Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided Cycle Tour in Normandy
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Highlights

  • Standing on the hallowed ground of Omaha Beach
  • Viewing the Bayeux Tapestry, commemorating the Normandy invasion of 1066
  • Cycling by the apple orchards that create Normandy’s apple brandy, Calvados
  • Looking out over the sea from Arromanches viewing the remains of the man-made harbour
  • Beholding the famed and lofty spires of Sainte-Mère-Église
  • Immersing yourself in iconic WW II landscapes on this 70th anniversary year

This Normandy short break cycle steeped in World War II history is especially poignant following the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in 2014. Pedal your way from Omaha to Juno to Utah beaches, discover the sacred ground of the American Military Cemetery and ride through the naturally peaceful and pretty countryside.

Begin in Bayeux, a town whose old quarter was almost untouched by the WW II bombings and makes for an excellent introduction to the area. Here you can visit the Museum of the Battle of Normandy and the intricately weaved Bayeux Tapestry which depicts another earlier invasion by William the Conqueror.

A loop ride brings you initially to Juno Beach and the pretty town of Courseulles standing on the estuary of the Seulles River. Encounter Arromanches with its impressive artificial harbour, an idea created by Winston Churchill to store supplies and ammunition for the Allied Invasion.

Ride onwards to Carentan via the British Military Cemetery, then to Omaha Beach and the incredibly moving American Military Cemetery. From the terrace you can look over Omaha Beach and reflect on this areas world-changing history. A peaceful cycle takes you past the German Military Cemetery at La Cambe and the Bessin Natural Park before arriving at your centrally-located accommodation in Carentan, your next destination.

Your Normandy cycling tour concludes with a ride through pasturelands, as far as the eye can see and famous for producing excellent local butter and camembert cheese. Continue towards the coast until you reach Utah Beach and further north to Sainte-Mère-Église where a dummy paratrooper hangs in commemoration of John Steele who landed there on D-Day!

This self-guided cycling tour in Normandy includes four nights accommodation in a 2* hotel and B&B, 4 breakfasts, baggage transfers, maps, route notes and a comprehensive information pack.

(Some photos are accredited to Atout France/Lender/Photographer)

DAY 1: Arrive in Bayeux

Bayeux is the perfect start to this cycling short break as not only did it survive much of the bombing in World War II, therefore having a delightfully preserved old quarter, but there are also other intriguing places to visit; the Bayeux Tapestry which depicts the 1066 Invasion of Normandy by William the Conqueror, the Museum of the Battle of Normandy and the Norman-Romanesque cathedral, original home of the Bayeux Tapestry.


On your first evening here you may wish to sample the local Calvados, the apple brandy that Normandy is famous for, or Pommeau, a locally-made aperitif made of Calvados and cider.


Overnight: Hotel Mogador**, Bayeux


This hotel is located in the heart of Bayeux and offers a relaxed, warm and friendly welcome. It is situated in a charming 18th century building with a patio and courtyard. The comfortable rooms have views over the market square or the inner courtyard.


DAY 2: Bayeux Loop via Juno Beach and Arromanches

Cycle east along the south bank of the Seulles River until you reach its estuary and the small town of Courseulles and Juno Beach. Taking Juno Beach on June 6th, 1944 was the responsibility of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the Royal Marine Commandoes. This Canadian Division met with heavy resistance but ultimately succeeded in pushing farther inland than any other landing force on D-Day. Also pass the peaceful Canadian Military Cemetery whose grounds are landscaped and immaculately kept.


Also en route today you encounter numerous pretty churches and chateaux, including the Chateau de Creully. From Juno ride west to Gold Beach and then to Arromanches with its impressive artificial harbour. It was Winston Churchill’s idea to create these man-made and moveable harbours in order to store ammunition and supplies for the Battle of Normandy.


Return to Bayeux with a cycle alongside the pretty River Aure.


Cycle: 40 or 52km


Overnight: Hotel Mogadour**, Bayeux


DAY 3: Bayeux to Carentan via Omaha Beach and the American Military Cemetery

After joining a brand new cycleway you ride through the area of Bessin in order to get to the hallowed ground of Omaha Beach and the impressive American Military Cemetery at Colleville sur Mer. Allow yourself time to reflect and pay your respects at the cemetery with its row upon row of white crosses. It was at Omaha Beach where the Americans tragically suffered their greatest loss of lives during the D-Day landings.  


Before arriving at your accommodation in the centre of Carentan you will ride through the impressive Natural Park of Bessin.       


Cycle: 55 or 68km


Overnight: Le Vauban B&B, Carentan


A great little B&B, Le Vauban is friendly and accommodating and the rooms are simple, yet well-furnished and decorated. It is well-located in the centre of town.


DAY 4: Carentan Cycle Loop via Utah Beach and Sainte-Mére-Église

Today includes another cycle full of beautiful countryside, history and sites that evoke memories of 1944. First ride through pastureland that is famous for the production of top-quality camembert cheese and butter. Head towards Utah Beach where the US 4th Infantry Division landed, substantially off-course, but with very little resistance on D-Day. Theodore Roosevelt, Commander of the 4th Division was the only general to land with the initial seaborne assault on D-Day. Around 23,250 troops landed here on June 6th due to a number of reasons, one of which being the lack of German fortifications.


