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Bicycling France: Normandy & Brittany

History abounds on this biking vacation that visits the now-tranquil WW II beaches like Omaha and Arromanches, rendered famous by D-Day; Cancale, the home of Louis IVX’s favorite oysters; Saint-Malo, the legendary “City of Corsairs”; and Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 18 - 39 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 1/2 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy / Moderate
  • Plane

2016 departure dates now available below!

Why You'll Love This Tour


Bicycling France: Normandy & Brittany

Cycle your way into magnificent coastal beauty and legendary history during this inspiring itinerary. Renowned for rolling farmland, charming villages and stunning seaside byways, Normandy and Brittany have witnessed pivotal moments in history. We’ll ride back in time to where it all unfolded, from the D-Day sands of Omaha Beach to Bayeux with its treasured Tapestry, from the stunning abbey at Mont St-Michel to the medieval gems of Dinan and Saint-Malo. Along the way, we meet the people who make Normandy’s sweet cider and shuck Brittany’s fresh oysters. Only VBT brings you so close to this beloved corner of France.

Cultural Highlights

  • See the famous 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry
  • Cycle farmlands, orchards and country villages
  • Visit coastal Arromanches, important to D-Day
  • Recall the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach
  • Honor fallen heroes at the American Cemetery
  • Explore La Haye du Puits, site of a fierce WWII battle
  • Brush up against everyday life at a local market
  • Meet a cider maker and sample his prize product
  • Admire the 11th-century abbey in the town of Lessay
  • Tour medieval Dinan with a local guide
  • Follow a guide through Mont Saint-Michel
  • Sample Brittany’s famously fresh oysters
  • Stay at a hotel that was once a Norman fortress
  • Tour the manor of Canada’s founder, Jacques Cartier

What To Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. Ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 18 – 39 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4.5 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Bayeux
May 63°  Jun 68°  Jul 72°  Aug 70°  Sep 68°  Oct 61°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Bayeux
May 2.4  Jun 1.9  Jul 1.9  Aug 2.1  Sep 2.8  Oct 2.7

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 5-star hotels and a renovated former Norman fortified farm
  • 11 meals – 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in in 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels and a renovated former Norman fortified farm
  • 13 meals – 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extension: Pre-trip: Paris – 2 nights for only $445*

*Please note: For those traveling in 2015, the Pre-Trip Extension is $345, single supplement $295.

Both Vacation Options Include

Dates & Prices

2016 departure dates are available! Click on 2016 under "Departure & Return Dates" and start planning your 2016 vacation today!

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Air Package Plus 10 Days Includes round-trip international airfare


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Air Package Plus 10 Days Includes round-trip international airfare

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Return: Sun, Oct 25
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2015 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $675 | 2015 Land Only Single Supplement: $495 | 2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $645 | 2016 Land Only Single Supplement: $495

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015/2016 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Paris

Depart from home for Paris, France. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Paris

Upon arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Please make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps the representative identify you.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van to our Paris hotel (a drive of approximately 60 minutes, depending on traffic). At this time, please verify with your airport representative the time of your transfer tomorrow to Bayeux. If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the CDG Airport, please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15 15 25 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615 15 15 25.

VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations for what to see and do in Paris. Enjoy the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the City of Light on your own.

Hotel: Pullman Paris Bercy

DAY 3: Transfer to Bayeux

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your fellow travelers in the lobby of the Hotel Pullman Paris Bercy at 8:45 am for a 9:00 am departure by private coach to Bayeux. Travel time is approximately 3.5 hours, depending on traffic. If you prefer to make your own way to Bayeux at your own expense, hotel details are listed in your final documents. You will meet your VBT Trip Leaders in the hotel. Please contact this hotel to advise of any travel delays or changes that will cause you to miss our 3:00 pm safety and bike-fitting session, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, meet in the hotel lobby at 8:45 am to join a private coach transfer to Bayeux, departing at 9:00 am. Travel time is approximately 3.5 hours, depending on traffic. Meet your VBT Trip Leaders in Bayeux.

After settling in, you’ll have free time to have lunch on your own and discover the medieval city of Bayeux and its famous 11th-century Tapestry. You might also visit the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum.

Please note: If you are staying at our alternate hotel, Château de Sully, the transfer will first stop in the center of Bayeux, where you will meet your Trip Leaders and have free time for lunch and exploration. Your luggage will be delivered directly to the Château de Sully.

At 3:00 pm, your Trip Leaders will conduct a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride, which takes you from our hotel into the rolling Norman countryside.

This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a welcome reception, followed by dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: Le Lion d’Or
Alternative Hotel: Château de Sully
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 7.5 miles (12 km)


DAY 4: Cycle to Arromanches

After breakfast this morning, we’ll cycle through rolling farmlands and picturesque country villages to the coastal town of Arromanches, which played a vital role in the D-Day landings. Here, Allies built one of their famous Mulberry harbors – a portable, temporary structure that helped transfer troops and supplies. Its remains can still be seen at low tide. Learn more about the harbor, and the landings at the D-Day Museum, which you’ll have time to explore on your own. You might also visit Arromanches 360, a circular theater showing a fascinating film about D-Day and its aftermath using wartime footage and modern images.

