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.

Cycling through Asnelles @ C. Guibert
Cycling through Asnelles

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.

@ C. Guibert
Panoramic view over the artificial harbour of Arromanches
A short break at oyster and wine bar O’Beach in Arromanches @ D. Dumas
A short break at oyster and wine bar O’Beach in Arromanches

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!

The Ferme de Vailly snail farm @ D. Dumas
The Ferme de Vailly snail farm
Tasting white beer from the Ferme de Vailly @ D. Dumas
Tasting white beer from the Ferme de Vailly

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.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Petite Reine Foodie Bike Tours
petitereinenormandie.fr

Timings: 10am-4pm (subject to change)
Price: €149/person
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 / hugo@petitereinenormandie.fr

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

Asnelles Shortbread on Place Stanier in Asnelles: sables-asnelles.fr

O’ Beach oyster and wine bar in Arromanches: facebook.com/obeacharromanches/

Ferme de Vailly in Tracy-sur-Mer: facebook.com/FermedeVailly

Cave Lecornu in Bayeux: organic farmlecornu.business.site

*Drink responsibly

ACCOMMODATION

Hôtel Mogador in Bayeux: hotel-mogador.com

HUGO GUILLOCHIN

Tour guide

Addicted to cycling since his childhood, Hugo has extensive knowledge of the Calvados département of Normandy and thrives in sharing his passion for the region with visitors.

On the AOP cheese route

On the AOP cheese route