Vincent Reboul

From pink granite to the Opal Coast — cycle France’s la Vélomaritime

Traveler

From pink granite to the Opal Coast — cycle France’s la Vélomaritime

Bike Touring Collection by Vincent Reboul

18

Tours

93:56 h

900 mi

33,325 ft

La Vélomaritime is the name given to the French part of the Eurovélo 4: the Central European Cycle Route, which links Roscoff in France to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

This Collection covers the French section, which is 1,440 kilometres (895 mi) long.
Your adventure begins at Roscoff in Brittany, in the department of Finistère, and ends by the Belgian border at Bray-Dunes in the department of Pas-de-Calais.

The route allows you to discover the glorious beauty of Brittany’s north coast and also the Normandy bocage terrain, the Cotentin peninsula, the Normandy coast, the Seine Maritime and the Bay of the Somme.

Each section of the coastline has a beautiful name, either inspired by a gemstone or by its colour. You pass successively from the pink granite coast to the emerald coast, then from the alabaster coast (another name given to white marble) to the opal coast.

There are so many precious stones and so many sublime and diverse landscapes along this preserved coast. The Conservatoire du Littoral, an association for the protection of natural heritage, is working to preserve the coastline and river banks here. Important and well-known sites such as the D-Day landing beaches and Mont Saint-Michel are among the must-sees of this Collection.

If you ever fancy a detour, I suggest you take the side roads to discover unsuspected places. The Pays d'Auge in Normandy is a good example, with its orchards, old farms and half-timbered houses.

The route does not present any particular difficulty, with the exception of the Bocage Normand, which offers alternating steep valleys, meadows and rocky escarpments.

You will find plenty of accommodation options and food outlets along the way. Some places are quite busy, so book in advance, especially during the summer months. If you want to stay in good hotels you will be spoilt for choice, but you will also find wonderful campsites and gîtes.

The average daily distance over the 18 days is about 80 kilometres (50 mi) with an elevation gain of 500 metres (1,640 ft); a route that is suitable for all levels.

If this is your first cycling trip, the Vélomaritime is a perfectly suitable route. It offers as much variety as the Loire Valley, which is often recommended for novice cyclists who want to start with an easy ride.

As far as gastronomy is concerned, you’re in the right place: Brittany and Normandy are famous for their seafood and butter dishes, such as Breton galettes, their charcuterie or the delicious pastry cake, the famous kouign-amann.

All the towns and villages on each Tour are served by bus or train. This means that you’ll have no problem getting to the starting point of your choice and back home when you have finished your journey.

As far as the weather is concerned, remember to take waterproofs. The summer season and early autumn are the best times to enjoy this adventure. September seems to me to be an ideal time, as the sites are quieter.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    05:02
    47.3 mi
    9.4 mph
    2,775 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This first stage between Roscoff in the Finistère department and Plestin-les-Grèves in the Côtes d´Armor department takes you straight into the Breton country.Wild coasts, secular traditions, white sand beaches: the scene is set. Roscoff is known for his “johnnies”. Onion merchants who from the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century left for England every summer to sell their harvest.

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  • Difficult
    06:35
    62.4 mi
    9.5 mph
    2,925 ft
    2,950 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Welcome to the Pays de Trégor, the pink granite coast. This part of the Côtes d'Armor presents one of the most beautiful wild coasts in France.A stop is planned …

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  • Difficult
    04:14
    40.6 mi
    9.6 mph
    2,000 ft
    2,075 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today is the day when you can hum a song or two. You will in fact pass through Lézardrieux, the holiday resort of the singer and poet Georges Brassens who came to recharge his batteries and compose in this corner of Brittany.The route then makes a detour through the remarkable natural site of Sillon de Talbert. A unique place not to be missed.

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  • Difficult
    07:04
    65.0 mi
    9.2 mph
    3,175 ft
    3,050 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today you will discover the Emerald Coast with the emblematic site of Cap d'Erquy where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the entire bay of Saint-Brieuc, which you will have crossed previously in the morning.Cap Fréhel is just as beautiful with its two large lighthouses and its splendid landscapes.
    I advise you to stop halfway for a meal break in the seaside town of Pléneuf-Val-André.

