Brittany – Normandy Tour

Biking to Mont St. Michel

View of old farmhouse near St. Meloir

Les huitres -oysters- for sale in Cancale

View of the charming town of Dinan

Small village near Cancale

View over Cancale

Fisherman in St. Malo

A nice downhill!

Straightaway in Normandy

Chateau de Brecy

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

Omaha Beach

The countryside of Normandy

Streets of Dinan

Our Brittany-Normandy adventure begins with two nights in an elegant, 18th century chateau near Cancale – renowned for its oyster production. From there we bicycle beside the River Rance to visit medieval Dinan with its superb half-timbered houses, Gothic churches and picturesque winding streets. The next day we’ll cycle via Cancale along the beautiful Emerald Coast to the fascinating walled city of St. Malo where we’ll spend the night in the heart of the historic center. In charming Dol-de-Bretagne we’ll enjoy lunch before easy biking to Mont St. Michel, the mountain on which Benedictine monks built their astonishing abbey in the middle ages. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!
The next morning we’ll transfer to St. Isigny near the coast of Normandy, for a scenic bike where we’ll visit Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery at Colleville. Bayeux, our final destination was miraculously untouched by the W.W.II bombardments. Here we’ll visit the famous Queen Mathilde Tapestry, an amazing, hand made, 230 feet long tapestry that retraces the Norman conquest of England in1066 and bears a unique depiction of life in the XI th century. This 7 day/ 6 night tour alots two nights each in La Gouesniere and Bayeaux, and one night in St. Malo and Mont St. Michel. We will enjoy 4 superb dinners together, along with daily breakfast. The tour is limited to 14 people!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Round Tour St. Meloir – 11 miles
We’ll welcome you at the train station in St. Malo in the early afternoon. Then we’ll transfer to our charming hotel in close-by St. Meloir des Ondes. After our orientation meeting we’ll take a warm-up ride to the Bay of St. Michel along the Atlantic coast. In the evening we’ll enjoy our first outstanding French dinner, beautifully presented in the attractive dining room of the hotel.

Day 2: Round Tour St. Meloir – Dinan – St. Meloir – 36 miles
Today we’ll cycle through picturesque valleys, pastures and quiet villages to Dinan, a surprisingly well-preserved, medieval walled city overlooking the River Rance and its colorful port. We’ll have lunch in this “architectural jewel”, where there will be ample time to follow the ramparts around the city. We’ll stroll through the curving, cobblestone streets; admire the Roman Basilica, half-timbered houses, castles, squares and public garden Dinan is famous for. We return to our hotel closely following the River Rance and stopping in its delightful small ports with great views over its tidal flats. Dinner again will be in our elegant hotel.

Day 3: St, Meloir – Cancale – St. Malo – 22 miles
Today we must reluctantly leave our hotel in St. Meloir and bike north to Cancale, a charming fishing town famous for its fresh oysters. Please do not ask for any condiments with this oyster treat as they are eaten “solo” in this part of France! Afterward we pedal on along the beautiful Emerald Coast enjoying expansive, quiet coastal views. There is time to stop at one of the magnificent beaches and to dip our feet in the Bay of Mont St. Michel. Then we’ll cycle on to our comfortable hotel in the heart of St. Malo. St. Malo is a very interesting medieval walled city, founded in the sixth century by a Welsh monk. It was the birthplace of the discoverer of Canada, Jacques Cartier, and today is one of the most popular seaports in Brittany with a bustling town center excellent for shopping. We’ll arrive early in the afternoon giving you ample time to explore or shop in this delightful city. Dinner is on your own tonight. St Malo offers many excellent local seafood restaurants.

Day 4: St. Malo – Dol-de-Bretagne – Mont St. Michel – 32 miles
We’ll depart from St. Malo today, biking through gently rolling hills and charming rural countryside to the former religious capital of Brittany, Dol-de-Bretagne. After a short visit and a tempting French pastry snack we’ll bike on and soon reach the comfortable, flat polders around Mont St. Michel. The bay, the medieval town and the Abbey create an effect which is unrivaled anywhere else in the world. Every room in our hotel has a panoramic view on this marvelous sight. In the afternoon you have plenty of time to visit the famous Abbey of Mont St. Michel, one of the seven world wonders and the medieval town with its quaint, half-timbered houses built into the rock face. It’s an unforgettable experience! This evening dinner is in your own. You will have no trouble choosing from one of the many excellent local restaurants.

