Home > Veloscenic Normandy: the best of the Veloscenie bikeway
The newest bikeway to be undertaken in France, the Véloscenie (or Veloscenic) cycle route earns its name well - not only does it link the iconic Paris and the Mont-Saint-Michel, but it winds through some of the country's most beautiful landscapes along the way.
While the Mont-Saint-Michel is certainly a tour highlight, our itinerary will also introduce you to the hidden gems of northern France, often overshadowed by the more sunbathed vistas to the south. Following a mix of greenways, bike paths, and quiet secondary roads, you'll cycle through the hedgerowed fields of the Bocage Normand, lush forests of oak and pine, and the gorgeous nature parks of La Perche and Normandie-Maine. You'll learn the names of charming historic towns that won't be listed on every map: Mortagne-au-Perche, Bagnoles-de-l'Orne, Ducey.
For most riders, this will also be a tour through Normandy's incredible gastronomic heritage, with opportunities galore to sample traditional buckwheat galettes, teurgoule (rice pudding), blood sausage, and more. And while the rivers don't quite flow with cider and poiré, it's not far off!
Hearty and fragrant, the northern cuisine is the perfect fuel for an unforgettable bike trip - through an utterly enchanting region.
For travel and cycling tips to Normandy, visit our "travel and cycling tips" section.
If you're flying into Paris, a 1,5-hour train ride will have you arriving in the town of l'Aigle, site of a spectacular meteor shower in 1803. From here, we'll transfer you to Mortagne-au-Perche, a charming town with beautifully-preserved historic buildings. And the feast is not limited to the eyes - Mortagne is the boudin noir (blood sausage) capital of France.
You are at your leisure to wander, but don't tire yourself out too much, for tomorrow marks the beginning of your cycling trip along the Veloscenic!
Pedaling out of lovely Mortagne, today’s leisurely ride will take you out of the forests and farmland of La Perche Regional Nature Park into the equally gorgeous countryside of Normandie-Maine Park. Where the two overlap, you can make a stop for lunch at Le Mêle-sur-Sarthe, a popular site for hiking and water sports. From here, it’s an easy ride to Alençon along a traffic-free bikeway, with a few unpaved sections on hard-packed gravel.
Once the seat of the Dukes of Normandy, Alençon has a proud lace tradition dating back to the 17th century. Take the rest of the afternoon to explore its fine art and lace museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle), the circular Market Hall (halle au blé), and the expansive Parc des Promenades.
The Veloscenic route borrows quiet secondary roads as you wind towards the Château de Carrouges and the halfway point of today's ride. Take in the views of the Écouves forest before taking on an uphill section to reach the castle - not for the weak leg! Catch your breath as you admire and explore the impressive castle, a stronghold during the Hundred Years' War.
A gently rolling landscape will take you down into Bagnoles de l'Orne, a picturesque spa town nestled between forest and lake. Explore the 'Belle Époque' neighbourhood and its opulent villas or unwind in the romantic Jardin retiré(Remote Garden). If your legs are sore from the climb to Carrouges, a visit to the thermal baths is highly recommended - there's plenty more cycling to come.
Linger a while longer in idyllic Bagnoles de l'Orne this morning before embarking on the next part of your adventure. Quiet roads through the forests and countryside of the Bocage Normand provide a peaceful start to the day's ride. Along the way is the medieval town of Domfront and its castle ruins (20 km / 12.5 miles). Situated on a bluff overlooking the Varenne river, Domfront offers incredible views, but beware of the steep climb up and ride down.
The rest of the way is more leisurely, as you pedal onto the greenway upon leaving Domfront. This section of the Veloscenic offers gorgeous views of the Normandy countryside, especially as you cycle along the Sélune river. If you're making good time, stop in Barenton for a tour and tasting at the Musée du poiré, a museum dedicated to the rich Perry-making tradition of the region. After that, it's an uphill until your destination for the night - Mortain.
If you're not quite ready to leave Mortain behind, a quick loop from your hotel will bring you to two waterfalls just outside of town, in a lush wooded area where fairies and elves would not seem out of place! Today's ride is mostly downhill, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to admire the views while you cycle to Ducey. Along the way, stop for lunch in Sainte-Hilaire du Harcouët, where the medieval church tower and the former monastery of la Verrière are well worth a visit.
Arriving in Ducey, park your bikes and explore the Château des Montgommery and its monumental staircase on foot. Or, if you feel like riding more, follow the cycle path just south out of town into the bois d'Ardennes - a natural wooded area popular with locals and tourists alike.
Take some time to enjoy your morning coffee in the hotel garden, overlooking the Sélune river. You won't want to linger too long though, for today you cyclo to the Mont-Saint-Michel. The route will lead you along traffic-free bikeways, followed by quiet roads, as you cycle towards France's northern coast.
One of France's most recognizable landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mont-Saint-Michel has been a site of pilgrimage and war alike since ancient times. Let the famous spire of its abbey guide you as you pedal and try not to let your jaw drop too much! Spending a few hours here to explore is a must, as is a taste of local specialty, agneau de pré-salé (salt meadow lamb).
From the Mont-Saint-Michel, your pedaling will take you past the Moulin de Moidrey, a restored and working windmill from the 19th century (it's open to visitors). Then it's a short cycle on to Pontorson, where you'll spend the final night of the tour, perhaps reflecting over a bowl of mussels à la Normande and a glass of cider.
After breakfast, you are free to depart at your leisure.
Extra nights can be arranged upon request.
5 nights in 3-star hotel and 1 night in an unrated property of character