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France - Bayeux
4th July 2021 - 11th July 2021 (8 days)
We travel to and from France overnight on Brittany Ferries in twin cabins and ride through Caen using the Velo 43 cycle route. The Normandy countryside is similar to pastoral farming areas of southern England, though more rural and with more abundant flora and fauna. There are plenty of picturesque small towns and villages with shops and cafes and a good sprinkling of interesting abbeys, churches and châteaux, some in ruins, and, of course, scattered, small war cemeteries.
Bayeux itself has an impressive cathedral, plus the famous museum housing the Bayeux tapestry and the museum of the Battle of Normandy. The coast was the scene of the Normandy landings by allied troops in June 1944 and is popular with visitors, so we avoid the coastal roads and ride to interesting beaches and museums directly from the tiny lanes of the hinterland.
Moving on we ride into the Suisse Normande to meet the former Caen-Clecy railway line, now a tarmac cycle route, and explore some of the dramatic gorges of the Orne Valley before returning all the way on Velo 43 to our ferry.
This tour is not yet open for bookings and the dates and prices shown are provisional. However, if you are interested in making a booking and being added to a waiting list to be notified when bookings open, please use the 'Enquire Now' button.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Sheila Simpson
- Grade Moderate
- Booking Status Enquiries Only
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis B&B
- Travel Arrangements Ferry
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Multi-centre
- Vehicle Support Carry Own Luggage
- Holiday Ref 03574
Sunday 4th July
We meet in Portsmouth to take Brittany Ferries overnight ferry (twin cabins) to Ouistrahem. We must follow the instructions of the crew when embarking, which will include walking over part of the ramp. Meals: None
Monday 5th July
Disembarking at Ouistreham, following the instructions of the crew, we cycle alongside the river on the European cycle route, EV4/V43, via Pegasus Bridge to Caen where there is time to shop, visit a cafe and take a look at the two abbeys and castle, which are all that remain of the historic city, bombed by allied forces in June 1944. We leave on the V4 cycle path and take to lanes via Cheux to visit the Fontenay British War Cemetary and Juaye Monastery. In Bayeux we lunch (cafe or picnic) and check in at the hotel with the afternoon free to explore the city, Bayeux Tapestry and Battle of Normandy Museums. 70km. Stay 3 nights. Meals: None
Tuesday 6th July
We leave town en route to Courseulle via Ryes and the British WWII cemetary at Bazenville, worth a short exploration along with the nearby attractive Grotte du Lourds. Heading towards the sea, at Crepon, we encounter the memorial to the Green Howards who landed in the first assault wave on Gold Beach (Cafe-bar opposite the church). We continue through Ver-sur-Mer, riding into Courseulles past the Croix de Lorraine and the Juno Beach museum, then around the quays to lunch (seafront cafe or picnic). We leave on the D79 soon turning off into a quiet valley to view first the Chateau de Fontaine-Henry Chateau and then the atmospheric ancient church at Thaon. On the return we visit the Chateau de Creully from where, the day after D-Day, BBC war correspondents transmitted the first news of the Battle of Normandy. 62km. Meals: B
Wednesday 7th July
We leave town westward, noting the Memorial to War Correspondents on the left and ride the Valley of the Tortonne to Trevieres to investigate an odd statue outside the church and visit the cafe. Continuing along the valley we can see a fortified manor at Douville and another at Vaumicel.
We will descend slowly to Omaha Beach, taking in the views and stopping at the bottom of the hill to check out Sector Charlie and its map on the beach before visiting the Beach cafe or the Brasserie a bit further on. Leaving the beach, the Omaha museum on the right is worth a stop and photos.
Continuing inland, parallel to the coast, we will explore the World War II German artillery battery, on the cliffs at Longues-sur-Mer, a historical monument in a good state of conservation and the only one in Normandy to retain all its original guns in situ. Then, before leaving Longues, turn a few hundred metres off route to view the ruins of the Ancient Abbey St Marie. 69km. Meals: B
Thursday 8th July
Moving on southwards we follow the valley of the Aure, spotting two fortified manors en route, for a break at Villers-Bocage, the scene of a Second World War battle on 13 June 1944. Then continue through increasingly rolling countryside, with at least one manor, to Thury-Harcourt in the Orne Valley with its ruined chateau and Cafe des Sports for lunch. We then follow the cycle path along the valley into the heart of the granite Suisse Normande at Clecy with a climb at the end of the day to the Hotel Golf de Crecy. 66km. Stay 2 nights. Meals: B
Friday 9th July
Free day to explore by cycle and foot: the Orne Gorges, le Pain du Sucre and Rochers des Parcs, the Velorail along the Noireau valley (hard work), and Pont d'Ouilly viaduct (cycleable) all within a 10 kilometer radius! 0 - 50km. Meals: B
Saturday 10th July
We return to Ouistraheim on the V43, lunching in Caen near the marina and taking a break at the Pegasus Bridge Cafe, where some might want to visit the museum. At Ouistraheim we will check out the restaurants for our choice of a final dinner and then explore some of the EV4, coastal cycle path to see the Piper Bill Millin statue before taking the night ferry. 59 - 65km. Meals: B
Sunday 11th July
We say our goodbyes and disembark. Some may want to breakfast at the seafront (The Hard) before heading for home. Meals: None
Meals: B = Breakfast
The above itinerary should be treated as an indication of what is to be accomplished during the tour and not as a contractual obligation.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will be in a 3-star hotel in Bayeux and a 2-star hotel near Clecy, in rooms based on two people sharing.
Riders will carry their own luggage. No backup is provided.
Passports, Visa & Health
Holders of UK passports should check the latest UK Government advice to determine whether or not your passport will need to be renewed. Holders of non-UK passports are advised to check the entry requirements for the country being visited and whether or not they require a visa. There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You should also check the latest UK Government advice regarding the validity of your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and whether you will need to apply for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £970 is based on a minimum number of 8 people taking part in the holiday; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3. If there are insufficient bookings by 25th April 2021, we will contact you and return all monies paid.
This price is provisional.
- Return ferry travel in twin cabins between Portsmouth and Ouistreham
- 5 nights hotel, sharing room
- 5 breakfasts
- Daily cycle routes on marked-up maps, cue sheets, profiles and GPS tracks
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to and from Portsmouth port
- Meals in transit
- Dinners, lunches or refreshments during the day
- Entry fees to any attractions visited
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
- Single occupancy supplement (£350, subject to availability)
A deposit of £97 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £873 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 25th April 2021.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 25th April 2021
From 25th April 2021 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
We explore an area of northern Normandy from Omaha Beach to Gold and Sword Beaches, bounded by the valley of the Orne to the east and the imposing granite outcrops of the Suisse Normande to the south. Most of the terrain is flat and rolling, with one day including some climbs in the south, most of which can be avoided by remaining on the Orne cycle path. We ride through Caen on cycle paths but spend most of our time on the network of rural lanes inland from where we make sorties to the more interesting beaches. The road and cycle path surfaces are very good, though we may meet a few short stretches approaching the coast that can be littered with stones.
Rides & Rest Days
There will be plenty of time for exploring villages, museums, ruins and natural features on our rides. Each day there will be a led group ride at a pace of 16-20kmph on the flat, tackling any hills at a slower pace. We use minor roads almost entirely, though as with any tour, road closures can affect our route choice. You are free to ride separately, but it is important that you are fit enough to ride the 70km (44 miles) to the hotel (can be shorter if not travelling with the main group). The return route is 59km (37 miles), almost entirely flat and gradually downhill.
Be aware that in France cyclists are required to ride in single file in built-up areas and where there is a continuous white line in the centre of the road. When visibility is poor, we must use front and rear lights and wear a reflective tabard. Sleeping policemen can be expected more frequently than in the UK when approaching and in small villages.
Discrepancies in hill-climbing speeds will be inevitable, but for those who wish to ride in the group, frequent photo opportunities and snack stops should keep us together. The Tour Manager knows the area well and can suggest worthwhile extensions for riders who would like to ride further than the led group.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis. In Bayeux we stay at the same friendly hotel used previously, in a quiet, central situation with a garage for the cycles, whilst at Clecy we are in the countryside at a golfing hotel, central for the main attractions of the area. We buy supplies individually for lunch, which is often at or near a bar-cafe, and stop at cafes whenever possible mid-morning and mid-afternoon. We will dine as a group or individually at cafes or restaurants researched during the day.
We travel out and back by Brittany Ferries night ferry in twin cabins.
The maximum number of participants will be 11 excluding the Tour Manager.
Weather & Clothing
The weather is similar to southern England with an average maximum day temperature of 20C and average minimum night temperature of 13C. Average rainfall is low at 46mm. Bring layers of lightweight summer clothing, with some extra layers with covering for arms and legs, a change for evenings and a light waterproof. A head covering, sunscreen and water bottle with covered teat is also recommended.
Cycles & Equipment
A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB is suitable for this tour. You should ensure your cycle is well maintained, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes. A low bottom gear (e.g. small chainring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended. If you are unsure about gears, please discuss with the Tour Manager.
Mudguards are optional but show courtesy to those who are following you in wet weather. Lights are a legal requirement but might not prove essential. New tyres are recommended of at least 25mm diameter.
Participants will be expected to carry each day sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs. On rest days a rack top pack or bar bag will be useful for carrying wet weather gear, spare clothing needed for the day, camera, snacks and your map.
Each participant is expected to bring, and carry, all of their own clothing, personal items and spares. You are advised to do some riding before the tour with a similar load to that which you will be carrying during the tour to get a feel for how your bike will handle.
Helmets are your personal choice but please check that your travel insurance will cover you if you do not wear one.
Maps & Guides
Each day you should carry the route itinerary provided along with marked-up maps, cue sheets, profiles and GPS tracks that will be sent with the final tour information. For more information, the Michelin Tourist Guide ‘Normandy’ covers the area of the rides and is available in English.
Travel Insurance & Advice
We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance that includes cancellation and curtailment cover if you or your travel companion(s) are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are forced to self-isolate due to COVID-19 either prior to travel or during the holiday. In addition to travel insurance, UK nationals should carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) obtainable here. This enables you to take advantage of emergency medical services for free or at a discount under a reciprocal arrangement between the UK and EU member states. Your travel insurer may refuse to meet the extra costs of medical treatment if you do not carry this card.
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.