• Pete

Normandy, a cradle of history


From Norseman to Norman

France, as we all know, is a wonderful country for both cycling and history and so it became blindingly obvious that we should put the two together so that our tourists get the best of both worlds. Now, part of my job is particularly onerous in-as-much that I need to test the accommodation we stay at before we actually take guests there. I am always struck by the amount of history that surrounds the places where we stay and the areas we cycle through. The focal point of interest in the places we stay is often that icon of the French countryside – the Chateau – most often a fortified country house bejewelled with historical fact behind every doorway.


The Chateau - a major source of historical fact

Let’s take the region of Normandy for example, the significance of this area to the events of the 20th century are well documented and the massive gamble that was the D Day landings had a major outcome in the way the rest of the century unfolded. However, this area was also the cradle of major events that happened over a millennium before. As long ago as 911 the King of France gave this region to the Vikings on two simple conditions, that they a) convert to Christianity and b) defend the region against other invaders. Fast-forward to the 11th century and Normandy saw the birth of William the Conqueror in 1027. In 1066 he took his fleet to England and the rest is history. The same century saw the development of Mont St. Michel and the magnificent cathedral of Bayeux. Anyway, you get the picture - scratch the surface in Normandy and Brittany and you will be amazed by what you see. For lovers of history and culture who want to discover and absorb all this wonderful detail, we are convinced that the best place to do it from is from the saddle of your bike.


St. Malo, home to pirates over the centuries

The roads here are perfect, they are in great condition and seldom have more than a small smattering of traffic on them. If you are cycling you tend to take in far more than you would from say a car and there is a fair amount to absorb. Anyway, take it from me that these areas are riddled with history and much of it unknown and unheralded. Next year (2020) we are starting ‘week-long’ tours for riders who want to share our passion. Bookings are already in full swing and we already have had to augment our itineraries to cover everyone’s requirements. So, if you fancy seeing what lies beneath you are welcome to join us in the Normandy and Brittany next year

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World at my Cleats is a trading name for Venture Pilot Ltd.