Next visit the village of Sainte Mère-Église. This is where an English paratrooper’s parachute got caught on the church spire and where he hung for two hours, pretending to be dead until his eventual capture. Make your way back to Carentan.


Cycle: 48, 58 or 76km


Overnight: Le Vauban B&B, Carentan


DAY 5: Onward travel

The tour finishes after breakfast. From Carentan you can make your onward journeys.


Accommodation

Included is 4 nights in a combination of a 2* hotel and a B&B, both located the centre of town. If you wish to upgrade to 3* hotels please contact your Destination and Adventure Specialist.


Alternate accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo travellers are also welcome on this tour.


Meals

Breakfast is included at your hotel each morning and you can buy your lunch in local shops or markets. As you are situated in the centre of towns in the evenings it will be easy to find local restaurants for dinner.



 

 


 





Hotel Mogador

This hotel is located in the heart of Bayeux and offers a relaxed, warm and friendly welcme. It is situated in a charming 18th century building with a patio and courtyard. The comfortable rooms have views over the market square of the inner courtyard.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Le Vauban B&B

A great little B&B, Le Vauban is friendly and accommodating and the rooms are simple, yet well-furnished and decorated. It is well-located in the centre of town.


 

 

 

How to Book

This trip is available to start any day of the week between April and October.  To make a provisional reservation select "Book". Option & Extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


Because every tour we book is unique availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:


  • You provisionally book the tour/s you are interested in on your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.
  • We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5 working days).
  • If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.

Accommodation

Included is 4 nights in a combination of a 2* hotel and a B&B, both located the centre of town. If you wish to upgrade to 3* hotels please contact your Destination and Adventure Specialist.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo travellers are also welcome on this tour.


Meals

Breakfast is included at your hotel each morning and you can buy your lunch in local shops or markets. As you are situated in the centre of towns in the evenings it will be easy to find local restaurants for dinner.


Baggage Transfer

When you are cycling between accommodation your main bag will be transferred. We ask that you limit your luggage for transfer to one bag of up to 20kg.


Grade & Terrain

As most of the terrain in this area of Normandy is flat, this tour is rated easy to moderate. However the daily distances are more on the moderate side, but you will have all day to do the cycling and you can choose between longer or shorter options. The bike routes have been chosen carefully so that you can enjoy cycling along quiet country lanes, alongside rivers and canals and through the lovely rural countryside of Normandy. This is interspersed with visits to the D-Day Beaches and other sights of interest in this intriguing region.


Bike Hire

Bike hire is available as an optional extra. The Specialized hybrid bikes have an aluminium frame and 24 Shimano gears. All rental bikes come with front pannier with map holder, rear pannier, stand, spare tube, repair kit, pump, lock and helmet.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Getting to Bayeux

You can fly into any of the Paris Airports, Charles de Gaulle, Orly or Beauvais. From these airports make your way into Paris via shuttle bus or train and then take the Paris Metro to Paris St Lazare Train Station. From here there are direct trains to Bayeux and the journey takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. From the Bayeux train station the first hotel is a 15 minute walk or €10 by taxi.  For train times and schedules please check the SNCF website.


It is also possible to drive and leave your car in Bayeux, or take a ferry from the UK. The closest port to Bayeux is Caen and you can take a ferry from Portsmouth.


Getting to Carentan

From the last hotel in Carentan to the train station it is a 3 minute walk and from here there is a direct train to Paris which takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.


Ferries returning to the UK will be from either Caen, or Cherbourg.

Getting to Bayeux

You can fly into any of the Paris Airports, Charles de Gaulle, Orly or Beauvais. From these airports make your way into Paris via shuttle bus or train and then take the Paris Metro to Paris St Lazare Train Station. From here there are direct trains to Bayeux and the journey takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. From the Bayeux train station the first hotel is a 15 minute walk or €10 by taxi.  For train times and schedules please check the SNCF website.


It is also possible to drive and leave your car in Bayeux, or take a ferry from the UK. The closest port to Bayeux is Caen and you can take a ferry from Portsmouth.  


Getting to Carentan

From the last hotel in Carentan to the train station it is a 3 minute walk and from here there is a direct train to Paris which takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.


Ferries returning to the UK will be from either Caen, or Cherbourg.


Included

  • 4 Nights accommodation in a 2* hotel and a B&B
  • 4 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfers
  • A detailed information pack, route notes and maps
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in France and our team in the office

Excluded

  • Travel to Bayeux
  • Travel from Carentan
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Bike Hire
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Equipment

Extras

  • Single room or Solo Traveller Supplement
  • Bike hire
  • Extra Nights

We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.

How fit do I need to be?

The cycling is graded easy to moderate so you will enjoy the holiday more if you enjoy an active lifestyle.  Daily cycles follow quiet roads and tracks and average 30 - 55 km per day which is equivalent to around three hours cycling.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

The closest airport is Tours Val de Loire, 65km from Blois. The airport is served by direct flights from the UK.

Please refer to the travel details section of the website for more information.

How do the baggage transfers work?

We can arrange for your bags to be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you limit your luggage to 1 bag per person and a maximum weight of 20kg. 

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this holiday is extremely popular especially in the summer months. Please note you can start this holiday on any day of the week. 

When is the best time of year?

Spring and autumn are generally best as the Loire area of France can be both busy and hot in mid summer. 

What happens if I can’t cycle a stage?

Public transport and taxis are available, if you are in need of support our local partner will be more than happy to help.

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