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Normandy, we have missed you!

It's been a while since I put both wheels back on the road in Normandy - but it was worth the wait. Having been unable to return to France until very recently, it felt like a lifetime ago since I had experienced the quiet unflustered roads, the beautiful scenery and the wild beauty of several different coastlines we cycled along. Northern France and Normandy in particular is a real treat to cycle after being restricted to the UK roads for the last eighteen months.

It was such a pleasure disembarking from the ferry in Ouistreham and cycling along the famous D-Day beaches before taking a sharp right at Arromanches to Bayeux. Our destination for the evening was the delightful little Norman hamlet of Dangy and it did not disappoint. 'En route' we passed some memorable way-points that I had almost forgotten about - the remains of the Mulberry harbour at Arromanches, the beautiful Bayeux cathedral and the hidden Abbey of Cerisy. They were all reminders of what we had missed since the beginning of 2020 and it was an absolute delight to be returning. Further reminders were provided at our evening accommodation in down-town Hebecrevon at the exquisite Chateau de la Roc.

The next day was equally impressive and we went over-land to the opposite coast to have a timely lunch stop in the stylish seaside of Granville the birthplace of the equally stylish Christian Dior. A quick few spirited climbs took us up and down a couple of little hills and onto through the seaside towns of Jullouville and Carolles. A final hill took us up again to reveal the incredible sight of Mont Saint Michel at low tide shimmering away in the distance. To reach it we followed the coastline again, made the steep climb up into Avranches and made a steep descent down the other side. A night in a decent hotel on the coastal path in front of ‘le Mont’ provided great ‘instagrammables’ as well as some fantastic local food and wine. The evening was punctuated by the daily evacuation of thousands of salt marsh sheep going home for the night after a days grazing.

The next day was an easy ride as we took to the coast road on our way to St. Malo. The landscape seemed to change dramatically - still wild and wonderful - but definitely Breton. As today was only an easy '50' km we took a long lunch in Cancale - an iconic Breton sea-side town boasting some of the finest oyster beds in the region. There is only so much seafood even hungry cyclists can consume and we made our way to St. Malo and the Hotel Universe on the square ‘intra-muros’ - inside the walls - as the locals call it.

Back on two wheels again and we headed back down the coastline and left Brittanny for Normandy. Heading inland we stopped for lunch in the market town of Gavray before riding off to where the evening's accommodation awaited - not to mention a gourmet evening of local food and drink by a celebrity chef. The next day and with plenty of calories left to burn we made our way back to the ferry in Ouistreham and after a final moules-fruits we were back on board.

It's great to be back!


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