Seven nights; seven days of moderately easy cycling through the countryside of northern France, with visits to heritage sites and ancient castles on the way to the mesmerizing island of Mont-Saint-Michel.
“I liked the variety in the terrain and scenery. Just enough time was spent on historical sites.” – Patricia S.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- The medieval village of Rochefort-en-Yvelines.
- Opportunity to explore the castle of Madame de Maintenon.
- The famous Château de Chambord
- A night in Chartres, near its UNESCO heritage cathedral and many lovely bridges across the river Eure
- UNESCO world heritage site, and “Marvel of the West”, le Mont-Saint-Michel
This is primarily an easy route, but some days may fall into the moderate category. You can expect time to stop and small the roses, but some of the rides may be on more hilly terrain.
An easy to moderate ride on an established long-distance bike route. Rolling hills provide rewarding challenges, while traffic free sections and sightseeing stops allow for tranquil enjoyment. Traffic-free sections mostly on crushed-stone cycle paths best suited to hybrid bikes but smooth enough for road riders.
- DAY 1: Introductions, ~25 km
- DAY 2: ~70 km
- DAY 3: ~60 km
- DAY 4: ~58 km
- DAY 5: ~54 km
- DAY 6: ~48 km & Farewells
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Versailles, 14:00, day one.
Finish: Caen, 11:00, day eight.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Versailles to Rambouillet. 25km
Meet in Versailles early afternoon, then transfer ~45 minutes to a greenway – once the site of an experimental ‘air-cushion’ rail line – where you can familiarize yourself with riding on the now traffic-free trail. Beyond Limours you will enter the Chevreuse Valley Natural Park, and will explore the medieval village of Rochefort-en-Yvelines – a good preparation of your senses for a week of French countryside cycling. D (Meal inclusions are shown for guided trips. Please note that self-guided trips include breakfast only).
Rambouillet to Chartres. 70km
Early in today’s ride the grounds of Château Rambouillet await exploration. Today is a day for châteaux, as mid-day affords the opportunity to explore the castle of Madame de Maintenon – wife of sun king Louis XIV. Rest tonight in Chartres, near its UNESCO heritage cathedral and many lovely bridges across the river Eure. BL
Hotel Jehan De Beauce, Chartres
Chartres to Thiron-Gardais. 59km
Navigate out of Chartres in the morning and enter the rolling fields of the Beauce Plain – this breadbasket scenery inspired Marcel Proust to write of it in À la Recherche du Temps Perdu. The ride passes through Illiers-Combray, where one can visit the museum dedicated to the author is his aunt’s former residence. As you enter the Perche region the fields yield to forest in Perche Regional Park. We like to think that the quiet hilly roads into Thiron-Gardais are tribute to the ‘Gray’ monks and their order’s emphasis on manual labour. BD
l’Auberge de l’Abbaye, Thiron-Gardais
Thiron-Gardais to Mortagne-au-Perche. 58km
This morning’s first 20km take you to Nogent-le-Rotrou to experience the town’s castle and ancient dungeon. The afternoon features 30kms of traffic-free trail, making passage through this part of the Perche region much easier than during the 100 years war. BLD
Hotel de Tribunal, Mortagne au Perche
Mortagne-au-Perche to Alençon. 40km
The cycling on greenways continues for much of today’s ride as it enters the Normandy-Maine regional park. Today is a shorter ride, with time in the afternoon for exploration of the bustling town of Alençon. BLD
Château de Saint Paterne, Alençon
Alencon to Bagnoles-de-l’Orne. 54km
Be prepared for a challenging today, climbing steadily in the morning to the château in Carrouges. Well-deserving muscles will appreciate the thermal bath treatments at our destination in Bagnoles-de-l’Orne. Features in this interesting town also include arboreal adventure at Le Bois Parcours ropes courses, and a charming lakeside casino. BL
St-Hilaire-du-Harcouët to Mont-Saint-Michel. 48km
The last part of this bike route is still being developed, and until it is ready, we include a short morning transfer so that you can enjoy the approach to and arrive in time to explore the “Marvel of the West”, le Mont-Saint-Michel. The route’s minor roads increasingly reveal le Mont in its bay, building anticipation for a sight to which no photography can do justice. BLD
Manoir de la Roche Torin, Courtils
After breakfast, transfer to the TGV (train de grande vitesse – high-speed train) station in nearby Caen, from where there are several departures daily to Paris and other points in Europe. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Guided: C 4375 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 5 dinners, route notes and maps, luggage handling, van and guide support, taxes
Self-Guided: C 3795 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, route notes and maps, daily luggage transfers, on call support, taxes
Single Occupancy: 990
Aluminum Racing: na
Carbon Racing: 455
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2022 Guided dates:
- Apr 17-24
- May 8-15
- Jun 12-19
- Oct 2-9
2023 Guided dates:
- Apr 16-23
- May 7-14
- Jun 11-18
- Oct 1-8
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Interested in custom or private departures?
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
Choosing France for a cycling holiday is a popular choice for a reason: the culture, cuisine, and demeanor towards cycling from locals combine to give riders a real sense of the place as they pass through on two wheels. This partially traffic-free route follows an established, signposted, long-distance cycle path. You will begin at the ostentatiously opulent palace of Versailles, and after enjoying its historical significance, will stay in a mix of tiny villages and historic cities as you ride through northern France, enjoying its other treasures. The ride takes you through regional parks of the Chevreuse valley, the Perche Region, and Normandie-Maine before finishing at the impossibly romantic sight of Mont Saint Michel. Join us for this quintessential bike ride with French comfort and abundance.