Day 1: Arrival in Bayeux
Upon arriving you’ll be escorted to your hotel in Bayeux, a historical town of cobblestone streets, timber houses and enough history to fill seven months of programming on the History Channel. There are many must-see sites in Bayeux, including the Bayeux Tapestry (one of the planet’s most celebrated scrolls of linen cloth). Stretching 69 meters (226 feet), this tapestry (which dates back to the 11th century) depicts the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 58 scenes. The Cathédrale Notre Dame, a massive gothic showcase dating back to the 13th century, also warrants attention. After settling in, one of our representatives will hand out your tour packets and answer all questions.
Day 2: Bayeux to Bayeux (58 kilometers/36 miles with 407 meters or 1335 feet of climbing)
Today you’ll pedal north to Normandy’s famed coast, stopping first at “Arromanches”. Built by the allies during World War II, this manmade harbor served as a strategic landing point. Over a three-month span following D-Day, Arromanches facilitated the arrival of 2.5 million troops and 500,000 vehicles. Nearby Arromanches nests the Longues-sur-Mer battery. Located in between the landing beaches of Omaha and Gold, this four-gun, concrete-protected artillery battery, was part of Germany’s Atlantic Wall coastal fortification. You’ll then pedal through the Aure Valley to Omaha Beach, one of D-Day’s most important battle sites. Located upon the overlooking bluffs, in the village of Colleville-Sur-Mer, you’ll find the equally beautiful and moving Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. From here, you’ll return to Bayeux.
Day 3: Bayeux to Benouville (55 kilometers/34 miles with 274 meters or 899 feet of climbing)
You’ll pedal along the Seulles River to the coastal village of Courseulles, home to the Juno Beach Cultural Center and World War II Museum. Consisting of seven exhibit rooms, the center honors Canada’s role in the war through a vast collection of photos, maps, artifacts and videos. If you feel so inclined, you can also visit the town’s Sea Center (Maison de la Mer), which champions the area’s famous oyster beds. Next, you’ll ride to the Chateau de Fontaine-Henry. This stately mansion bears the rare distinction of being one of the only chateaux in France to be continuously occupied by the same family, spanning more than 900 years. Then it’s on to Pegasus Bridge, site of where six British gliders carrying 181 men landed just after midnight on June 6, 1944, which signaled the start of the Normandy Invasion. You’ll lodge at night in Benouville, located along the Caen Canal.
Day 4: Benouville to Beuvron-en-Auge (50km/31 miles with 313 meters or 1027 feet of climbing)
Today you’ll pedal southeast. Along the way you’ll wheel through the marshes of Dives, the aquatic bird kingdom’s version of New York City. Thousand of birds reside here, including herons, moorhens, mallards, storks, coots and great crested grebes. Continuing on, you’ll reach Pays d’Auge, a hobbit-like region of thatched cottages and half-timbered homes, tucked among the folds of green rolling hills checkered with apple and pear orchards. You’ll stop in Beuvron en Auge, your home base for the next two nights (classified as “one of the most beautiful villages of France”). Be sure to sample the area’s specialties- cider and calvados (apple brandy). And then it’s on to Cambremer, your home base for the next two nights.
Day 5: 3 Options: Loop around Beuvron-en-Auge (41, 54, or 77 kilometers/ 25, 33, or 47 miles)
Your ride today will lead you through classic Normandy: stretching orchards, folkloric type villages, and sweeping green meadows with herds of grazing dairy cows and tail-swishing horses. The Chateau of Crevecoeur will be the day’s first stop. Surrounded by a moat, this shockingly well-preserved wood-framed chateau gives the feeling that a Renaissance festival will break out at any second. You’ll then pedal into Saint-Julien-le-Faucon for lunch, before continuing on to the Chateau of Coupesarte. Riders who opt for the longer ride will also visit the chateau of Saint-Germain-de-Livet. Surrounded by a moat, this chateau was built in the 1500s and features an impressive collection of Renaissance murals.
Day 6: Beuvron-en-Auge to Honfleur (46 kilometers/28 miles with 527 meters or 1729 feet of climbing)
You’ll ride east today and cross the Touques River at Le Breuil en Auge. Here, within the narrow streets of this sleepy village, you’ll have the chance to sample more of the region’s five-star cider and calvados. You’ll then continue into Blangy-le-Chateau, a small village centered around a small square with a gurgling fountain, and then, eventually into Honfleur. This picturesque port town is considered the birthplace of impressionism. Over the years its slate-covered buildings have served as the creative muse for some of the world’s greatest painters, including Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet and Eugéne Boudin.
Day 7: Departure or additional night in Honfleur
Loop around Honfleur (3 options: 26, 46, or 63 kilometers/ 22, 29, or 39 miles)
Today's loop will follow the coast, passing great examples of Anglo-Norman architecture, as you ride into the twin seaside resort towns of Trouville and Deauville. Trouville duals as a working fishing port, while Deauville is France’s northern version of Cannes, attracting celebrities, the well-to-do and even a popular American film festival. On the return you’ll visit the Chateau of William the Conqueror, an imposing edifice built in the 12th and 13th centuries atop a rocky spur. From here you’ll ride back to Honfleur via the Saint-Gatien Forest. If you decide on pedaling the longer ride, this loop will also include a visit to Manoir des Eveques. Located in Canapville, this sprawling structure ranks as one of the largest half-timbered buildings in the region.
Two options are offered for this trip:
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Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring