By: Condor Ferries on 05/06/2013
Enjoy the Countryside
Route du Cidre - Driving
The "Cider Trail" is a 40 kilometres tourist circuit incorporating some of Normandy's finest cider producers and distillers of "Cambremer Vintage". The trail runs to the east of Caen, and winds through a number of quintessential French villages that are typical of the Pays d'Auge and surrounding countryside.
The journey starts in the beautiful village of Cambremer, where you can relax with a coffee or glass of cider on the Place de l'Eglise, or explore the works of local artists amongst the charming beams of the Grange aux Dîmes Gallery.
Around the corner is Calvados Pierre Huet, one of Normandy's finest producers of calvados and pommeau (a blend of apple juice and apple brandy). The location is simply stunning, with the distillery barns set behind the beautiful colombage Manor house and orchards. Tours and tastings are also available throughout the day.
A number of other cider producers and picturesque villages are peppered across the route. To the north of Cambremer the Dupont family have been producing quality cider for generations. Visitors here are encouraged to picnic on their lawns during the summer and take in the spectacular views across Victot-Pontfol.
Lillebonne Circular via Norville Cycle Route - Cycling
The Lillebonne Circular via Norville Cycle Route is a moderate 23-mile ride along the River Sienne and the Parc Naturel Régional des Boucles de la Seine Normande.
The journey is perfect for young families, and begins on the D473 Rue du Havre in Lillebonne, and makes its way towards the River Sienne along the D373 and D437, passing the quaint town of Notre-Dame-De-Gravenchon along the way. The path along the River is all off road, and the surrounding parkland is beautiful. The River itself is particularly spectacular, with its wide berth and gentle rambling through the countryside. The kids will enjoy watching the large ships making their way up to Rouen and beyond.
Tour De Manche – Cycling
On arrival in St. Malo cyclists are able to jump straight onto designated cycle paths either heading east deeper into Normandy or West into Brittany as part of the Tour De Manche cycle Route. Both routes reveal an array of points of interest, unique and largely undiscovered landscapes and can be enjoyed in whole or in part by sportsmen and families alike. Click here to find out more.
St.Malo to Roscoff - Cycling
The journey first takes you to Cap Fréhel where you are presented with breath-taking views of the Channel Islands before tracing the coast through heath and dunes until the beautiful sweeping bay of Saint Brieuc. If you head a little further around the coast you will be greeted by the quaint fishing town of Paimpol and a series of truly unique rock formations at Perros-Guirec. From here the island of Callot, one of Brittany’s most important ornithology reserves and home of a grey seal colony, forms part of a group of rocky islands known as ‘Les Sept Iles’ and is reachable by boat. It is also host to the striking Taureau Castle. The final leg of the journey guides you past the bay of Morlaix to the historic town of Roscoff at the heart of the ‘Pink Granite Coast’ ; renowned for its 16th century belfry ‘Notre Dame de Croas-Batz’.
St.Malo to Cherbourg - Cycling
The western route from St. Malo to Cherbourg is also known as the Petit Tour De Manche and is approximately 350km in total. This path leads you out of Brittany and into the green landscapes of Normandy (via the famous Le Mont- Saint-Michel), and onto the town of Mortain where the Cance River gives rise to a series of picturesque waterfalls, including the Grande Cascade, the largest waterfall in North West France. The path then winds through the Vire Valley, an area characterised by rolling hills and magnificent gorges, before arriving at St Lô.
The next section of the journey reveals the beauty of Contenin National Park and theBessin Marshes which are littered with charming villages where local delicacies such as cheese, ciders and seafood can be sampled. Finally, after a stop-off at the ancient port of Carentan (the battle-ground setting for the Normandy landings), you’ll arrive at the stunning golden sands of Portbail before the final port of Cherbourg.
The Brittany Peninsular - Driving
Brittany has a rugged coastline of almost 1,000km and an interior of beautiful forests and historical sites, making the peninsula well worth exploring by car.The N176/N12will bring you out of St. Malo and into the walled medieval town of Dinan where you will find historical attractions such as gothic churches, the Château de Dinan and the Jacobins Theatre dating from 1224. Continuing on the N12you will pass the historic towns of Lamballe and Saint- Brieuc before reaching Morlaix; a location renowned as for its array of sea sports including kite flying, sand bugging and surfing.
Approximately 2.5 hours’ drive from St. Malo you will find the naval port of Brest and one of its major attractions ‘Oceanopolis’; a centre where 50 aquariums are divided into three climatic zones (polar, temperate and tropical) and stocked with over 1,000 varieties of marine life. A further 50 minutes’ drive on the N165 will bring you to distinctive Celtic town of Quimper famed for its pottery and flowing rivers through the heart of the town. Alternatively, an inland detour of 35 minutes brings you to the stunning Montsd'Arrée Mountains and its surrounding moorland where a viewing at sunrise is highly recommended.
Continuing on the N165 southof Brest you will discover the pretty towns of Lorient and Vannes and finally, Carnac where Brittany’s most famous ancient monument – the standing stones of Carnac – can be found.Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes inland from Carnac (following the N166/ N24) lies the capital of the Brittany region, Rennes. Here you can enjoy the tranquility of the Parc du Thabor or the adrenaline rush of the new sky park boasting 9 different trails through the zip-wired treetops. From Rennes, St. Malo is under an hours’ drive away.
Normandy Abbey Trail – Driving
The Normandy abbey’s driving route will guide you to the most prestigious and mysterious architectural sites which can be found nestled in the fascinating historic towns and lush green countryside across the region. Norman abbeys can be dated back over 1,000 years and some fall on great pilgrimage routes, whilst others have developed to become museums or cultural centres.
Just 50 minutes from St. Malo along the N176/D976 you can’t miss the World Heritage Site, Le Mont-Saint- Michel. That is unless, a 30 minute diversion to the charming fishing village of Cancale, and the ‘oyster and seafood capital’ of Brittany appeals to your taste buds.
The scenic route of the A84 then leads you into the coastal town of Caen, known for its historical buildings constructed during the reign of William the Conqueror including the magnificently grand Abbaye aux Dames and Abbaye aux Hommes. Following the A13 east for just over 1 hour 30 minutes you will see the landscape transform to scenic woodland as you enter the National Park ‘ForêtDomaniale de Brotonne’ en route to the ruins of Jumièges Abbey.
A further 20 minutes driving along the meandering River Seinewill take you to Fontenelle Abbey inSaint Wandrille, founded in AD 649 and still in use as a monastery today. From here, Saint-Georges de Boscherville Abbey is also close by and can be found amongst ancient wood-framed houses. Just 17minuteswest fromSaint-Martin-de-Boscherville(along the D982) is the capital of Normandy, Rouen. Here there are plenty of attractions to explore including; the Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Ouen's Abbey and the Jardin des Plantes de Rouen; a botanical garden dating to 1840.