Day 5: Isigny-sur-Mer – Omaha Beach – Bayeux – 36 miles
This morning we’ll cross the steep hills of Western Normandy by mini bus and arrive in about 90 minutes at Isigny-sur-Mer. After a mid-morning coffee break we’ll pedal through peaceful backcountry to Grandcamp-Maisy where our heartstrings will be pulled as we encounter our first sobering W.W. II memorials. Then we follow the coast to Pointe du Hoc, a deadly German fortification, where many American soldiers lost their lives during intense fighting on June 6, 1944. Next are Omaha Beach, sight of the greatest naval invasion in history and the Colleville Cemetery with its perfectly aligned white crosses and stars of David, marking the final resting place of over 9,000 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country – truly a place for reflection and remembrance. We are moved and grateful to be able to cycle in the afternoon past peaceful farms and villages to beautiful Bayeux, the first French town to be liberated on June 7, 1944 and miraculously untouched by bombs. Our chateau hotel is near the center of this wonderful, old city. You’ll have time to visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of the finest in France, with sections dating back to 1077 or just to stroll and window shop in the delightfully quaint city streets. Dinner is in one of the finest restaurants of Bayeux.

Day 6: Round-trip Bayeux – Creully – Bayeux – 22 miles
This morning we’ll walk to view “Queen Mathilde’s Tapestry”, a remarkable embroidery in wool on linen, 230 feet long and 20 inches high! It is truly a one-of-a-kind, pictorial account of the events leading up to the military invasion of England by William the Conqueror and is a wonderful representation of life in the 11th century. After our visit we’ll have an optional cycle over tranquil rural roads through lovely country to Creully, another picturesque village of Normandy. Here we’ll pass by the former BBC headquarters in the Creully Mansion and then bike to the interesting formal Gardens of Brecy, a chateau currently being renovated. Optional after returning to Bayeux is a visit to the W.W.II Museum, an emotional “summing up” of all the horrors of this tragic war. Before our delectable farewell dinner you’ll have time for some last minute shopping in the center of Bayeux.

Day 7:
Individual departure after breakfast to catch a train for the two-hour train ride back to Paris. If you intend to fly home today, please be careful to schedule your flight for the afternoon so you have time to make the train connections to Paris and then to Charles de Gaulle or Orly Airport. The total time needed from Bayeaux to the airports for trains, metro, taxis or buses is about 4 hours.

Getting There

Tour begins in the afternoon at the train station in St. Malo. You can reach St. Malo from Paris by TGV to Rennes (two hours) and then a local train to St. Malo (another hour). You will receive the exact meeting time after full payment is received. For last minute train schedules visit the website of the French Railways, www.sncf.com.

Meals

You will enjoy daily breakfast and four dinners of superb three or four-courses. Lunch is not included in the price; most days we will dine in a local restaurant.

Prices and Dates

Check out our Tour Calendar under “Bike and Hotel Tours”

Tour Length

7 days/ 6 nights

Included
      – 6 nights lodging in mostly small, family-owned hotels with private facilities
      – 4 dinners and 6 breakfasts
      – Entrance fee to Bayeux Reine Mathilde Museum
      – 24-speed bike rental
      – Outstanding, personalized leadership by VGT’s owner and a co-guide
      – Support van
      – Daily route directions
      – Baggage handling
    – All taxes and gratuities for the hotel and restaurant portions of the tour
Bicycles

24-speed hybrid Specialized bikes are included on the tour. Bicycles come equipped with: grip shifters, handlebar bag, bell, cage and water bottle, optional toe clips, optional rear view mirror and rear pannier. It is also possible to replace our pedals with your own “clip on” pedals. Helmets are not included; please bring your own helmet! We do have a few helmets available for rent for $20 for the week. If you wish to rent one, please let us know ahead of time.

Level of Difficulty

Daily cycling distance is between 24-35 miles per day on rolling terrain with many level stretches. We rate this tour as moderate. Cycling experience is needed to deal with up and down hills and periodic car traffic. Remember that the van is usually very close by and you can join the “lonely driver” if you need a break from riding!

Excluded

– Airfare
– Alcoholic and bar beverages
– Two dinners
– 6 lunches
– Independent sightseeing
– Transportation other than scheduled VGT transfers
– Other items of a personal nature

Weather

Brittany and Normandy are known for their mild climate. For example, average daytime temperature in June is 70F.

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