Backroad Discovery – Normandy, Brittany,Aquitaine & Languedoc self-guided cycling holidays.
Normandy is a land of apples, cheese, cream, butter and seafood. Its rich history has produced Mont St Michel, the Bayeux tapestry, Belle Epoque beach resorts and the D-Day landing beaches. Cut by the River Seine, it’s a landscape of rolling farmland and open plains interspersed with woodland and divided by hedges; all combining into great cycling country.
- NEW – Normandy Beaches – 5 nights. Moderate-plus terrain. Lush pastures, half-timbered houses, pretty villages, butter-rich cuisine, orchards, calvados (apple brandy), the Cote Fleurie and the WW2 landing beaches. The route starts in Bayeux and goes to Honfleur.
- Rambouillet to Mont St Michel – 9 nights. Moderate-plus terrain. Linear route cycling from Ile de France to the coast; an extended version of the above route. Starting from the former royal hunting lodge at Rambouillet, the route winds through forest to Chartres, then past meadows, forest and manor houses, largely on cycle trails, to Alencon and on to the magnificent Mont St Michel.
- Bayeux to St Malo – 8 nights. Moderate-plus terrain. Linear route starting with two nights in Bayeux, then cycling through lush rolling countryside, largely on cycle trails to St Malo. Highlights include the famous tapestry, the D-Day landing beaches, Le Mont St Michel and the ‘pirate’ town of St Malo.
Brittany is known for its rugged, dramatic coastline, fishing, beach resorts, regattas and shellfish, but inland there is a relatively hidden world of plain and plateau, field and forest divided by dry-stone walls and pollarded oaks trees, which beckons the cyclist.
- Rennes to St Malo – 4 nights. Easy terrain. Linear route cycling from Rennes to Saint Malo with an optional extra night in Dinan. Discover the peaceful hinterland of Brittany following a rarely used canal up to its summit and then down to the medieval town of Dinan on the stunning Rance Estuary. A short ferry takes you into St Malo for a 3 night stay with the choice of excursions by bike, or boat.
- St Malo & Environs – 4 nights. Easy terrain. Based at a 3 star hotel overlooking the glorious sea views of the Grand Plage. Time to enjoy the town & its beaches, or chosen of three easy excursions.
- Saumur to La Rochelle – 6 nights. Moderate terrain. This route connects the Loire Valley with the Atlantic Coast, exploring lesser-known by-ways and villages and the Marais Poitevin – the Green Venice.
- La Rochelle & Environs – 4 nights. Easy/moderate terrain. La Rochelle is the perfect base for a short break, with its fortified port, arcaded streets, ancient wooden houses & the bridge to the beautiful Ile de Ré. Enjoy the town or choose your excursion. No daily packing.
- La Rochelle to Bordeaux – 7 nights. Moderate terrain. Follow the Vélodysse (Atlantic cycling route) around the coast for sandy beaches, pine forests, the Gironde estuary, plus pretty villages and vineyards.
- Bordeaux and its vineyards – 5 nights. Moderate/strenuous terrain. Explore, smell taste the wonderful wines of Bordeaux as you cycle through the vineyards of Entre Deux Mers, St Emilion, Pomerol, Blaye, Haut Medoc & Margaux.
- Bordeaux to Sarlat – 5 nights. Moderate/strenuous terrain. Discover the Entre Deux Mers & St Emilion vineyards, the villages, chateaux & gardens of the Dordogne and “prehistory” in the Vezere Valley.
- Cliffs & Grottos – 7 nights. Moderate/strenuous terrain. Explore the cliff-clinging villages, chateaux, the Vezere Valley (a UNESCO World Heritage site) & the regions unique prehistory. (Note that this route has some long hills.)
- Canal de Garonne – 6 nights. Moderate plus terrain. This canal links Bordeaux & Toulouse. Most of the tow-path is now a “Green Way” – a cycle/walking trail. Discover this peaceful corner of Aquitaine – orchards & vineyards, fortified villages, Romanesque architecture and a remarkable aqueduct carrying the canal over the Garonne River.
- Canal de Midi One – 4 nights. Moderate terrain. The canal offers numerous architectural & cultural treasures; amazing structures, Cathar vestiges & a sun-baked landscape of vineyards, sunflowers, pine & olive trees. (Note that temperatures can be up in the thirties during the months of July & August.)
- Canal de Midi Four – 6 nights. Moderate terrain. A longer version of the above tour, which takes you down to Sete, on the Mediterranean coast.
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