After our visit and lunch, we either cycle or shuttle back to our hotel. Tonight you have the night free to enjoy dinner on your own in town.

Hotel: Le Lion d’Or
Alternative Hotel: Château de Sully
Meals: B
Daily Options: 14, 20 or 25 miles (22.5, 32 or40 km)

DAY 5: Visit Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery with our local guide

This morning, we take an invigorating ride – through the verdant countryside, past fragrant orchard fields and old stone farmhouses – to Omaha Beach, perhaps the best-known D-Day landing site. There’ll be free time for lunch here before we join Guillaume Marie, a World War II expert and our local guide. His passion is evident as he leads us along these now-tranquil shores and shares with us the dramatic events that unfolded here. Code-named “Operation Overlord,” the D-Day landings remain the largest military operation in history, and the beaches of Normandy bore the brunt of the invasion. Omaha Beach witnessed the most intense fighting as nearly 7,000 boats hit this coastline, pouring tens of thousands of Allied soldiers onto French shores in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944.

We then cycle the short distance to the American Cemetery, a 170-acre, meticulously landscaped memorial overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel. The site contains 9,387 perfectly aligned white crosses and Stars of David marking the graves of the brave American servicemen and women who perished during World War II. Guillaume will again provide insight and answer questions.

After time to ponder these moving sites, we shuttle to our hotel, La Ferme des Mares, on the outskirts of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (a drive of about 1.5 hours, depending on traffic). The building harbors a unique history: Once an ancient Norman fortification, it later became a sprawling country farmhouse before being transformed into a hotel. We have dinner here this evening.

Hotel: La Ferme des Mares
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 17 or 22 miles (27.5 or 35.5 km)

DAY 6: Explore rural Normandy

Pedal into rural Normandy today for a close-up look of its celebrated fertile pasturelands, dotted with grazing cows and half-timbered country manors. We stop at the town of La Haye du Puits. After the D-Day landings and the liberation of several of the surrounding towns and villages, American troops headed south, to Haye du Puits. The Germans were waiting here and a fierce week-long battle ensued. You can stop to view the monument and stones commemorating the sacrifices of the American 79th Division, 82nd Airbourne and the 90th Division.

We also explore the town’s Wednesday market. A variety of local producers bring their fruits, vegetables and wares to sell. Our Trip Leaders will purchase a few delicacies for our picnic lunch later today.

Our ride continues along country roads banked by neatly trimmed hedgerows to the farm of Alain Dauget, an award-winning cider maker. Since the 1600s, Normandy has been known for its exceptional pommes (apples) and the distinctive beverages they produce, including cider and Calvados, the famous apple brandy named for the region. During our visit, Alain will show us how his apples are harvested, pressed, and fermented to produce his prize cider. Of course, we can sample some for ourselves! A picnic lunch prepared by our Trip Leaders caps off our visit.

After, we cycle to the small town of Lessay. Here, we admire its interesting abbey dating to 1056. Learn how it was bombed in 1944 by the Germans before they retreated from the town. We then ride back to the hotel.

Hotel: La Ferme des Mares
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 13 or 24 miles (22 or 39 km)

DAY 7: Visit Dinan / Saint-Suliac / Saint-Malo

After breakfast, we shuttle approximately 2½ hours to Dinan, a fairytale walled city perched high atop a hill on the edge of Brittany. Here we walk with a local guide along the narrow cobblestone streets of its medieval center, where a splendid Gothic church greets us.

After free time for lunch, we reunite with our bikes at the town’s riverside port and enjoy a scenic reel along the River Rance. We pause to explore Saint-Suliac, a charming village known for its quintessential granite homes draped with fishing nets.

Later, we coast into Saint-Malo, a beautiful medieval fortified city along Brittany’s coast, the legendary home of French corsairs, or privateers – and our home for the next two nights. Our hotel is located outside the walled Old Town at the edge of the beach. During our stay, you can indulge in several spa and therapy rooms, including an indoor, seawater swimming pool.

You’ll have ample time to discover Saint-Malo’s Old Town on your own and select from one of the city’s numerous small restaurants and creperies for dinner.

Hotel: Grand Hotel des Thermes
Meals: B
Daily Options: 12.5 or 25 miles (20 or 40 km)

DAY 8: Cancale / Saint-Malo / Farewell dinner

Today’s ride traces the beautifully rugged Brittany coast. Our first stop is the Jacques Cartier Manor House. In 1534, Cartier crossed the Atlantic and sailed up today’s St. Lawrence River as far as modern-day Montreal. After being decorated as the discoverer of Canada, he settled in this house between Saint-Malo and Cancale. We enjoy a visit and short film about this French hero.

Later, we cycle along the coast, admiring sweeping views from Pointe du Grouin before continuing to the tiny fishing port of Cancale, known for its superior huîtres, or oysters. King Louis XIV was reportedly so enamored of these briny bivalves that he had fresh oysters brought daily from Cancale to Versailles. We have the opportunity to taste them for ourselves, elbow to elbow with locals, during a visit to an oyster market.

