From beginning to end, the mesmerizing Mont-Saint-Michel and its towering abbey will be within sight, except for those memorable gastronomic gaps and other spectacular sites that dot your route, such as the fishing port of Cancale and medieval Saint-Malo. We have kept the mileage to a minimum to better enable you to visit and savour this tour's extraordinary sites and soak up the relaxing and refreshing rural life of this part of France.
Day 1: La Gouesnière (Cancale)
Upon arriving in La Gouesnière you’ll be ushered to the beautiful Maison Tirel-Guerin. This three-star hotel, which has been managed by the same family for more than 100 years, blends tradition with upscale pizzazz, delivering an immediate wow-factor to your tour. Amenities include spa, sauna and massage service. The onsite restaurant, which specializes in local fare, is hailed as one of the area’s finest. After settling in, the hotel staff will outfit you with bikes, maps and all other pertinent information for your tour. If needed, you can call your guide at any time.
Note: La Gouesnière Cancale can easily be accessed by train from Paris.
Day 2: Loop around Saint-Malo (45 kilometers or 28 miles)
Today you’ll experience more photo opportunities than Paris has cafes. The ride begins in Cancale, a picturesque fishing village located along the Bay of Mont St-Michel’s western shore. Each year Cancale harvests 25,000 tons of oysters, rightfully earning it the title of “Oyster Capital of Brittany.” From here you’ll pedal north to Pointe du Grouin, a narrow slice of land that juts into the sea like an arthritic thumb. Besides being famous for photo opportunities, this scenic perch, where cliffs meet sea, also serves as the finish line for the trans-Atlantic Jacque Cartier yacht race. You’ll then pedal west along a winding coastal road (imagine France’s version of California’s Pacific 1 highway) in full view of the Channel Islands. We’ll recommend several beaches in case the urge for a swim beckons. Whether you swim or not, keep your eyes alert for surfacing dolphins, common visitors to these waters. In the afternoon you’ll eventually reach the famous walled city of Saint-Malo. Dating back to the 6th century, Saint-Malo offers history, architecture and the greatest concentration of seafood restaurants in all of Europe. We strongly recommend taking advantage of its many culinary offerings. You’ll lodge for a second night at La Maison Tirel-Guerin.
Day 3: Cancale to Dinan (30 or 42 km; or 10 or 26 miles)
Today you’ll follow the Rance River south into Brittany’s historic countryside. The width of the Rance creates the sense of riding along an inland coast, prompting wonder if it’s actually a river or a frustrated lake. Eventually the Rance narrows, and when it does you’ll know you’re close to Dinan, your home for the night. Nestled along the banks of the Rance River, Dinan is recognized as one of the most beautiful towns in all of France. Narrow cobblestone streets framed by half-timbered homes accented with overflowing flower boxes are the norm rather than the exception. Every street, every corner, every view is picture-worthy. Open-air bistros are many, giving you plenty of options for enjoying Brittany’s legendary cuisine. We’ll provide dining suggestions to help with your decision. Your hotel, located inside a 16th century building, is located in the center of town, providing out-the-door access to everything Dinan has to offer.
Day 4: Dinan to Pontorson (58 kilometers or 36 miles)
Today you’ll pedal east across Brittany’s famous countryside. Riding along quiet country roads, you’ll bicycle through a setting of absolute pastoral calm: gently rolling hillsides checkered with lush meadows and thick forests, interrupted only by duck-filled ponds and tiny villages steeped with that special something that causes sound-minded people to consider quitting their jobs and relocating here under the promise of living life right. Eventually you’ll wheel into Pontorson, located just 10 kilometers south of Mont Saint-Michel along the Brittany-Normandy border. This ancient village dates back to the 12th century and features several architectural gems including the church of Notre-Dame.
Day 5: Pontorson to Mont Saint-Michel to Dol-de-Bretagne (45 kilometers or 28 miles)
The day begins with a visit to Mont Saint-Michel, one of the most popular attractions in all of Europe. Perched atop a tiny island in the Gulf of Saint-Malo, this UNESCO World Heritage site is so over-the-top spectacular it resembles something spawned from the mind of a Hollywood set designer with an unlimited budget. The 30-minute pedal from Pontorson will allow you to arrive early, ahead of the crowds. Give yourself at least two hours to explore Benedictine Abbey, which is to Romanesque architecture as the Tour de France is to bike racing. And so as to maximize your visit, we’ll provide you with a few insider tips on how best to explore Mont-Saint Michel. After lunch you’ll ride west, pedaling through Brittany’s polder landscape. Along the way you’ll pass one of the region’s largest menhirs (tall, Neolithic stone monuments cloaked with Stonehenge-like mystery) before arriving in Dol-de-Bretagne, the final stop on your tour. This venerable village is a monument to varying styles of medieval architecture. Half-timber homes are many, as are ancient stone buildings, including Les Petits Palets, the oldest stone-built house in France. And the Cathedral of Saint Samson, which towers over the village, enjoys iconic-like status.
Day 6: Departure
The tour concludes after breakfast. Your hotel is conveniently located within a five-minute walk from the train station.
Price: From 730 euros per person sharing a room.
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Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Sightseeing
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