Home > Cycling Normandy and Brittany: From Bayeux to Saint-Malo via Mont-Saint-Michel
Perfect for the enthusiastic and experienced cyclist, you'll have the option of covering 70 km (43 miles) a day with this intense tour. Don't worry - there's so much to see and do in the day that you'll never be bored.
In fact, the routes you'll be riding can be overwhelming with the amount of unique culture and history to experience. These two provinces have incredible numbers of major sites to see, so pedal fast and enjoy the tour!
The first and last days of cycling have optional shorter routes if you'd rather see some of Bayeux and Saint-Malo on foot rather than from the seat of a bike.
For travel and cycling tips to Normandy, visit our "travel and cycling tips" section.
There are many sights to see around Bayeux, with the famous tapestry being a highlight of the town for many visitors. The cathedral and Commonwealth War Museum are located in the centre of the town, and are not to be missed. The old part of town is well preserved and worth seeing for a hands-on sense of Bayeux's vibrant history. The town was not bombed in the Second World War as it was the headquarters of the Allies, allowing it to retain its historical charm and splendor without reconstruction.
Today is just the warm up for the rest of your tour, but there is a lot to see. Your ride begins by heading eastward, through the beautiful town of Courseulles and passing alongside Juno Beach. The serene Canadian War Cemetery is your first stop. Afterwards, you’ll pedal along the coast towards the west. You’ll bike past the gorgeous Gold Beachand arrive at Arromanches, where you can look out on the famous Mulberry Harbour. The German artillery battery of Longues-sur-Mer makes a great stop with its true sense of Normandy’s war history. Return to Bayeux through the picturesque Aure valley. If you’d like to push yourself a bit further on your first ride, the longer route will take you out to Pegasus Bridge before you turn to the rest of the loop.
Your day begins with a morning ride through the quiet countryside towards Omaha Beach. The American War Cemetery will stir your emotions before you ride on to the crater filled Pointe du Hoc, where bombs have left scars on the peaceful landscape. The fishing town of Grandcamp-Maisy is your next stop, another former German artillery battery. On the longer ride, you can visit the German La Cambe war cemetery, or simply ride through the marsh towards Saint-Lo on the shorter route. Saint-Lo was the most highly contested site during the Battle of Normandy, and suffered intensive bombing. It took American soldiers nearly three weeks to clear the area between this town and the coast. Your ride around Saint-Lo passes through ‘bocage’ (woodland and pasture) and denser woodland.
Halfway around, you can visit the impressive Chateau de Balleroy and its exquisite gardens.
This day will likely be the most demanding stage of your tour. You will set off following the Vire River, through the Normandy bocage. The bocage landscape became infamous in the war, as it made the progression of Allied troops trickier. The path you will take is steep at times, with the hilly fields separated by hedges.
This route is off the beaten path, and you will cycle past grazing cows, orchards, remote farms, and small creeks. The villages you will pass through provide an authentic Normandy experience with friendly locals, so be sure to stop for a drink and snack on the way.
The star of today’s ride is none other than the magnificent Mont-Saint-Michel, so enjoy a quick breakfast and get ready to pedal! Start the day off with a relaxing downhill ride through the countryside from Avranches towards the Mont-Saint-Michel bay. You can take a moment to stop and enjoy the beautiful view of the impressive abbey—be sure to take a few photos to show your friends and family back home. Try not to linger too long though, as you’ll want to have at least three hours on foot to explore the magnificent sights of Mont-Saint-Michel. Just remember to plan accordingly, for all private vehicles — including bicycles — have been banned from Mont-Saint-Michel. You must park and lock your bikes two kilometres outside the monastery, and then either walk or board a shuttle bus to visit this unique attraction.
Tonight you’ll stay next to the Mont Saint Michel...
From the Mont Saint Michel, you cross the reclaim land to the west and enter Brittany, you will set off inland, along quiet country roads and through many quaint villages. On the long option you’ll return to the coast at the northwest end of the bay, where there are some of the most scenic coastal views on the whole tour. The port of Cancale is the ideal lunch stop, holding the title of the sea-raised oyster capital of France. From here, it’s just a few kilometres to get to the Grouin Headland and the open ocean. Cycling along the Cote d’Emeraude and looking out over the Isles of Chaussey, make sure you keep your eyes on the clear water to spot some dolphins! With the short option, after Le Vivier Sur Mer eventually you leave the Bay and head inland on quiet country roads going through number of villages until you reach the Rance valley which you follow until the heart of St Malo As you arrive at the walls of Saint-Malo, your hotel is on the sea front, a very short distance away.
Upon the estuary of the River Rance, the high walls of Saint-Malo and the town within are remarkable and unique. The town’s sea access and location between Brittany and the Kingdom of France have made it the focus of many historic battles. It expanded rapidly in the 16th century with the development of its fishing fleet and French exploration of Canada. Famous names such as Jacques Cartier, Duguay-Trouin, Surcouf, Chateaubriand, and Maupertui are just a part of the town’s rich and vibrant history.
Your trip ends in the lovely town of Saint-Malo. Feel free to stay and look around the town and Brittany area for another day.
2 nights in 3-star properties, 4 nights in 2-star properties
5 nights in 3-star properties, 1 night in a 4-star hotel