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La Vélo Francette, the Orne valley by bike from Ouistreham to Domfront

[ Cycle routes La Vélo Francette - From Normandy to the Atlantic by bike ]
  • 126 km

La Vélo Francette’s stage starting at Normandy’s famed World War II D-Day landing beaches then leads you inland via Caen and Flers to the Domfrontais area. You cross hills known amusingly as La Suisse Normande (Norman Switzerland), following the meanders of the Orne, Noireau and La Varenne Valleys, and passing the iconic Roche d’Oëtre peak. The greenways and bucolic country roads you take often offer 360° views of typical Normandy countryside.

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The 6 stages of the section « La Vélo Francette, the Orne valley by bike from Ouistreham to Domfront »

  • La Vélo Francette from Ouistreham to Caen

    La Vélo Francette from Ouistreham to Caen [15.6 km]

    Start at Ouistreham, the Normandy ferry port north of Caen, its strand renowned as Sword Beach, its codename during the Allied liberation of France that began on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Take the towpath-turned-greenway beside the Canal de l’Orne; pay homage to the British airborne troops who took the vital crossing nicknamed Pegasus Bridge the night before D-Day. A cycle track leads on to the marina in central Caen. This city boasts splendid buildings dating back to William the Conqueror’s reign, while the Mémorial de Caen is a major war museum.

    Difficulty: Family Favourite view the detail
  • La Vélo Francette from Caen to Thury-Harcourt

    La Vélo Francette from Caen to Thury-Harcourt [29.2 km]

    Once you’ve gone round Caen’s marina, explore the city via its ‘green lungs’, notably the racecourse and a special Espace Naturel Sensible, an environmentally protected area. Continue south beside the Orne River, taking the greenway into La Suisse Normande’s hills. This portion runs along a former railway line, offering an exceptionally peaceful route, a delight for nature lovers.

    Difficulty: Intermediate view the detail
  • La Vélo Francette from Thury-Harcourt to Pont d'Ouilly

    La Vélo Francette from Thury-Harcourt to Pont d'Ouilly [24.5 km]

    La Vélo Francette’s stage through the heart of La Suisse Normande’s hills is very nature-friendly. Cyclists follow the meanders and dramatic granite forms of the gorges of the Orne Valley, in part on a greenway, while canoeists appreciate the river itself. The waterside villages, such as Thury-Harcourt, Clécy and Pont-d’Ouilly, provide delightful stops and riverside terraces along the way.

    Difficulty: Intermediate view the detail
  • La Vélo Francette from Pont d'Ouilly to Flers through Condé-sur-Noireau

    La Vélo Francette from Pont d'Ouilly to Flers through Condé-sur-Noireau [33.5 km]

    Connecting Pont-d'Ouilly to Flers, this bucolic stage through the Suisse Normande area takes you beside the Noireau River, through a valley marked by steep sides, as far as Condé-sur-Noireau. You then leave the valley via a very steep track. Approaching the Mont de Cerisy, the véloroute becomes gentler on the calves as you head on to the town of Flers and its château.

    Difficulty: Intermediate view the detail
  • La Vélo Francette from Pont d'Ouilly to Flers through La Roche d'Oëtre

    La Vélo Francette from Pont d'Ouilly to Flers through La Roche d'Oëtre [30.6 km]

    This demanding but grandiose alternative stage is worth the effort involved in cycling up La Roche d’Oëtre. From its 118m-high summit, enjoy grand views of the Rouvre’s wooded gorges, listed as an Espace Naturel Sensible (an environmentally protected area), set in the heart of Europe’s oldest mountain range. To reach the château and station at Flers, continue along pleasant, quiet, but steep roads through traditional Norman farmlands.

    Difficulty: Expert view the detail
  • La Vélo Francette from Flers to Domfront

    La Vélo Francette from Flers to Domfront [23.1 km]

    You change cycle track after Flers station. Crossing the outskirts of town, near La Selle-la-Forge, at the place named Fumeçon, a greenway’s compact track takes you down a gentle slope to the Varenne River, which you’ll get close to many times along this stage. The local heritage recalls the area’s mining past as well as its agricultural past. Take it all in on what is a peaceful stretch for cyclists.

    Difficulty: Family view the detail