The rolling hills of Normandy, where pretty villages of half timbered houses are interspersed with apple orchards and fields of grazing cows, provides an inspiring backdrop to this food focused walking holiday through the Pays d'Auge of Lower Normandy. The journey begins in Honfleur and heads through the calvados heartland where tastings of calvados and cider are an essential part of the local experience, as are visits to the cellars and pressing sheds. Continuing to the coast the walking route takes in the historic sites of World War II, including the German Battery of Longues-sur-Mer and Omaha Beach where the Allied Invasion took place, and the American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur Mer. Bayeux, with its impressive cathedral, historic buildings and the famous tapestry of William the Conqueror, is a fitting end point to this walking journey in Normandy. At night soak up the atmosphere in specially chosen hotels and B&Bs where your hosts will offer further insights into this fascinating region.
This trip involves 6 days walking between 11 and 27km per day over undulating terrain. The route travels along quiet trails through the countryside. At times you will need to walk on small roads. We recommend that you undertake some pre trip training to ensure you get the most out of your walk. Most stages can be shortened. During the walk you need only carry your camera and water bottle etc. Your luggage is transported for you between hotels.
Arrive Honfleur, a small medieval town, revealing her riches to all those who take the time to look. The history of the town is evident. The Old Dock surrounded by picturesque narrow houses, the churches of St Catherine, St Etienne, St Leonard, the Lieutenance, the old Salt Stores, and medieval cobbled streets are all highlights. Honfleur is also recognised as one of the cradles of Impressionism and a favourite place of many artists. A visit of the old town is highly recommended and we suggest a 2 hour walk to take in its many attractions. Overnight Honfleur.
After breakfast you set off at your leisure on a loop walk through the old part of Honfleur where you can discover the harbour and Impressionist museum. Leaving the town you head west through classic countryside. The villages of Pennedepie and Barneville la Bertran are included on the loop and there are opportunities to taste cider and calvados during the walk. Overnight Honfleur or Barneville la Bertran (upgrade version)
Distance walked: 17km / 10.5mi
This morning you are transferred to Beaumont-en-Auge, a 30 minute drive. If you wish to shorten todays walk, please ask the transfer driver to drop you off closer to the village. Beaumont and Beuvron are two of the prettiest and best preserved villages in the Pays d'Auge, with their half timbered houses and overflowing flower boxes. The countryside between the towns is of rolling green hills, tiny hamlets, fields of grazing cows, orchards and manor houses which can be glimpsed behind stone walls. This is some of France's best countryside walking.There are opportunities to sample cider and Calvados….before reaching Beuvron-en-Auge and our overnight accommodation.
Distance walked: 10, 15, 19 or 27km / 6, 9, 12 or 17mi
We do a loop walk through the typical Norman scenes of grazing horses and cows, orchards and beautiful villages. Cambremer is an ideal place to stop for lunch and for some calvados tasting.
Distance walked: 11 or 22km / 7 or 13.5mi
This morning you will be transferred to the famous artificial harbour of Arromanches. It was here that the allies set up a harbour using sunken barges to supply the D-Day troops. Today the barges are still visible on the beach and in the sea, and there is an excellent museum to visit. Nearby, is the main German Battery of Longues-sur-Mer which you reach as you walk past Mulberry harbour and along the cliff. After visiting this strategic position with its tanks and bunkers, continue on to the fishing village of Port en Bessin and your hotel on the harbour.
Distance walked: 14 or 23km / 8.5 or 14mi
Today's loop takes you further west to Colleville-sur-mer and the impressive American War cemetery. From here you can walk down to Omaha Beach and then follow the trail back through farming land. If you don't feel like doing the walk back, you can order a taxi for about 30 euros.
Distance walked: 18 or 21km / 11 or 13mi
Today's walk takes you through the heart of the Bessin area with orchards, green pastures and great granite mansions and manors. Arriving at the British War cemetery of Bayeux and the Commonwealth memorial the last stage takes you through the beautiful centre of Bayeux with its impressive cathedral, historic houses and the fabulous tapestry of William the Conquerer. Overnight Bayeux where the quality of local cuisine is superb. A local favourite is the galette, a savoury crepe made with buckwheat and filled with a range of different ingredients, or the tubs of mussels which are full of flavour.
Distance walked: 19km / 12mi
The trip concludes after breakfast.
A wonderful trip that encompasses a wide range of walking experiences in Normandy - the challenging woods and hills of the Paye D'Auge, the beautiful cliffs and beaches of the D Day landings, the moving memorials especially Omaha, the glorious city of Bayeux with the tear jerker British Cemetery, Cathedral and brilliant museum showing and explaining the Bayeux Tapestry/embroidery - a real learning experience.
M. O'Rourke, Auckland, New Zealand
Per Person, Twin Share