France

Versailles to Mont-Saint-Michel Bike

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.





Itinerary



Start: Bordeaux, near Place de la Bourse, 09:00, day one. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.


Finish: Carcassonne, 09:00, day eight.


Day 1

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).

Moulin de Vilgris, or Auberge de l'Ecureuil

Day 2

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

Day 3

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

Day 4

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

Day 5

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

Day 6

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

Normandie Hotel, or Hôtel du Béryl de Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, Bagnoles-de-l’Orne

Day 7

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

Day 8

Farewell

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



Description



Route expectations:

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.




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.



Map & Elevations





Click here for the elevation profile
Day # Daily distance
1
  ~25km
2
~70km
3
~59km
4
~58km
5
~40km
6
~54km
7
  ~48km





Learn more





Costs



US 3835 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

US 3325 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 room
surcharge

US 855 C 990





All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.