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  • Intermediate
    03:38
    35.7 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,200 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This stage is short but rich in a multitude of sites to discover.Your path will first pass through the impressive ruins of the Guildo castle and then join the …

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  • Intermediate
    04:50
    47.7 mi
    9.9 mph
    600 ft
    700 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Having stayed in Cancale, it is important to make a small detour a few kilometers north to reach the Pointe du Grouin, a grandiose and exceptional natural site. The sea …

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  • Difficult
    04:01
    36.1 mi
    9.0 mph
    3,000 ft
    2,500 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    There are many small mountains in Normandy, we haven't lied to you. This day is proof of that. I chose to take you through the Normandy countryside so that you can appreciate this bucolic landscape. The day is short but rich in multiple points of view and attractions, with beautiful climbs.Shortly before arriving in Vire, your destination for the day will take you through the very pretty Lac de la Dathée.

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  • Difficult
    06:53
    55.3 mi
    8.0 mph
    1,900 ft
    2,350 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You leave the “mountains of Normandy” to travel quieter roads along two rivers: La Souleuvre and La Vire.Half of the route is on gravel paths that are part of the Véloroute de la manche and the Vélomaritime. The other half is carried out on small departmental roads with little traffic.Among the must-sees of the day is the "skypark", an adventure park on the Souleuvre viaduct. Thrill seekers will appreciate. Others will continue to the small town of Saint-Lô.

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  • Difficult
    07:04
    63.4 mi
    9.0 mph
    1,900 ft
    2,050 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    After a little over a hundred kilometers of greenways and small roads for a day full of discoveries, you will have gone up almost all of the Cotentin peninsula to …

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  • Difficult
    06:49
    66.1 mi
    9.7 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,450 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This day does not follow the whole of the signposted route of EuroVelo 4. On two occasions I make you take a detour in order to make you discover important places.The first of these detours is the small port town of Barfleur. She is absolutely charming and marks the first forty kilometers of the day. Ideal for a coffee break. You will be able to observe the quiet life of the port.

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  • Intermediate
    04:55
    46.0 mi
    9.4 mph
    1,225 ft
    1,075 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This cycling tour route winds through places steeped in history. The first, the Pointe-du-Hoc site, is a rocky promontory, a fortress where many German bunkers were established. Pointe-du-Hoc is the only place in Normandy that has remained almost in its “juice”. The ground is studded with shell holes. A terrible testimony to the battle that took place here over seventy-seven years ago.

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  • Difficult
    06:17
    64.4 mi
    10.2 mph
    2,525 ft
    2,625 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The coastal road taken by the velomaritime between Courseulles-sur-mer and Honfleur is far too urbanized and is not pleasant to cycle. It is for this reason that I suggest that …

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  • Difficult
    03:30
    34.7 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,725 ft
    1,700 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    To get from Honfleur to Fécamp, you must cross the impressive Pont de Normandie which spans the mouth of the Seine. This road being dangerous, I suggest that you start your day by taking the number 39 bus line which connects Caen and Le Havre. Four bicycle racks are available per bus. Once in Le Havre, the day's route begins at the train station in the large port city.

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  • Difficult
    04:50
    48.8 mi
    10.1 mph
    2,400 ft
    2,400 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Three times today you will have the opportunity to visit castles. Indeed at kilometer seventeen, kilometer thirty and when you arrive in Dieppe at the end of the day. Weather …

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  • Difficult
    05:19
    54.4 mi
    10.2 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Leaving Dieppe this morning, you will arrive this evening in the Bay of Somme, in the village of Crotoy. This bay is a nature reserve and is home to unique …

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  • Difficult
    06:01
    63.0 mi
    10.5 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Today you will begin your tour on the Opal Coast which starts from the Belgian border in the north and extends to the Bay of Authie located between the departments …

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  • Intermediate
    02:55
    28.4 mi
    9.8 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,550 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today is a short stage between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais. If the weather is fine, you will have a breathtaking view of the British cliffs when you arrive at Cap Blanc-Nez.Cap Blanc-Nez beach is one of the most beautiful in France with its vast expanses of white sand. Another peculiarity, the place sporadically produces crystals of marcasite and pyrite that you can see at low tide.

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  • Intermediate
    04:00
    41.1 mi
    10.3 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Calais to Bray-Dunes, you only have sixty-four left
    kilometers to cover to reach the end of the French route of Eurovélo 4.
    A day of dune exploration awaits you …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    18
  • Distance
    900 mi
  • Duration
    93:56 h
  • Elevation
    33,325 ft
Vincent Reboul

From pink granite to the Opal Coast — cycle France’s la Vélomaritime