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Backroad cycling FranceCÔTE D'ALBÂTRE AND THE BAIE DE SOMME A backroad cycle tour along the beautiful coast of Normandy

Always on the lookout for contrast, light and atmosphere, painters never choose an area by chance: they tend to be great places for holidays, places to wind down and relax… It's not only a few painters that fell in love with Normandy, but an entire movement! Between the grey and blue hues of the English Channel, the ever changing skies, the white chalk cliffs of Etretat, the traditional ochre cob of the houses and their abundant flower arrangements, the Côte d'Albâtre is far more colourful than one imagines. The impressionists had stumbled upon a never ending source of inspiration… Inspiration as well for our cycling tours in Normandy: a superb mix of quiet coastal backroads, interspersed with charming fishing ports and small villages, the cliffs of Etretat, but also the wonderful Fécamp, Saint Valéry en Caux and Veules les Roses. The route follows the coastline, as we head towards the estuary of the Baie de Somme with its nature reserve and abundance of birdlife. We take the time to appreciate the Belle Epoque architecture of Mers les Bains and the medieval Saint Valéry sur Somme, before finishing our journey in the small fishing ports along the bay.

Self-guided tour: from 625€ - Details Duration : 7 days | Level : Customer satisfaction : - 0 reviews
+33 458 140 435 A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.
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This tour is E-bike compatible

Highlights

  • The cliffs of Etretat
  • The small port of Fécamp
  • Veules les Roses, one of the most beautiful villages in France
  • The Baie de Somme, a veritable ornithological treasure

Description


Day 1: Le Havre - Etretat

Itinerary start: France Bike Trips services begin on day 1 at 10am at Le Havre SNCF railway station. On request we can book the previous nights accommodation for you in Le Havre.

The ride begins with a tour of the centre of Le Havre, whose city centre isn’t the prettiest, having paid a heavy price during the second world war. However, some modern architectural projects along the docks are revitalizing the Norman city. The modern tower of the Saint Joseph du Havre church is the city's emblem, and Le Volcan, one of the most important theatres in France, also boasts avant-garde architecture. We then leave Le Havre and head north along the Côte d’Albâtre, our guide throughout the week. First opportunity to discover the surrounding countryside, as well as the many small villages perched above the coastline. We are now in the heart of the Caux region, a vast limestone plateau named after its first inhabitants. The coast takes its name from the colour of alabaster, a mineral whose many shades of white are present in the steep cliffs that plunge into the sea. We end the day at one of the symbols of the Côte d’Albâtre: the cliffs of Etretat, where some superb tracks allow us to reach the cliffs of Etretat by bike. We then settle into a small hotel in the centre of the village, before enjoying our first night by the sea.

  • Level 1 and 2: approx. 40 km; altitude gain: approx. 250 m
Day 2: Etretat - Fécamp

Today’s stage is deliberately short, offering plenty of time to enjoy Etretat. After breakfast, an optional walk along the "Chemin des Douaniers", a superb path that follows the coastline. The walk is rewarded with great views of the pierced Etretat rock arches, and can be adapted according to your energy and enthusiasm, with the full tour taking between 1h30 and 2h. We then pick up our bikes and head for Yport via several “valleuses”, dips in the land offering natural access points to the sea, and characteristic of the Caux region. But the valleuses are also synonymous with descents... and climbs! Yport is a small, charming fishing port, and a great place to stop for a coffee and discover the village... Our route then takes us to the pretty village of Fécamp, whose activity is predominantly maritime. Fish and seafood take pride of place here, and the numerous restaurants offer the opportunity to sample the local delicacies after a walk along the seafront.

  • Level 1: approx. 20 km; altitude gain: approx. 150 m
  • Level 2: approx. 35 km; altitude gain: approx. 300 m
Day 3: Fécamp – Veulettes-sur-Mer

The departure from Fécamp this morning is particularly tonic: the town is set deep into the valley of Valmont, which means we have to climb up and onto the nearby headland that overlooks the town and the sea. We continue our discovery of the coastline and the Cauchois country, with its peaceful villages surrounded by lush meadows, reed beds, peat bogs and forests. The narrow country lanes that criss cross the local countryside offer an ideal terrain for cycling. The local architecture also offers plenty to admire with its traditional cottages of red brick and thatched roofs. We pass through Sassetot le Mauconduit, whose chateau served as a residence for the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, otherwise known as Empress Sisi. A final descent at the end of the day leads us straight to our overnight stop, Veulettes-sur-Mer. Its long, broad, pebble beach offers a superb spot to watch the sun set over the high white cliffs and the Butte du Catelier. A great place to relax and unwind!

