____Schwingis Southampton

Cycling in Normandy

Cap de la Hauge
Cap de la Hauge

Cottage in the Normandy
Cottage in the

The Normandy is only a 5 hour ferry ride away from the English South coast and it can be easily reached from Southampton. It is a fantastic place to cycle for a couple of days and especially in spring the landscape is stunning. In the spring of 2003 a friend of mine an I did cycling trip on the Cotentin peninsula.

Getting there:
In order to be as flexible as possible we brought our tend with us and used a 1:100000 road map for the planning. We decided to take the midnight ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg in order to save half a day and therefore left Southampton around 6 in the evening. It turned out that this early start was unnecessary as it only took about 3 hours to cycle the 40 km to Portsmouth but at least we were on the save side. We used a couple of inland B roads to avoid the heavy traffic on A27 and with the right map (OS Explorer 119) that wasn't to difficult. Once we reached Portsmouth a good net of cycling lanes brought us to the ferry terminal.

Day 1: Around Cap de la Hague

Distance: 75km
Time: 10 h

After a sleepless night on the ferry (we had "Recreational" seats that were cheap but extremely uncomfortable) we reached Cherbourg at 6 in the morning. Our first encounter with France was a Patisserie where we got our first of many fantastic French pastries.

With fresh strength and great expectations we left Cherbourg on the road following the signs to Querqueville. What we did not know yet was the fact that this day would become an extremely hilly and stormy one. As we wanted to cover about 100 km a day we decided to keep on small country lanes instead of doing a lot of off road. Therefore we followed the D45 which turned inland soon after Urvill. And this was when we discovered that the inland of the peninsula is about 100 meters high. What followed was a strenuous up and down hill along a wild and picturesque coast till we finally reached Cap de la Hague in the late morning.

After a good rest we started climbing the central hill of the Cape using small country lanes instead of the main road and bypassing the nuclear recycling plant La Hague. By the time we reached the lovely village Beaumont-Hague it was high time for a lunch and we found a nice place to have a fortifying meal.
The afternoon started easy enough with quite a flat bit on the D37 southwards but soon a strong west wind came up. It increased when we turned on the coast road D64 after Vastville. The route along the coast was very nice and there was plenty to see. By the time we passed Flamanville the wind reached gale force and even cycling downhill required additional pedaling sometimes. Therefore we decided to stop shortly after in le Rozel where we found a very nice but extremely expensive campsite. Luckily we found a wind protected pitch behind a sand dune so that our tend survived the storm which covered us in tons of sand.

2nd day of the Normandy tour -->


Time: 4 days

Distance: 410 km