Stretching over 33 hectares, from the beach at Luc-sur-Mer to Douvres-la-Délivrande, the Vallon de la Capricieuse offers a haven of peace to walkers.
The 2.5km long greenway runs along the river Capricieuse. It is bordered by flowering orchards, meadows where animals graze and green spaces dedicated to rejuvenation.
Why the name “la Capricieuse” which means capricious ?
Sometimes dry, sometimes overflowing and getting out of its bed, the river is quite capricious, hence its name : capricious !
The regular submergence of the surrounding land gives rise to a specific soil, vegetation and animal life.
A little history
Crédit : F. Dupont
The stream was used by the Gallic tribes to delimit their borders. In Luc-sur-Mer, it was the Viducasses who occupied the territory.
In the 19th century, part of the meadows on the banks of the stream were used for livestock farming.
The Vallon de la Capricieuse is made up of an important geological heritage. It is located on old stone quarries.
They were used for the construction of the village of Luc-sur-Mer and many buildings in Calvados from the 11th to the 19th century.
In 1875 a railway line was inaugurated linking Caen to Courseulles-sur-Mer. It passed through the Vallon de la Capricieuse. Its operation ceased in 1950.
In the 20th century, this area was abandoned. It was used as a landfill and waste disposal site.
And finally, today, after a lot of work, the old railway line has been replaced by a pleasant departmental greenway and footpaths along the Capricieuse, in the heart of nature.
A cycle path close to the sea
This walk is a green lung by the sea. Far from road traffic, it is dedicated to walkers, cyclists, sportsmen and horse riders.
It is also accessible to wheelchair users.
Crédit : F. Dupont
More than 200 trees have been planted, including bocage species, fruit trees and melliferae, all in bloom, for the pleasure of walkers and in the interest of pollinating insects.
Among the fruit trees, apple trees from Normandy have been planted.
A picnic area is at your disposal, surrounded by soothing and colourful landscape plantings.
A little further on, towards Douvres-la-Délivrande, is the green theatre. With its grassy steps, it accompanies the existing relief.
Are you a sportsman ?
The Vallon de la Capricieuse is a great playground for running, with its criss-crossing paths, small bridges over ponds and abdomen strengthening equipment.
If you prefer cycling, you can extend your ride on the Vélomaritime, which passes in front of the Place du Petit Enfer in Luc-sur-Mer. To the east, you can reach the towns of Lion-sur-Mer, Hermanville-sur-Mer and Ouistreham. To the west, you head towards the seaside resorts of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer and Courseulles-sur-Mer.
The Vélomaritime crosses the D-Day landing beaches. It offers magnificent views of the Normandy coastline.
Along the greenway, meet the friendly inhabitants of the Capricieuse. Sheep, horses, donkeys, sheep, birds…
Here, the sheep of Ouessant and the moors of Brittany replace the lawnmowers ! Eco-pasturing is favoured, an alternative and ecological solution.
Between February and April, it is not unusual to see cute little lambs. Curious and playful, they will happily approach the fences to greet you.
At the end of the Vallon de la Capricieuse, there is an association: Les Sabots de l’Espoir, run by two friends : Michel and Gérard. These two retired elves (inhabitants of Luc-sur-Mer) give their time to help animals in distress or mistreated. They cuddle them, feed them and talk to them. Through their patience and daily care, they manage to give them back their taste for life and their confidence in humans.
The association’s mascot is the donkey Pompon, who is happy to be stroked.
The wild flora
Some wild plants grow on the banks of the river. You can observe them, without picking them, in order to preserve biodiversity.
poppies, the symbol of D-Day
The poppy originates from the Middle East. It accompanies the rhythm of the harvest. It can be found near the picnic area between May and July.
The blood red poppy has become a symbol of remembrance. The poppy is worn near the heart to honour the sacrifice of the soldiers. It is the main emblem of the Royal Canadian Legion, which distributes them to Canadians every year, who wear them on Remembrance Day.
Where to park near the Vallon de la Capricieuse?
- North entrance: free car parks on rue Guynemer, rue du Dr Charcot, and the Gambeta car park in Luc-sur-Mer,
- South entrance: free parking next to rue des érables in Luc-sur-Mer.
Where are the nearest toilets?
- Place du Petit Enfer, rue Guynemer
- Parking Gambetta
- Parc Verdun, rue du Dr Tessel
- Parc de l’hôtel de Ville, rue de la mer
Can I walk my dog in the Vallon de la Capricieuse ?
Yes, dogs are welcome. Dog waste bags are available at the entrance to the Vallon.
Is it possible to make a loop on foot to reach the seaside?
Yes, it is possible to turn left into the rue du château d’eau to reach the old Luc, the town centre and then the seafront.