Updated on 23 June 2020
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Honorin Hamard is a world-class paraglider. World champion in 2015, he won the French championships in both 2018 and 2019. From the sky, he gets to see Normandy like no-one else. Meet the man and the mind behind all that paragliding passion.
Where did you grow up in Normandy?
I was lucky to grow up in Avranches, in the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel, an ideal place for paragliding.
Why did you decide to start paragliding when all your friends were playing football or tennis?
Before I solely dedicated myself to paragliding, I tried many sports such as athletics, football, handball and others. My father started paragliding in the 80’s and I used to follow him around when I was a kid. I quickly caught the bug and was lucky enough to make my first solo flight at the age of 14. These days, I also play badminton to increase my cardio and scuba dive to develop my apnea and stress resistance.
It must feel very unique. how does it feel when you’re up there?
Every flight is special and gives you an exhilarating feeling of freedom. The take-off causes a pure rush of adrenaline. Gliding through the sky in total silence provides unparalleled sensations of pleasure. Paragliding is a scenic and leisurely activity perfectly suited to sightseeing. The landscapes of Normandy always leave me awestruck. To direct ourselves in the air, we use the updraft to turn like a bird of prey.
What advice would you give to people who want to start paragliding?
Paragliding is a wonderful aerial adventure accessible to all, including disabled people who can fly tandem in a suited wheelchair. If you have that spark to fly but do not know where to begin, you can start off with a tandem paragliding flight. You’ll need to relax and fully trust the professional instructor you are seated with to rejoice the time up in the air. It is the easiest way of getting the first taste of what it feels like to fly.
Where are the best spots for paragliding in Normandy? Tips from a champion
The spots I recommend include adventure, stunning landscapes and experiences that will create memories of a lifetime :
– The ‘Baie d’Ecalgrain’ in the north of the Cotentin peninsula benefits from the strongest currents in Europe. The cliffs and ever-changing colours provide for an ultra-scenic landscape to fly over.
– Port-en-Bessin. The picturesque fishing port is gorgeous to gaze down upon while floating in and out of the clouds. The D-Day Landing Beaches add to the amazing scenery.
– Champeaux, near the Mont-Saint-Michel.
Paragliding over the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel is probably the ultimate “once in a lifetime” experience. The looming mountains of Norman Switzerland give a natural high point to soar off of and the birds-eye view of the Mont-Saint-Michel is spectacular.
What is your favourite place in Normandy?
The Chausey Islands have definitely caught my heart. My several visits there have inevitably led to a lifetime’s love affair with this special place. The bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel is also a huge inspiration for me. I particularly enjoy watching the tidal bore phenomenon at the Pointe du Grouin and the thousands of geese putting on a real show before the wave arrives.
Would you recommend Any particular restaurants?
Le Parfum Poivre restaurant in Granville.
O’baray’o in Avranches.
Chemin de la Cabane Vauban, 50740 Carolles