll ferry across the broad estuary of the Rance River to the charming resort town of Dinard, where generations of wealthy British vacationers have built magnificent villas. The ocean breeze is fresh and strong as you ride Cap Fréhel's soaring cliffs to the 14th-century Fort la Latte castle stronghold. This iconic fortress-complete with drawbridge, dungeons, turrets and sheer drop to the breaking waves-is fully restored and has been used in films including The Vikings (1958) starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis.

  • Distance: 60km (38mi)
  • Gain: 597m (1958ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Bicycle to Dinan

Highlights: La Hunaudaye Forest, Château de la Hunaudaye, Dinan

With the coast at your back, today's ride guides you south through Brittany's patchwork of farms, forests and rivers-home to the region's rich cultural heritage that tourists seldom experience. At the edge of La Hunaudaye Forest, you'll cross an impressive moat to explore the worn walls and secret corners of 13th-century Château de la Hunaudaye, a key example of Medieval architecture. We’ll then continue on to Dinan, one of Brittany's best-preserved Medieval towns

  • Distance: 54km (34mi)
  • Gain: 582m (1909ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 5: Loop ride around the Rance Estuary

Highlights: Guided tour of Dinan, Saint-Suliac

We'll have a guided tour of Dinan and explore its half-timbered homes, cobbled streets, ramparts and an attractive port on the Rance River, Dinan beckons visitors to shop its local craft boutiques, art galleries, workshops and cafés. You may wish to set out on foot, boat up the Rance Valley, or mount your bike and take a loop ride north along the Rance River estuary to Saint-Suliac and back. Riding from village to village, you'll see fishermen at work, and children at play.

  • Distance: 55km (34mi)
  • Gain: 622m (2040ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Bicycle to le Mont Saint-Michel

Highlights: Dol de Bretagne, First views of Mont Saint-Michel

The ride to Mont Saint-Michel awaits, but there's a lot to see and do before reaching the kilometer-long bridge to the island tomorrow. On the way to Normandy, stop for lunch in Dol de Bretagne and explore its Abbey, formerly the seat of one of nine ancient bishoprics of Brittany. Later in the day, notice the abrupt hill rising from the flat countryside surrounding the village of Mont-Dol-a geological twin to Saint-Michel to further whet your appetite. Finally, chalk arrows point your route along the edge of the bay, and your first views of the world-famous island abbey can be seen! The site was first chosen as a stronghold during the 6th century for its proximity to the mainland, its low-tide accessibility, and natural defensive features during high tide. It has been a monastery since the 8th century and is the subject of a 164 million euro project to remove accumulated silt and restore it to an island.

DAY 7: Mont Saint-Michel transfer to Villedieu-les-Pôeles

Highlights: Guided visit Mont Saint-Michel, bell factory

Though Mont Saint-Michel falls into the modern political region of Normandy, both Normans and Bretons have claimed it as their own. This and the island's other fascinating history is yours to savor this morning on a guided visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Mont Saint-Michel village and abbey. A historic town in interior Normandy with a fascinating and surprising history, Villedieu-les-Pôeles became a center of metal-work, having imported advanced coppersmithing techniques from the Middle East toward the end of the Crusades. Its inhabitants, still known as Sourdins (because repeated hammering of copper caused them to become deaf, or in French, sourd), were strong supporters of the French Revolution, and are still well known for the artisanal manufacture of large church bells at factories like the one you'll visit this afternoon. No cycling today as we shuttle to our Villedieu-les-Pôeles

DAY 8: Bicycle to Carentan

Highlights: Hambye Abbey, Carentan

The landscape in Normandy is impressively diverse, and today's ride gives you a little taste of everything. A warm-up on rolling hills and hedge-lined roads. Next, Normandy's swampy plains and vast bocage grazing lands dotted with the happy livestock and burgeoning produce behind the region's culinary specialties: Camembert cheese, brioche, calvados, cider, lamb, succulent chicken and duckling! Finally, the stately town of Carentan, ravaged by battle during WWII, was a strategic early goal in the Allied landings at Utah and Omaha beaches. Capture of Carentan was a key accomplishment in staging troops and establishing a continuous defensive line against expected German counterattacks.

  • Distance: 76km (48mi)
  • Gain: 743m (2437ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 9: Carentan to Bayeux

Highlights: Point du Hoc, Omaha Beach, American Cemetery, Bayeux

Allied Forces invaded German-occupied France on June 6, 1944 on the beaches just east of Carentan, and today you'll visit several sites and museums dedicated to honoring the memory of those who served. Regardless of your appreciation of military tactical history, chances are you'll find yourself moved by witnessing the landing sites, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, and by observing the German defenses still visible along the roadside. The day's ride ends in Bayeux, home to the famed Medieval tapestry commemorating the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Legend has it that the tapestry was designed and woven in England by Reine Mathilde, William the Conquerer's wife herself.

  • Distance: 72km (45mi)
  • Gain: 503m (1650ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 10: Normandy highlights loop ride

Highlights: Cider and calvados tasting, Arromanches artificial harbor, Longues German battery

Your first stop will be at one of the local producers of cider and calvados. After the visit you will taste some of their specialties. Then pedal onto Arromanches, where the allies built a temporary harbor so that heavy equipment could be unloaded prior to conquering a deep water port. In the final part of the loop you'll see the remaining of the impressive German defensive batteries in Longues. Save some time in the afternoon to view the incredible craftsmanship at the Musée de la Tapisserie in Bayeux.

