While close to a year away, the 2016 Tour de France is already destined to be one of the best ever, beginning and ending at two of the most popular tourist attractions in France! The Tour will begin on Saturday, July 2 at the base of the spectacular Mont-Saint-Michel and will end 23 days later with the peloton passing the magnificent Eiffel Tower in Paris.
I can’t imagine a more spectacular starting point for the Tour de France than the base of Mont-Saint-Michel! And I can’t imagine a more spectacular first stage than one from Mont-Saint-Michel to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and Utah Beach.
This is one of my favorite bicycling itineraries in Normandy. If you’ve never considered bicycling the D-Day Beaches to Mont-Saint-Michel route, I can’t think of a better time to move it to the top of your to-do list! You’ll not only experience one of the best cycling itineraries in France, but you’ll also experience some of the same roads that the peloton will follow next July. The best news: this itinerary is perfect for beginners and even families with children.
I bicycled this route in 2014, beginning in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and following the D-Day Invasion route south to Carentan, St-Lo, Mortain, then heading west to Mont-Saint-Michel. The Tour will probably not follow this signposted route exactly, but it will pass through Saint Lo and Carentan en route to Utah Beach, and then will proceed to Cherbourg on Stage 2.
If you’re interested in reading more about the D-Day Beaches to Mont Saint Michel itinerary, here are some links to some of my past posts on the route:
- Best Resources For Planning A Bicycle Trip To The D-Day Beaches
- My Cycling Destination for 2014: Normandy and Brittany
- Reflections On Bicycling In Normandy And Brittany
- Rating The D-Day Beaches To Mont-St-Michel Cycle Route
You can also take a look at the route information located on the France velo Tourism website. This website will definitely be helpful in planning a trip to this area, especially in pinpointing places to stay along the route. Between Carentan and Mortain you need to plan your overnight stops carefully, as accommodations can be sparce in some areas along the route.
If you have the time, the D-Day Beaches To Mont-Saint-Michel route is just part of a larger itinerary, the Petit Tour de Manche which travels on to the popular walled town of Saint Malo after Mont-Saint-Michel. While the Tour de France will bicycle this route from Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach, I recommend starting the itinerary in Cherbourg or Utah Beach and then following the invasion route south through the Vire Valley and the Norman countryside, working your way to the coast and the spectacular Mont-Saint-Michel.
Stay tuned for more news on the 2016 Tour de France route in Normandy, and tips on how you can experience your own taste of the Tour on your own!