Arrival in Bayeux, the first French town to be liberated in 1944. Arrive early enough to explore its beautiful medieval centre. Our area manager will give you the bikes and a briefing for the tour.
Take time to see the Bayeux tapestry, a remarkable piece of embroidery telling the tale of William of Normandy’s conquest of England in 1066. Then pedal south through the pretty countryside to the Abbaye de Mondaye, rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries. Continue to the Château de Balleroy, built in the 17th century and purchased in 1970 by the late Malcolm Forbes. Return to Bayeux.
Today head for the Landing Beaches. Visit Arromanches, with the vestiges nearby of the artificial harbour built by the British, and the German artillery battery at Longues-sur-Mer, the only coastal battery that has kept its guns. Finally, arrive at Omaha Beach, the scene of a terrible battle, vividly recreated in the movie Saving Private Ryan. The military cemeteries are moving memorials to the heroism that took place here. Stay overnight in a hotel just metres from Omaha Beach or a B&B in the countryside.
Visit more D-Day sites along the coast today or follow a route that takes you along quiet country roads further inland. Whichever option you choose, your destination is the village of Crépon, known for its fortified manor houses.
Cycle to Cabourg, a seaside resort developed in the second half of the 19th century. Marcel Proust stayed here often and left a vivid evocation of life in Cabourg in À l’Ombre des Jeunes Filles. Stroll along streets lined by magnificent villas and on the promenade along the beach. If you want to treat yourself to a luxe upgrade for only two nights, this is the place to do it. You’ll stay at the Grand Hotel de Cabourg, right on the seafront.
On a day ride you head south into the Pays d’Auge, an area of pastures, thatched cottages, and farms that produce cider, calvados, and Camembert, for which Normandy is famous. You’ll be able to sample some of these and other delicious produits du terroir in Beuvron-en-Auge, designated one of the plus beaux villages de France.
Follow the Côte Fleurie, travel in the footsteps of the Impressionist painters drawn here by the magical light and the sea. Arrive in Honfleur, once the haunt of artists such as Arthur Boudin and Claude Monet and home to composer Erik Satie. It was from Honfleur that Samuel de Champlain set sail on the voyage of discovery that resulting in the founding of Québec in 1608.
Take time for a final stroll around Honfleur before departing for your next adventure.
"Thank you for such a wonderful experience and providing us for a memorable vacation. Normandy is a beautiful area and we couldn't have planned the experience any better."
- D. Coyle