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The Tour de Manche by bike in Normandy

  • 330 km

This major route of over 750 miles with a strong maritime flavour in both France and Britain, links Normandy with Brittany and the South West of England. On the Norman side, this route crosses the department of the Manche from Cherbourg down to the UNESCO world heritage site of the Mont-Saint-Michel, following the Vire Valley. With the ferry arriving directly at the port of Cherbourg, it’s a perfect itinerary for cyclists looking for a break with the bonus of great places to stop off for a meal and to visit along the way.

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Stages of « The Tour de Manche by bike in Normandy »

  • Cherbourg / Brix

    Cherbourg / Brix [15.8 km]

    A short section of the route then takes you from the biggest artificial harbour in the world (dating from 1783) to another highly significant historical location - one associated with the Normandy Brix family, whose most illustrious descendent is Robert the Bruce. Visit the Castle ruins; and, if you are passing through in October, take a tour of the traditional St. Denis market.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Brix / Bricquebec

    Brix / Bricquebec [12.1 km]

    Leaving behind the pleasant town of Brix, the going is easy along quiet lanes past farms and villages: watch out for the high banks separating the fields, meadows and orchards - so typical of this part of lower Normandy. Soon Bricquebec is in view: a chance to stop for refreshments close to the ancient castle.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Bricquebec / St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte

    Bricquebec / St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte [13.6 km]

    Dating back to the Vikings, Bricquebec’s history is matched by its monuments: the Abbey Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the ruined castle are well worth visiting before setting off to St Sauveur le Vicomte – which itself has its own 10th century Abbey, and a museum dedicated to locally-born writer Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte / La Haye-du-Puits

    St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte / La Haye-du-Puits [16.1 km]

    The 15km stretch to the pretty, medieval cobbled town of La Haye-du-Puits finds you cycling along the disused railway line, flanked by trees. The stubborn stump of the 11th century dungeon remains, and so too does a reputation for witchcraft. Badly damaged during the war, the town has been thoughtfully restored.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • La Haye-du-Puits / Baupte

    La Haye-du-Puits / Baupte [12.9 km]

    You’re now cycling through some very pretty parts of the flat, low lying marshlands of the National Park – keep your binoculars handy to see the rich array of birdlife that makes its home here, particularly during the spring and autumn migrations when the skies come alive. Don’t miss the spectacular sunrises and sunsets!

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Baupte / Carentan

    Baupte / Carentan [8.6 km]

    This marshland is a managed wetland park set up to conserve biodiversity – but it’s a working landscape too, its rich pastures making Carentan a major centre of the regional dairy industry. It is also an ancient port with several ancient churches and a museum commemorating the D-Day landing at Utah Beach.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Carentan / St-Jean-de-Daye

    Carentan / St-Jean-de-Daye [25 km]

    During this stretch of your journey you move from the lower lying wetlands, with their characteristic network of channels and canals, through to the hedged pastures that are home to many of the stud farms that make this part of France the centre of the racehorse industry– watch out for signs to the local ‘hippodromes’.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • St-Jean-de-Daye / St-Lo

    St-Jean-de-Daye / St-Lo [23.1 km]

    Follow the pretty, winding Vire Canal through lush countryside all the way to St Lo. Heavily destroyed in 1944, “The Capital of Ruins” has risen from the ashes to become a lively, bustling place, with enough reminders of the past to make this town a fascinating diversion – including an abbey church and relics of the old citadel.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • St-Lô / Condé-sur-Vire

    St-Lô / Condé-sur-Vire [12.1 km]

    The short distance to Conde-sur-Vire takes you through some of the most picturesque parts of the valley - with hedgerows full of wild flowers, and sheep, horses and cattle grazing in peaceful pastures as you wind your way along. There are also plenty of tempting bars and creperies to sample local delicacies!

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Condé-sur-Vire / Pont-Farcy

    Condé-sur-Vire / Pont-Farcy [19.5 km]

    Following the Vire Valley your route then winds through rural villages and pretty hamlets to the mediaeval town of Tessy-sur-Vire, which has some fine granite buildings. En route, look out for a rocky outcrop called ‘Les Roches de Ham’ dominating the valley - some 100 metres high, and offering spectacular views.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Pont-Farcy / La Ferrière-Harang

    Pont-Farcy / La Ferrière-Harang [15 km]

    Pont Farcy, now bypassed from the main road, is a modestly built village but one with a long and proud history: it has its origins in Gallo-Roman times and it has long been an important inland port (some 100km from the coast) and a crossing place over the Vire – notably for those making pilgrimages to Mont St Michel.

    Difficulty: expert View details
  • La Ferrière-Harang / Vire

    La Ferrière-Harang / Vire [18.4 km]

    This part of the route takes you past one of the most spectacular edifices along the Vire: the Viaduc de la Souleuvre. Once a hugely impressive railway viaduct designed by Gustave Eiffel, arching over the valley on five granite pillars, it survived the War but was demolished in 1970 – and is now popular for bungee jumping.

    Difficulty: Intermediate View details
  • Vire / Sourdeval

    Vire / Sourdeval [24.2 km]

    The busy market town of Vire has ancient roots, but it was heavily reconstructed after Allied bombing in 1944. Look beyond the present day and you’ll find remains of the 12th century fortifications built by Henry I, ruler of England and Normandy. And do try Vire’s culinary speciality – the Andouille smoked sausage.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Sourdeval / Mortain

    Sourdeval / Mortain [18.2 km]

    Leaving Sourdeval you enter very pretty country: the area around Mortain is surrounded by woods and here, amidst tranquil, shaded surroundings in a deep, green-wooded gorge, the waters of Cance and Cancon cascade to create waterfalls. Mortain also hosts a memorial to the heroism of the defenders of Hill 314.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • Mortain / St-Hilaire-du-Harcouët

    Mortain / St-Hilaire-du-Harcouët [14.9 km]

    The enchanting Cance waterfalls are a focal point of the powerful local terrain, carving between steep hills, an untamed heart of ‘Armorican Normandy’. The greenway then heads towards St-Hilaire which precedes your arrival in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel.

    Difficulty: family View details
  • St-Hilaire-du-Harcouët / Ducey

    St-Hilaire-du-Harcouët / Ducey [19 km]

    Stronghold between Brittany, Cotentin and the Loire country, St Hilaire du Harcouët offers many activities during the summer around the Prieuré lakes. This stage of la Véloscénie and the Petit Tour de Manche, travelling along a greenway, is full of life.

    Difficulty: Intermediate View details
  • Ducey / Mont-Saint-Michel

    Ducey / Mont-Saint-Michel [31.1 km]

    The final stage of la Véloscénie and a spectacular resting point on the Tour de Manche, where the greenway rolls all the way to the mouth of the Sélune. From there on, as you travel on shared roads, you can indulge in a feast for the eyes: Mont-Saint-Michel rises up, a colourful panorama, set like a jewel in the circle of the bay.

    Difficulty: Intermediate Favourite View details
  • Mont-Saint-Michel / Le Vivier-sur-Mer

    Mont-Saint-Michel / Le Vivier-sur-Mer [28.8 km]

    There’s so much to look for and appreciate as you cycle along this section – the Couesnon River, the Mont itself, the marshes, polders, historic St. Anne’s chapel, the charming village of Cherrueix, (famous for sand yachting) then the Cherrueix windmills – and then into the famous ‘oyster port’ of Vivier sur Mer.

    Difficulty: family View details