Updated on 18 November 2020
Reading time: 4 minutes
Imagine a foodie tour where you actually burn calories – that’s the dream, right? Well, this guided bike tour of Bayeux will have you pedalling from one place to another, sampling all kinds of delicious Normandy food along the way! We followed local guide Hugo down country lanes and cycle paths, immersing ourselves in Normandy’s amazing sights, tastes and smells...
An easy ride for all
Enjoy a memorable bike tour, cycling at your own pace and indulging your taste buds at every rest-stop! This is the specialism of Hugo’s company, Petite Reine (which literally means Little Queen, a reference to the humble bicycle). Early in the morning, we set off for a 35km bike ride, departing from the pretty medieval town of Bayeux, a must-see in Calvados. Hugo gives us a short briefing on using power-assisted electric bikes. For my first time ever on one, I found it fun, easy to use and brilliant for people like me who enjoy a power boost while pedalling! Much sportier than us, Hugo prefers riding his mountain bike. Off we go in the direction of Asnelles-sur-Mer, cycling down small country lanes through idyllic scenery.
JOURNEY THROUGH HISTORY
Primarily known for its long sandy beach along the D-Day coast, the town of Asnelles is also famous for its shortbread biscuits. On a quick tour of the biscuit factory where they are produced, Hugo purchases some “Tibotins” to sample later on. Our next stop is the town of Arromanches where we discover the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour and the strategic role it played in the D-Day Landings, a fascinating part of our history remarkably well explained by Hugo.
Another Normandy food specialty follows: oysters. We make a stop at the O’Beach, an oyster and wine bar in Arromanches to savour some succulent local oysters. Full of iodine, this healthy snack gives us even more energy to hop back on our bikes to continue this foodies’ adventure.
Visit a snail farm
The back roads and country lanes of Normandy are dotted with pretty tiny villages full of storybook charm. Timbered houses, heritage buildings, old wells preserve their ancient yet timeless character, so photogenic that we have to stop a few times to capture this on camera!
We arrive at a farmhouse, the Ferme de Vailly and are introduced to the friendly owner. Victor is a snail producer, one of France’s most iconic products. He has earnt a reputation for the highest quality of these delectable treats.
‘Snails remind me of my childhood. We used to go and pick wild ones up in nature with my grandfather, get home and cook them in traditional French fashion; simmered in garlic and wine, or stuffed with parsley and garlic butter,’ he recalls with nostalgia.
We follow him to see the snails and equipment, and learn all about about breeding techniques (snail nursery, the reproduction cycle, hibernation, etc).
If, like me, you’re an adventurous eater, then you’ll probably love what comes next. The tasting takes place in the farm shop where we are introduced to a wide range of new flavours sure to tease even the most particular of taste buds. Snails, or escargots in French, actually make for a really delicious dish, washed down with a glass of white wine or local beer.
On our next stop, another local specialty awaits ! We hop on our bikes and head to La Cave Lecornu, a family business in Bayeux growing organic apples to produce cider, calvados, apple juice, liqueur, brandy and jellies. What a great day of cycling and learning about Normandy’s regional cuisine!
BAYEUX AND THE D-DAY LANDING BEACHES
Bayeux is a pretty town in the Calvados département which was spared by the bombings during World War II. It enjoys a rich medieval heritage, with its pretty cobbled streets, halt-timbered houses and a majestic cathedral. Bayeux is the ideal place to stay and explore the D-Day Landing Beaches just a few kilometres away.
Petite Reine Foodie Bike Tours
Timings: 10am-4pm (subject to change)
Visits to local producers may vary depending on the time of year/season
Tours available on request all year round
Tour groups can range from two to 10 people
Tours are either with Hugo or his business partner
Hugo Guillochin: +33 (0)6 80 87 87 37 / firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19-RELATED HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES
Petite Reine is committed to:
– Offering private tours in small groups
– Disinfecting the bikes before and after each use
– Respecting social distancing measures, i.e. maintaining a minimum distance of 2 metres between the guide and the clients when not cycling
*Please bring your face mask and hand sanitising gel with you on this tour
Local PRODUCERS AND Farm SHOPS
Hôtel Mogador in Bayeux: hotel-mogador.com