Le petit cyclotourisme en France
I have a fridge magnet that reminds me to “celebrate the journey” and whilst I often struggle to do this on my daily commute, when I’m exploring new places I find it easier. Especially when travelling at a slower pace. Especially when travelling under my own steam. So what better excuse to explore a little of northern France by bicycle.
In the UK, cycling is growing hugely in popularity, unfortunately infrastructure and the driving culture hasn’t quite kept up to speed which means that it can be a somewhat stressful experience on a bike, even when you think you’ve found a quiet route. I’d heard that cycling in France was a different experience and fortunately this proved to be true.
My route took me from St Malo to Caen. Rolling off the ferry early in the morning before St Malo had properly woken up provided a good starting point. The aim for the day was to visit Mont St Michel and we followed the coast road until we saw it away over the oyster beds. Actually getting to it became a little tricky until we found a marked cycle track, which then seemed to stop with no onward directions. Whereas all roads lead to Rome, it felt like no roads lead to the Mont St Michel. But all good things come to those who wait and eventually we came to the causeway (now a bridge) and approached the island.
Onwards with the journey and my highlight from day 2 was a “meal deal” from the boulangerie in St Pois. A baguette and an exquisite pastry to take out, please! Town squares, antique shops and peaceful cycling.
Day 3 involved the D-Day beaches and Pegasus bridge. It was drizzly weather and I could imagine the feeling of arriving on the beaches from the water. There are some smart heritage centres along the route telling the stories, so plenty to see and do if you were to turn it into a destination.
And then on to the ferry port and back to Blighty.