1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Northern France short tour

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Dave Davenport, 20 Sep 2007.

  1. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    Just booked the ferry to St.Malo returning from Caen four days later for the third week of October.
    Thought we'd follow the coast to Granville via Mt.St. Michel on day one and wouldn't mind seeing some of the D day beaches but nothing firm yet.
    Any recommendations on routes, places to visit or stay gratefully recieved.
  2. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ..These are (IMHO) a must. I have been there twice now and will go again. To do the area justice you'd need more than a few days but even just one or two days would be worth it.

    I would take at least a day for the American sector and a day for the Brit,Canadian sector..possibly more...the battles in the corridor of death and the falise gap are also worth a trip....but to get the most out of those you should have a guide or at least a book.

    Caen has a good selection of hotels which a re well placed, however I was on foru wheels so on a bike I'd probably go and stay in a B&B on one of the beaches....either in Arromanche or on Omaha beach where I believe there are a couple of B&B's towards the western end. Port En Bessin is also woth a look for B&b's. If you fancy a Novotel with a pool then the one at Bayeaux is pretty good and well situated for all the D Day beaches.

    There is so much to see...the beaches, pegasus bridge, St. Mere Eglise, Merville battery, Battery des longues, the Cemeteries (especially at Colleville sur mere Omaha), ...all a must.

    It's not flat along the coast though...around Arromance there are a few longish hills up to the cliff tops...but the view at the top is worth it.

    There is a fast coastal road linking all the beaches...but there may be smaller more cycle friendly routes closer to the beaches you would be better off on...dunno..like I siad I was on four wheels last time.

    I think you may find that a trip there is worth while...it's a very moving place to visit.

    You may know a bit about the events of June 1944, but if not I would suggest reading up a bit about the areas you intend to visit before you get there...it's an amazing experience to stand where it all happened. Just to go there 'unprepared' is still a cool thing to do, but if you know more about it you will get more out of it.

    Try to get a tide chart & visit the beaches at low tide. High tide can cover the entire beach right up to the sea wall, especailly omaha ....at low tide you get a much better impression of what it was really like that morning.
  3. Tony

    Tony New Member

    Good camping municipal in Arromanches. Try and take time out to visit Omaha cemetery and Bayeux.
  4. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    It's looking like St.Malo to Granville then to Arromanches (seem to be a few nice small hotels there) then knock about round D day beaches, Bayeux etc. before returning via Caen.
  5. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Go into the Museum in Arromanche and tag on the end of a guide group...it's a facinating to see the Mulberry harbour Model (it's huge) whilst looking at the remains of the real thing out the window.
  6. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I've not cycled in the area but apparently there's a bike path following the canal all the way from Caen to Ouistreham.
  7. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    this is a neat place to go as well...good for lunch. It is where they filmed a famous scene from the Longest day with the commandos running along the side of the key (as they did in reality)...as soon as I got there I recognised the scene from the film.
  8. sloe

    sloe New Member

    If your family lost anyone in that area (or any other) you can find their grave from

  9. pw2389

    pw2389 New Member

    Was that for a Chubb or a Yale lock?:biggrin:
  10. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    smelling was never my best strenthg:biggrin:
  11. Tony

    Tony New Member

    The canal path starts by the Port de Plaisance in Caen and is a reasonable run, not too bad a surface with only a couple of pinch points. It goes right past the cafe at Pegasus Bridge (and associated tank-on-a-plinth memorial; road crossing) and continues up the West bank to Ouistreham, coming out in a big pot-holed car park by the fish quay, a short ride from the ferry.
    Lots of leisure cyclists, lots of fishermen, not too many peds, occasional moped.
  12. old donald

    old donald New Member

    Don't forget to call in and see the Bayeux tapestry. There's also alot of things to see that made history well before the 6th June 1944.
  13. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    Had better start sorting our stuff out, will be leaving home about 4pm. BBC weather says sun, metcheck says rain for tomorrow so will take a layerable selection of clothing. Have booked a hotel in Arromanches for Monday night but will see where we end up tomorrow.
  14. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Whilst in Arromanche (which imo is a good place to start/have a base) take a ride up the cliffs to the west of the town. There you will find the Battery des longues which is the old german battery (still has the guns in place) that fired down on the beaches to the east and west.
  15. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    This was certainly a highlight for me:smile:, also Pegasus bridge.