In which we circumnavigate Bayeux and stop for lunch in Arromanches

29th August

This was to be our final day’s cycling on our holiday, as our return ferry was to depart at 2pm on the 30th August.

Once again, I prepared baguette sandwiches in case we couldn’t find lunch – I also had a couple of pains au raisin for a snack en route.

We decided to drive over to LeMolay-Littry with the tandem and do a ride that circumnavigated Bayeux. The car park at the LeMolay railway station is usually rather empty and is a convenient place to leave the car, and as ever, disassembly and reassembly of the tandem was quite quick.

I’d plotted a route on Komoot which took us on an anti-clockwise route.

Unfortunately, the directions at the main roundabout in LeMolay (just a few kilometres into our ride) left a lot to be desired, and we had to rely on the Garmin replotting our route. This wasn’t too difficult, and in fact was the only major mapping issue we faced. At a couple of other places, the Garmin over-estimated our speed and the display clearly told me to turn at a junction just before the ‘real’ turn. But by this time, I was a bit wise to this.

Once on our merry way, we found ourselves cycling through the usual Normandy countryside, studded with pretty impressive farm buildings. After a while we rode past an even more impressive edifice, Mondaye Abbey. That link is to the Wikipedia page, which portrays a typically up and down history of such establishments.

Riding on, we were concerned that we might not reach Arromanches in time for lunch, but we managed to get there in time. Just. We stopped at a place called Brasserie Au 6 Juin, Carol had a rather nice looking kebab of scallops and vegetables with rice, while I had sea bream. Very nice. Also a Belgian white lambic from Mort Subite, which went down a treat.

After lunch we went over to look at the beach. Arromanches is the location of Gold Beach, and nowadays is known for the remnants of one of the Mulberry Harbours used for landing materiel in the days and weeks after the D-Day landings.

Parts of the Mulberry harbour lining the horizon.
A chunk of Mulberry on the sand.

Several parts of the Mulberry Harbour are accessible when the tide is out.

Komoot took us up a quieter route out of Arromanches than we have taken in the past. This is good because there’s a steady old climb up from the sea front and it’s nice not to worry about holding motorists up as we trundle up at a sedate pace.

Once out of Arromanches, the route took us along the coast, past the famous Atlantic Wall gun emplacement at Longues-sur-mer. We didn’t stop there because we were short of time, and we’d visited on a prior trip to Normandy. It’s a impressive site – hit by allied bombs on D-Day, the concrete has survived though the emplacements seem to have been lifted bodily from the ground.

The route back to LeMolay was largely on quiet roads flagged as cycle routes, though on occasion we had to get out of the way of large agricultural vehicles. During this ride, we didn’t often catch sight of Bayeux itself – but I think the photo below shows the spires of Bayeux Cathedral. The cathedral houses the wonderful Bayeux Tapestry. It’s not actually a tapestry, nor was it made in Bayeux. It was made in England, commissioned by Bishop Odo (William the Conqueror’s half-brother). It really resembles a comic strip account of the Norman invasion of England, as seen from the Norman point of view. We visited the cathedral to see the tapestry on a previous visit to Normandy, its well worth it.

After a straightforward run back to the car, we dismantled the tandem, loaded it in the car and drove back to the gite.