Our Normandy motorcycle tour is a combination of visiting the historical D-day landing exhibits and riding the great country roads of northern Normandy.
If you are new to motorcycling and are keen to develop your motorcycling skills on the fantastic French roads then this could be the ideal tour. Similarly, if you have been riding bikes for a number of years but have never ventured abroad then this is the ideal introduction to riding a motorcycle in Europe. It is also the ideal tour for riders with pillions.
You will be accompanied by our very experienced and knowledgeable tour guide, Paul Kersey. Paul is an Associate Member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, a guide for the National Trust at Sutton Hoo Anglo Saxon burial site and a very good motorcyclist who has led tours throughout Europe.
Paul will also accompany you whilst in the exhibits/museums and will be more than happy to provide explanations and answer any questions that you may have.
In the evening, you will get the chance to sample the local cuisine beers/ciders/wines and chill out in this beautiful region of France.
What You Get and Costs.
The basic cost of the tour is £450 for a single rider in a shared room; £625 for a single rider in a single room and £750 for a rider and pillion. For these prices you will get the following:-
Return euro-tunnel crossing (Folkestone - Calais). Alternative ferry crossings are available (supplement will apply).
Service throughout the trip of our own battlefield tour guide
Four nights accommodation in good quality hotels
Breakfast each morning.
Satnav maps (Garmin and Tom Tom format)
The following is not included:
Parking and Motorway tolls
Entrance fees for attractions
Repatriation back to the UK
Breakdown Cover Insurance
The basic itinerary is as follows :-
Day 1: Calais to Honfleur (Approx 170 miles)
Arrival day in France. Our usual crossing (included in tour cost) is the Euro-tunnel crossing from Folkestone to Calais.
After a short spell on the motorway to get us out of Northern France, we head towards the coastal road.
On our way to Normandy we will stop at the seaside town of Dieppe, where we will look at the failed beach landing of 19th August 1942. During the course of 6 hours, the Canadians and British suffered over 3,500 casualties, killed wounded or missing.
We will conclude the day with a visit to the Canadian CWGC Cemetery.
Our first overnight stop will be the lovely coastal town of Honfleur. This beautiful town is a superb place to stay. A really picturesque harbour and a favourite haunt of the artist, Monet.
Day 2: Honfleur to Bayeux (Approx 75 miles)
After a traditional French breakfast and short safety briefing we will begin our journey along the beautiful Normandy coast.
The first days ride will take us at a gentle pace along twisty rural roadsthrough delightful villages and beautiful scenery. There will be plenty of opportunities for photos, coffee and snacks.
The route to our hotel will take us past our first D-Day sites, including the famous Melville Battery overlooking Sword Beach. It was essential that the guns of the battery were neutralized prior to the landings. This action was carried out by men of the 9th Parachute Brigade led by Lieutenant-Colonel Terence Otway.
Pegasus Bridge is next, it was here that the 3 Horsa gliders of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry under the command of Major John Howard landed. They were to capture and hold the bridge, thereby preventing German counter attacks until additional British forces could arrive to support them from Sword Beach.
Both of these sites have excellent museums which we shall visit.
Next stop, Sword Beach where men of the British 3rd Division landed at 0725 hours on the 6th June 1944. We visit the ‘Hillman’ German strong point which was the HQ of the German 736th Regiment. This strong point covered Sword Beach, therefore had to be taken as soon as possible to prevent further casualties. The 1st Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment captured Hillman in 6 hours with the loss of 20 lives.
Next on the schedule is Juno Beach where the Canadian 3rd Division landed at 0735 hours.
On our way to our hotel for the night we will visit the Bayeux CWGC Cemetery and Memorial.
Day 3: Bayeux to Ste Mere Eglise (Approx 75 miles)
Back on to the coast road as we ride to Gold beach, the second of the British beaches. It was here at 0725 hours that men of the 50th Northumbrian Division landed. Off the coast of Arromanches you can still see the remains of the ‘Mulberry' harbour that was towed from Britain and assembled to provide a temporary harbour to land supplies. Here we will stop for a short while for a snack, coffee and to visit the 360 degree cinema. The latter is highly recommended.
From Arromanches it is only a short distance to the infamous Omaha beach and the poignant American cemetery.
Omaha Beach is where the US army suffered the highest number of casualties of that day. Men of the 116th & 16th Infantry Regiments landed at 0630 hours and were met with devastating fire from the many enemy gun replacements situated in the area. We visit some of these bunkers before going into the US Cemetery which was constructed on land overlooking the beach where many of those, buried in the cemetery, died. The cemetery contains the graves of over 9,000 US combatants who died in the Normandy area. Those of you who have seen the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ will already be familiar with the cemetery and what it would have been like to land here.
From Omaha we travel to Pointe du Hoc where 2 Ranger Battalions of the US 116th Infantry Regiment scaled the cliffs to destroy the guns which could fire on both Utah & Omaha beaches. Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder’s was ordered to take his Second Ranger Battalion of roughly 200 men and land on a shingled shelf, scale the imposing 100-foot-high cliff while under hostile fire, and then destroy the six enemy guns. Pointe Du Hoc is now a memorial to these men and has remained untouched since D-Day.
After a long but interesting day we will arrive at our hotel in the St Mere Eglise area for a well earned beer or glass of wine and evening meal.
Day 4: Ste Mere Eglise to Bagnoles (Approx 125 miles)
The day begins with a visit to the excellent US Airborne Museum in Ste Mere Eglise. The US 82nd and 101st PIR dropped at 0130 hours to secure the exits from Utah beach.The land around Utah had been flooded leaving only 4 routes by which to head inland. In the tv series ‘Band of Brothers’, real events from these airborne landings can be seen.
We then ride along the beach road alongside Utah Beach where you will see some of the German defensive positions. It was men of the 4th US Infantry Division who landed here at 0630 hours.
From Ste Mere Eglise, we will head inland, enjoying the beautiful scenery of Normandy, stopping for lunch as we head towards the area where the Battle of Normandy essentially ended. The Battle of the Falaise Pocket between the 12th and 21st of August was the final action which saw the Germans retreat from Normandy. The allies had squeezed the enemy into an ever decreasing area, where they were under constant attack. With thousands of Germans attempting to cross 3 small bridges/ford in the village of St Lambert sur Dives, this village was a focus for allied attack.
From the Falaise Pocket it is only a short 40 mile ride on quiet rural roads to our hotel in the lovely spa town of Bagnoles de L'Ornes. This beautiful small town has a very alpine feel to it with lots of individually designed buildings, hotels and restaurants located around a lake.
Day 5: Bagnoles de L'Orne to UK (Approx 250 miles)
Departure day, back to Calais and our afternoon Euro-tunnel crossing.