  • Level 1: approx. 30 km; altitude gain: approx. 150 m
  • Level 2: approx. 35 km; altitude gain: approx. 400 m
Day 4: Veulettes-sur-Mer – Veules-les-Roses

Shortly after leaving Veulettes, we stop at the Château de Janville, a beautiful 17th century building with a dovecote, set in a lush green setting. A quiet back road that turns into a track leads us straight to Saint Valéry en Caux, a pretty little Cauchois port, home to fishing boats and pleasure boats alike. We pass in front of the "Maison Ladiré", a 16th century house. The small lanes surrounding the port are full of flower displays, and the port itself beats to the rhythm of the returns from sea and the fish market. About halfway through the stage, Saint Valéry is a perfect place for lunch. The itinerary then takes us on to one of the prettiest destinations on the route: Veules-les-Roses. The village is considered to be one of the most beautiful in France, and possibly the most beautiful in Normandy! Home to the Veules, which holds the record for the shortest river in France at only 1194m, Veules-les-Roses is full of hidden gems and is well worth discovering, on the bikes or on foot. A rare sight, the banks of the river are lined with bright green “Cressonnières” (watercress cultivation). An aquatic plant, watercress develops extremely well in the local climate. Water mills, dovecotes and some half-timbered houses with traditional thatched roofs offer a superb journey back in time! And the many rose bushes that fill the flowerbeds, hedges and walls of the village top off a beautiful and bucolic setting. We settle into our guest house for the night.

  • Level 1: approx. 25 km; altitude gain: approx. 150 m
  • Level 2: approx. 40 km; altitude gain: approx. 250 m
Day 5: Veules-les-Roses - Dieppe

Difficult to leave such a pretty village, and we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you come back for another visit in the future! We head north again today, following the Côte d’Albatre.We pass through Sotteville sur Mer, before hugging the coastline on a narrow back road that leads us to Saint Aubain and Quiberville. We take the time to visit Saint Marguerite sur Mer and its 12th century Romanesque church, before an optional out and back trip to the small lighthouse of Ailly. We also cross the village of Varengeville sur Mer, a popular holiday destination for the Parisian bourgeoisie in centuries past. The level 2 route heads off on an extra loop inland. We pick up a section of the Route du Lin cycle route from Luneray to Pourville sur mer in the Saâne valley. We then drop down once again from the limestone plateau of the Caux region towards the sea. Tonight, we stopover in the town of Dieppe. Dieppe is undoubtedly the Norman town that boasts the richest maritime past. Known as the city of four ports, Dieppe took full advantage of its privileged position: its port offers the closest access to the sea from Paris. Despite paying a heavy price during the Hundred Years' War, as well as during the Second World War, Dieppe nonetheless retains some charming remnants from an era when Parisians began to flock to the beaches of the English Channel. Dieppe Castle also deserves a visit: dating back to the 15th century, it was built to fight against France’s long-standing enemy, England. We settle into a guest house, before making the most of Dieppe’s many restaurants and Norman specialities.

  • Level 1: approx. 30 km; altitude gain: approx. 350 m
  • Level 2: approx. 45 km; altitude gain: approx. 450 m
Day 6: Dieppe - Le Tréport

Second to last stage of our journey, and last stage in Normandy, as tonight’s stopover is on the borders of the Picardie region. Normandy is well known for its cream, its Camembert cheese and its Calvados, much less as a major producer of flax. Two thirds of France's production comes from the fields of the Caux country. Its long, frail stems almost appear to be dancing as they sway gently in the sea breeze. With its many ecological virtues (little need for fertilisers and pesticides, ease of transformation) flax has undergone somewhat of a revival in recent years. You can count yourselves lucky if you get a glimpse of its small, sky blue flowers, whose blossom is particularly short lived and discreet. From village to village, from Belleville sur Mer to Tocqueville sur Eu, our route takes us through the pretty Normandy countryside. At Criel sur Mer, we plunge to the edge of the English Channel and discover its pebble beach, surrounded by the highest chalk cliffs in Europe. The painted wooden bathing huts add a traditional seaside resort feel to the village. The stage route continues to Le Tréport, a pleasant seaside resort, and last Norman stronghold before the plains and the Baie de Somme.

  • Level 1: approx. 30 km; altitude gain: approx. 250 m
  • Level 2: approx. 50 km; altitude gain: approx. 500 m
Day 7: Le Tréport - Baie de Somme - Noyelles-sur-Mer

We leave Le Tréport this morning for the last stage of our journey. The Norman countryside gives way to the department of the Somme and the region of the Picardie. This morning’s itinerary hugs the English Channel, and little by little, the vast Baie de Somme comes into view. The high white cliffs give way to the flat Picardie coast. Our route takes us along a fine line between the land and the sea, as here (unlike the plateau of the Pays de Caux, protected from the sea by its natural cliffs), Man has had to fight against the onslaught of the English Channel. From Cayeux sur Mer we ride along dikes until we reach Saint Valéry en Somme, on the south shore of the bay, one of the three ports, with the Crotoy (north shore) and the Hourdel. The Baie de Somme is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and there are numerous information signs along the route of the bay. The tour finishes in style at Saint Valéry en Somme railway station where we board a small tourist train, whose locomotives date back to the first quarter of the 20th century! The train takes us on a tour of the bay before dropping us off at Noyelles sur Mer, a small town that marks the end of our journey.

  • Level 1 and 2: approx. 35 km; altitude gain: almost zero

Itinerary end: France Bike Trips services end in Noyelles-sur-Mer mid afternoon on day 7. On request we can book the following nights accommodation for you in Noyelles-sur-Mer.

Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.

This tour has not yet received any reviews.

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A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.


Phone number: +33 458 140 435
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A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.

Send the message