  • Distance: 54km (34mi)
  • Gain: 422m (1384ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 11: Tour ends in Bayeux

Highlights: Bayeux

Our tour ends this morning in Bayeux. Enjoy the rest of your travels in France.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Saint-Malo

Lodging: Hotel Chateaubriand

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note: As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Rennes (RNS) Airport. Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is also a good option, with a 3-4.15 hour train ride away.

Flying into RNS:

  1. Taxi from the Rennes Airport to Rennes. (15 min/EUR 20)
  2. Train from Rennes to Saint-Malo. (less than 1 hour/fares vary)
  3. Taxi from Saint-Malo Train Station to Day 1 Hotel. (5-10 min/EUR 10) or walk along a main avenue with a bit of traffic but with a good sidewalk. See map

Look up French train schedules and book tickets, if necessary, at SNCF.com or Trainline.com. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

Day 11: Departure Information

Tour ends in Bayeux

Your tour ends on the final day after breakfast.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio.

We recommend flying out of Paris de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

  • The closest airport to the tour end is Caen (CFR), but you will need to connect through Paris or another hub for international flights. Book your home-bound flight for the next day.

Flying out of CDG:

  1. Taxi from the Ending Hotel to the Bayeux train station (5 min/EUR 10)
  2. Train from Bayeux to Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport. (4.5-6.5 hours/fares vary)

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Air Conditioning is not common at hotels and is rarely needed in Brittany and Normandy.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • Begin your chosen training program.
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike &Barge/Boat tours) prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two), one water bottle , and a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Wonderful scenery on back roads with very little traffic. Lots of history, especially the D Day beaches and the Bayeux tapestry.

    Marie K., Lincoln, MA - August 2019
  • Great scenery, D-day beaches and memorials were moving. Tapestry's were incredible.

    Rich V., Lincoln, MA - August 2019
  • It is a comprehensive tour of both regions, which are gorgeous as well as historic. And of course the food is superb!

    Nancy S., West Newton, MA - August 2019
  • Beautiful coastal riding including outstanding historical locations, Mt St Michel, and crepes!!!

    Sari R., Glastonbury, CT - August 2019
  • A wonderful mixture of lovely French countryside roads, history and culture.

    Diane C., Gabriola, BC, Canada - August 2019
  • Wonderful scenery on back roads with very little traffic. Lots of history, especially the D Day beaches and the Bayeux tapestry.

    Marie K., Lincoln, MA - August 2019
  • Great scenery, D-day beaches and memorials were moving. Tapestry's were incredible.

    Rich V., Lincoln, MA - August 2019
  • It is a comprehensive tour of both regions, which are gorgeous as well as historic. And of course the food is superb!

    Nancy S., West Newton, MA - August 2019
  • Beautiful coastal riding including outstanding historical locations, Mt St Michel, and crepes!!!

    Sari R., Glastonbury, CT - August 2019
  • A wonderful mixture of lovely French countryside roads, history and culture.

    Diane C., Gabriola, BC, Canada - August 2019
  • Great scenery, wonderful biking, great food. A wonderful trip. I really loved Saint Malo and Dinan. But I was blown away by Bayeux and the tapestry. A true highlight for me.

    Danielle R., Philadelphia, PA - June 2019
  • Beautiful scenery and great routes on many small roads. Plus the food for the most part was outstanding.

    Dedrick B., Atlanta, GA - June 2019
  • Great riding on quiet roads, good introduction to culture of the area (good cultural experiences provided), historical insights on both Brittany and Normandy, wonderful exposure to ancient towns, good food, good company, really good wine. Keep up the great work ! Love those arrows!

    Jill W., Rochester, MN - August 2018
  • Great riding in rolling countryside, interesting places to visit along the way.

    Richard R., Charles Town, WV - August 2018
  • We really enjoyed the trip, learned a lot about the region and were once again very satisfied with Experience Plus.

    Keneva K., Kopavogur, Iceland - August 2018
  • A great adventure. The balance between bike riding, eating, drinking, meeting new friends and learning about the history of the area was perfect. The difficulty of the rides was a bit over my head, but it didn''t distract from my enjoying the full experience. Great way to see France.

    Marianne W., South Strafford, VT - August 2018
  • Great combination of excellent biking, scenic and varied countryside and history.

    Marc R., Seattle, WA - August 2018
  • LOVE THE ARROWS!

    Lizz V., Sunnyvale, CA
  • It was a beautiful route and interesting towns. Lots of favorite spots. Very fond of ExperiencePlus! and the crew and the great trips.

    Ken C., Fredericksburg, TX
  • Great trip. Good team leaders, good route, food and wine were good.

    Bill D., Austin, TX
  • Mont St. Michael''s was visually awesome and I really enjoyed Saint-Malo. But also enjoyed the road (chalk) arrows. Great idea! So much easier than the sheets of paper.

    Karen F., Davis, CA
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? Hard to say there were so many, the ride itself, the bell factory, seeing the D-day beaches.

    Richard W., Davis, CA
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