Cycling in Normandy – Bayeux and Caen 1
This part of Normandy is probably best known in the UK for the Normandy landings, but it also has tremendous variety in the wonderful landscape that offers cyclists both flat and hilly routes.
This holiday starts in the port of Portsmouth. Daytime ferries enable us to ride every one of the four days to make a fantastic break (let us know if you want even longer). Here are just some of the things that you will enjoy:
- the attractive, airy town of Aunay-sur-Odon
- a half-day day ride through Caen with much of the riding on a smooth dedicated cycle path alongside the River Orne
- a day ride to Bayeux, with time to visit the tapestry or WWII sites
- supported cycling between the Caen ferry and your base in Aunay-sur-Odon (with luggage transferred for you)
- a day enjoying the amazing landscape of Suisse Normande, an area famed for its unique geology. We have both riverside routes and more undulating countryside to enjoy
We are based in one hotel and our trip offers three and a half guided days exploring the area – read more about cycling with us. This hidden gem in the North of France offers riverside paths, stunning gorges, the historic towns of Caen and Bayeux and the recent history of the Normandy Invasion. This holiday provides the perfect introduction to cycling along well-planned and manageable routes. But be warned – they can change you from an occasional cyclist to a confirmed addict! We adjust the pace to suit the group (usually 10 – 15 mph) and the aim is to look around and enjoy the views rather than stay head down and following a wheel.
The routes are planned to provide sightseeing time off the bikes as well as cycling, and although the itinerary has a suggested distance for each day, the exact route can be tailored to group needs during the week.
|Thursday 23 May 2019 – Sunday 26 May 2019||£575|
Aunay-sur-Odon grew at the crossroads between two trading routes in Gallo-Roman times. It was chosen to be one of the first towns to be rebuilt by the Marshall Plan after WWII, and care was taken to keep the typical style of the region. It regularly features in towns and villages in bloom and is a lovely place to visit.
It is ideally situated about 28km from both Bayeux and Caen, and close to the rocky area of Suisse-Normande.
The actual riding days described below will be varied to take advantage of local market days, events or attractions.
We meet at the ferry terminal in Portsmouth for the morning ferry to Ouistreham, near Caen. After a relaxing crossing we follow a waterside bike path (perfect tarmac surface!) to Caen via the famous Pegasus Bridge. The beautiful waterside path continues for another 10 miles before we enjoy some rolling hills as we ride into Aunay-sur-Odon, our base for the trip.
Total distance 40km, mainly flat terrain on a cycle path.
An undulating route takes us to the historic town of Bayeux via a number of wartime points of interest and some picturesque countryside. We are free to visit the older history of the tapestry or the more recent monuments and museums relating to the Second World War. Stronger riders may opt to spend 60 – 90 minutes riding to the coast to see the guns of Longues-su-Mer or the floating harbour at Arromanches.
Total distance 70km or 90km, undulating terrain.
The next day introduces you to the stunning scenery in Suisse Normande. We have a pocket full of meandering routes which we will put together to suit your needs during the trip. So whether you want a bias towards riverside relaxation or sampling every ascent (and in this area there are plenty to choose from!), we will help you fall in love with ‘little Switzerland’. Whichever routes you choose, the roads are well-surfaced and uncrowded. We set the pace to sit up and enjoy wonderful views and villages.
Total distance from 40 to 70km, undulating terrain.
Day five – Caen and riverside cycle path
This is a glorious route which starts in rolling hills and descends onto the new, long section of tarmac cycle path alongside the river Orne that we enjoyed on day one. There is adequate time to explore Caen, which has some fascinating attractions spanning centuries of history. We have a pleasant time exploring old streets or simply enjoying time to sit, drink and relax.
We then catch the later afternoon ferry and return to Portsmouth that evening.
Total distance up to 40 km or 60km, some limited undulating terrain.
We will be staying the whole time in one location, so there will be no need to unpack more than once during this holiday!
Our hotel is situated in the centre of Aunay-sur-Odon and we are staying on a half board basis (Dinner, Bed & Breakfast). You buy your lunches and the meal on the return ferry.
What is Included
We provide the location, equipment and know-how so that you can explore the area with guidance and flexible support. This break includes:
- return ferry Portsmouth – Ouistreham
- half board accommodation including one drink with your evening meal
- motorised support from a qualified mechanic
- a cycling guide
- pre-planned routes
- informative discussions and instruction from the guides on some evenings (see optional activities below)
People like our ‘relaxed cycling holidays’ because they are more than pedalling all day. We also offer free informal discussions on some evenings and a few visits to local attractions on some days. This is a guide to the optional activities that you can take part in. We let you know the full details of these options and costs where applicable nearer the date.
- the natural and human geography
- tips on improving your distance cycling skills
- better photographs from a small camera
- time to reflect (we offer life coaching skills for those looking for more personal insights)
- health spa visit or massage
- cider or Calvados tasting
Getting to Portsmouth
The nearest airport is Southampton, but because we catch an early ferry any arrival airport (Southampton, Heathrow or Gatwick) will require you to stay in Portsmouth the night before. Contact us if you plan to arrive by air and we can discuss the options.
There is parking at Portsmouth ferry terminal itself. Alternatively, you can take your own car over the to France and combine our holiday with your own travels – ideally you would join us in Ouistreham for the riverside rides on the first and last days.
Travelling within France
SNCF – trains around France – http://www.sncf.com/en/passengers
Brittany ferries – Ferries to Caen and Le Havre – http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/
Paris Underground – http://www.ratp.fr/