After free time for lunch, we return to Saint-Malo on another scenic and splendid ride.
Tonight, we gather at our hotel for a special farewell dinner.

Hotel: Grand Hotel des Thermes
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 13 or 20 miles (21 or 32 km)

DAY 9: Transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport via Mont Saint-Michel / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: You are welcome to join our full-day transfer, via Mont Saint-Michel, to the hotel at Roissy, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. We expect to arrive around 5:30 pm. Or you may make your arrangements to leave the hotel on your own; checkout time is 11:00 am. Trains depart from Saint-Malo to Paris Montparnasse or Paris CDG Airport via Rennes. You are responsible for all transfer arrangements. We recommend you ask your VBT Trip Leaders or the hotel for assistance in making any travel reservations at least one day in advance.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your VBT Trip Leaders and depart for Paris via one of the most visited monuments in France: Mont Saint-Michel. Upon arrival, we meet our local guide at the Tourist Information center. Then, accompany him or her across the causeway to the cone-shaped village in the Gulf of Saint-Malo, resting on an islet like a medieval crown.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island of Saint-Michel is best known for the spectacular and well-preserved Benedictine abbey that sits at its peak. The abbey is surrounded by the winding streets and architecture characteristic of a medieval town. We walk past small houses, shops and street stalls along its outermost perimeter close to shore. Above these stand the 13th-century monastic buildings, outstanding examples of Gothic architecture. The entire islet is crowned by the abbey church, which soars roughly 240 feet above sea level.

After free time for lunch on your own, rejoin the shuttle and transfer to our hotel, located near Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris (a drive of approximately 4.5 hours, depending on traffic). This evening is free for you to dine in the hotel’s restaurant and enjoy its amenities.

Hotel: Hotel Mercure Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for home

After breakfast*, transfer by shuttle to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel entrance area at the designated transfer time. The shuttle is complimentary for hotel guests and runs approximately every 20 minutes. Please ask hotel reception for exact times. Upon leaving the bus, take the elevator down one level to level 4 and make sure that you follow the signs the correct terminal for your flight departures.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times when breakfast is served.

Meals: B

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Hotel Mercure Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

The 4-star hotel Mercure Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is in the heart of Charles de Gaulle Airport and provides a free airport shuttle service. It features a fitness room and a heated indoor pool overlooking the hotel's gardens. Savor gourmet French and international cuisine at the hotel restaurant, or tapas and cocktails in the trendy bar, whose wine list was created by Olivier Poussier, the World's Best Sommelier 2000. Computer terminals are available in the hotel lobby. The décor of its spacious guest rooms and suites were inspired by the world of Parisian high fashion. All are non-smoking and have a 40-inch LCD TV with satellite channels and free, high-speed WiFi access. Each soundproof room features air conditioning, tea- and coffee-making facilities and a minibar.
Free WiFi Included

Château de Sully

Situated in the Calvados region of Normandy, this charming property, elegantly converted from an 18th-century château, is surrounded by magnificent landscaping that includes an English garden and centuries-old trees. Enjoy the hotel’s beautifully appointed restaurant, fitness center, sauna, hot tub and indoor swimming pool, whose sliding windows open out onto a stunning view. Each of the 13 rooms in the château is individually decorated in classic French style, and nine rooms are also available in the nearby manor. All include cable/satellite television, telephone, in-room safe and Internet access.
Free WiFi Included

Grand Hotel des Thermes

Situated at the edge of the English Channel, Grand Hotel des Thermes is the perfect spot to unwind after a day of biking. Since 1881, the hotel has been a vacation retreat for European royalty, and it continues that tradition of excellence today, ensuring that your stay is exceptional. As a guest, you’ll enjoy free access to the swimming pool, sauna, hammam (Turkish-style bath) and fitness area. The hotel also boasts a popular spa with a selection of treatments, a bar and three restaurants. All rooms have zip-and-link beds and a private balcony.
Free WiFi Included

La Ferme des Mares

Offering country chic in a former fortified Norman farm that’s been converted into a luxury hotel, La Ferme des Mares is a stylish hideaway where you’ll always find the warmest of welcomes. Resting by quiet salt marshes, the hotel is just minutes from beautiful sandy beaches. Spend an afternoon walking along the coast, or stay a bit closer to your room and enjoy the hotel’s pleasant garden. Each of La Ferme des Mares’ rooms features its own bathroom (complete with hairdryer and complimentary bath-care products), flat-screen television, complimentary WiFi Internet access, telephone, black-out blinds and luxurious soft furnishings. The boutique hotel also boasts its own in-house restaurant.
Free WiFi Included

Pullman Paris Bercy

The Pullman Paris Bercy lies at the heart of the Bercy Village pedestrian complex of Paris, near the Grande Bibliothèque and Palais Omnisport stadium and the Bastille and Marais districts. Indulge in contemporary French cuisine made with fresh, regional produce in the hotel’s restaurant Café Ké. Enjoy a drink in Le Point Bar or on the bar’s patio. And relax in the sauna and fitness center. Your air-conditioned room features a cable/satellite television, telephone, minibar, coffeemaker and in-room safe. WiFi Internet access is available for an additional fee.
Free WiFi Included

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