It's our last day on the road as we set out from the Alabaster Coast of Etretat and start heading inland. The weather has changed overnight and the hills are covered in heavy clouds. Not to worry, as we have two fantastic highlights today. First, the fantastic gothic cathedral in Rouen and then Claude Monets' home and inspiration for many of his works, the beautiful small village of Giverny. From here we head out onto the highway for the last few miles of the trip to Versailles, where we end the tour in style at an excellent local bistro. Thank you France, it's been epic!
We step back in history as we spend our second rest day on the famous beaches of Normandy. Here, on the 6th of June, 1944, the Allies began the invasion of Europe that brought an end to the horrors of World War II. We visit Pointe du Hoc where the Rangers where amongst the first Allied soldiers to set foot in Normandy, walk along the endless sands of Omaha beach and finally pay our respects at the American cemetery. It's been an emotional day...
Today's all about Mont Saint Michel. One of the most visited sites in France the old monastery is sits on a small rocky island just off the coast of Normandy. We get there early in the morning and have the island almost to ourselves as we explore its fascinating history. To top it all off we then have some of the best riding of the tour on some of the small back roads that snake through Normandy. The day ends with an impromptu cocktail party on the patio with some of the excellent local cidre.
Our tour swings north as we ride across Brittany towards the English Channel. We ride past prehistoric stone circles, quaint small villages nestled in hidden valleys and then stop for lunch in a secluded cove where Malcolm has expertly prepared a traditional Edelweiss picnic. After feasting on local specialties we ride across an ancient volcano, stop to buy some real French cidre and finally reach the old port town of Roscoff, our stop for the night.
It's another fabulous day as we continue along the Loire valley towards the Atlantic ocean. Our first destination is Saint Nazaire, famous for its massive submarine pens built by the German Army during World War II. We take a break from riding to explore the pens, climb deep into a 1960s French submarine and then eat a very tasty selection of local seafood. The afternoon is spent riding along the coast of Brittany and purchasing some of the world famous Fleur de Sel, that is harvested in this region.
The second day starts with the best possbile conditions!
The sun is up, the temperature is perfect and sky is blue!
We leave the hotel and soon after some traffic we are already in the beautiful hills of the loire valley!
We ride on small backroads and thorugh some beautiful typical villages and once in a while we see some incredible chateau!
Soon the roads start to be different and they look like we would be on a racetrack...and actually we are!!! We arrived in Le Mans! Probably the most famous racetrack in the world where they race the 24h endurance race!
We have the possibility to enter the musuem and also to see some really fast bikes on the racetrack!!!
The weather is getting warmer and the people hungry so we have lunch in a small french reastaurant not far from the racetrack.
After a nice meal we start the bikes towards Angers. We arrive soon enough to take a walk around this beautiful medieval city!
It's our first day on the road as we set out from the royal city of Versailles towards the UNESCO listed cathedral of Chartres. Here we marvel at one 9f the world's most beautiful gothic style cathedrals, before hopping back on our bikes. Next stop, the famous Loire valley and the Chateau de Chambord for lunch and some fantastic pictures. The temperature begins to climb as we tackle the last few miles of the day towards Tours, our stop for the night.