There are plenty of cycle routes on offer for just a day out or even short break which suit all levels of ability and experience: an ideal way to combine the great outdoors and have fun with friends and family.
Cycling is a great way to see Normandy and with more than 310 miles (500km) of cycle paths, you can combine the fresh air with sightseeing. It’s a great way of soaking up the local atmosphere and traditions.
Cycling in Manche (Lower Normandy)
The Manche Tourism map above that shows main green routes and cycle ways on the Normandy Peninsula. The Manche Tourism website has further information on cycling in Lower Normandy, including smaller cycling itineraries suited to day bike rides, local maps and brochures that can be ordered and bought on the site, interactive maps of cycling circuits, and a calendar of organised bike rides (or randonnées).
There are also links to what are described as les grands itinéraires à vélo (the grand cycling itineraries in Manche):
* La Véloscénie, the 440km greenway route from Mont St-Michel to Paris;
* Cycle routes around the beaches of Normandy (this link has downloadable PDFs);
* La Vélodyssée, the long-distance Atlantic Coast route that links Devon, in England, to France via Roscoff (Brittany); it passes through Normandy before heading south;
* Tour de Manche, a circular signposted route that will eventually link Devon and Dorset in England to Brittany and Normandy, via assorted ferry links. At the time of writing (December 2012), a shorter Petit Tour de Manche was completed, with the full Tour de Manche circuit expected to be finished during 2013. La Vélodyssée and the two Tour de Manche routes form part of the Cycle West that is developing cross Channel routes.
Cycling in Calvados (Lower Normandy)
The Calvados Tourisme website has a downloadable PDF brochure (in English) with detailed route information and maps. (Note, this link is for the 2012 version, so the link may be updated or out of date soon – please let me know if you find this is the case). There is also much more information on cycling in Calvados on the French version of the website, including a searchable database of local routes, which is relatively easy for non-French speakers to navigate.
Cycling in the Orne (Lower Normandy)
Orne Tourisme has this detailed brochure, which includes maps of local routes; it’s in French but the maps are easy to understand. (It’s a 2011 brochure so will hopefully stay online at that link or be replaced by an updated version – please drop me a line if you notice this or any other link has expired.) The website also carries details of the Orne stages of the La Véloscénie Mont St-Michel to Paris route (there are downloadable PDFs of each of the three local stages).
Cycling in the Eure (Upper Normandy)
A brochure outlining the voies vertes (green ways) and véloroutes (cycle routes) in the Eure can be downloaded from the Eure Tourism website. When I last checked, you could also read it online here.
Cycling in the Seine-Maritime (Upper Normandy)
The Seine Maritime Tourism website includes information on a 45km route between Dieppe and Forges-les-Eaux that forms part of the London-Paris cycleway (the Avenue Verte).