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7 days on the tracks of the Impressionists in Normandy

axshuzaifa (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

7 days on the tracks of the Impressionists in Normandy

Bike Touring Collection by komoot

4-8

days

3-6 h

/ day

248 mi

7,150 ft

7,225 ft

Normandy - the land of Cidre, Calvados and Camembert - is also the cradle of Impressionism. Here you can see motifs that you otherwise know from the famous pictures with your own eyes. Great Impressionists such as Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Richard Bonnington and Claude Monet were inspired by the beauty of the landscape and set up their easel.

For the first time, the Impressionists broke free from the requirement that an artist must bring the exact image of reality onto the canvas. Rather, they expressed their impression. But even if you have nothing to do with painting, the landscape will inspire you and of course the good cuisine will spoil you with the fresh, Norman products.

In this Collection, we have put together a journey for you in seven stages along the loops of the Seine, through the Pays de Caux and along the alabaster coast. Each of the stages, between 45 and 75 kilometres long, will take you through different landscapes rich in impressions. You start in Vernon, the gateway to Normandy. Between the well known and well frequented places like Giverny or Honfleur and cities like Rouen or Le Havre, lonely paths and little roads await you, which are dreamlike to cycle. The steep climbs worth mentioning can be counted on two hands, but are sometimes challenging at around 100 metres. As a reward you can expect beautiful views and great descents, because where it goes up, it goes down again sometime.

You follow the Seine, which crosses Normandy in countless loops, until you reach the mouth, which you cross on the impressive Pont de Normandie. On the way you will meet witnesses of the rich history of Normandy: from the Vikings, the so-called Northmen, who conquered the country and finally gave it the name Normandy, to the Middle Ages and the landing of the Allies up to the architecture of the post-war period. The alabaster coast is the most scenic. Over a hundred metres high chalk cliffs with spectacular formations line the coast of Haute Normandie, while endless sandy beaches await you in the Basse Normandie.

The starting point Vernon and the destination Caen are well connected to the French railway network and can be easily reached from Paris, for example. You will find several accommodations in different price ranges in all the stages. In summer, especially in August, we recommend that you book your accommodation early. This also applies to the campsites, of which there are many directly on or near the route. For example, campingfrance.com offers you a good overview.

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7 days on the tracks of the Impressionists in Normandy

241 mi

6,950 ft

7,000 ft

Last updated: November 26, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Durch das Seinetal mit Monet – auf den Spuren der Impressionisten

    Intermediate
    03:30
    35.9 mi
    10.3 mph
    925 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You start your bike ride in the footsteps of famous Impressionists in Vernon, the gateway to Normandy, which can be easily reached by train. Look forward to lonely streets and a beautiful landscape on the river loops of the Seine.

    

    After crossing the Seine for the first time, you will see the first highlight

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  • Intermediate
    02:37
    27.6 mi
    10.5 mph
    350 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The almost flat stage leads you along the loop to Rouen. After the village of Orival, the road takes you along mighty chalk cliffs, for which the Seine is famous. These will line your way more often until you can admire the famous rock formations of the Alabaster Coast in Etretat.

    

    Rouen is not only the

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  • Difficult
    04:15
    41.6 mi
    9.8 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,225 ft
    Ferry
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Today is all about the leg loop. Again and again you cycle on small roads along the shore and cross the river with small, free ferries. You drive quite often, the timetable can be found here: inforoute76.fr/mod_turbolead/getvue.php/48_view.pdf

    

    It can happen that huge container ships pass you, since the

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  • Intermediate
    02:52
    30.3 mi
    10.5 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today you drive to the sea. To do this, you leave the valley of the earth on a decent slope. Once at the top, the plateau awaits you from the Pays de Caux, where once the Vikings settled.

    

    The route takes you on tiny lanes from one pretty spot to the next, where time stands still in the slate-roofed brick

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  • Difficult
    03:55
    38.8 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You will probably remember this incredibly busy day as the most beautiful of your tour. You drive on the chalk cliffs, feel the sea breeze and smell the scent of freedom.

    

    In Etretat, it is advisable to lock the bike for a short while and to walk on the left and right of the plateau. From up there you

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  • Intermediate
    02:49
    28.6 mi
    10.1 mph
    925 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today you have completely new landscape impressions in front of you. You leave Le Havre through its container port, sometimes even on bike paths, and then you suddenly stand in front of it. The enormous but graceful Pont de Normandie elegantly spans the Seine estuary and has even been part of the Tour

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  • Intermediate
    04:33
    45.2 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,300 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The last leg of your journey through the Normandy of the Impressionists takes you past several fashionable seaside bands. In between, you meander on tiny, almost always tarmac roads through the hinterland.

    

    In the mouth of the Orne you cross a beautiful nature reserve and then drive to Ouistreham. This

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    248 mi
  • Duration
    24:32 h
  • Elevation
    7,150 ft7,225 ft

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