Cycling on and off-road
Whether you want to amble along leafy lanes devoid of traffic, re-trace stages of the Tour de France, watch cyclists race against the clock in the Duo-Normand or whether you prefer to leave the tarmac behind just to explore or to test your full-suspension to the max, Normandy has it covered.
To the north are the long stretches of coastline with roads running parallel, often with off-road tracks even closer to the sea. Further inland are rolling hills and deserted roads. Still further to the south are the rocky ridges of Swiss Normandy. They're certainly no competition for the real Switzerland, but there are plenty of short, steep climbs to test the lungs and legs and rocky descents to test your technique.
There are a number of cycling routes, both on and off-road, clearly marked. The countryside is dotted with literally dozens of waymarked MTB tracks carrying the official signposting. They are graded depending on their difficulty and/or length and range from those in Swiss Normandy that are all up or down, to those closer to Cormolain where even the seriously unfit can have fun.
France is literally covered in sentiers, tracks for farmers. Unlike in Britain where these tracks are owned by the local farmer, but over which the public sometimes has right of way, in France the tracks are owned by the commune and have the same access rights as tarmac roads.
The tracks are clearly marked on the larger-scale IGN series of maps and are usually very easy to follow, as they're still in regular use by farmers and, occasionally walkers. Every now and again one has been ploughed up (usually illegally) and disappeared. Often, an alternative route is just a few hundred yards away.
There also a myriad of waymarked routes. The commune of Cormolain has a couple of short hour-long strolls around the lanes, but there are longer walks in forests, along the beaches or just to the south, in Swiss Normandy, where many of the walks lead you to the spectacular views, although to call it 'Swiss' is a gross exaggeration!
For the more adventurous it is easy to walk a section of one of France's famous Grand Randonnées, as Swiss Normandy has one running through its most spectacular sections, less than an hour to the south.
France is literally covered in sentiers, tracks for farmers. Unlike in Britain where these tracks are owned by the local farmer, but over which the public sometimes has right of way, in France the tracks are owned by the Commune and have the same access rights as tarmac roads.
La Basse Cour
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