The Cœur de Nacre destination in Normandy has many assets that appeal to cyclists: a 12km coastline, fine sandy beaches, lush countryside, a rich memorial and historical heritage, not to mention a tempting gastronomy !
Thanks to its network of cycle paths, greenways and shared roads, the Coeur de Nacre is a great place to cycle around Calvados and more widely around Normandy.
Combine sport and sightseeing !
During your holidays, for a weekend or for a sporting outing, discover our favourite cycling routes in and around the Cœur de Nacre.
Credit : Daniel Decamps
#1 discovery by bike of the seaside resorts of the Cote de Nacre, along the Vélomaritime
The Vélomaritime is the French section of Eurovélo n°4.
The Normandy section of the cycle route runs along the coast from Le Tréport to Mont-Saint-Michel.
Head for the Côte de Nacre and the D-Day Beaches on the Vélomaritime from Courseulles-sur-Mer.
This cycle route, made up of shared lanes, cycle paths and greenways, offers beautiful seaside panoramas.
From Courseulles-sur-Mer to Ouistreham, count 19km. Easy route, slight gradient.
Head for the Cote de Nacre and the D-Day landing beaches on the Vélomaritime from Courseulles-sur-Mer. This cycle route is made up of shared lanes, cycle paths and other greenways and offers beautiful views of the seaside.
Things to see and do :
- the Juno Beach Centre : the only Canadian museum on the D-Day landing beaches.
- Note: special rates for cyclists and adapted equipment,
- the photo break from the wooden pier,
- the Cross of Lorraine (symbol of General de Gaulle) and the Juno Park,
- the fish market in the fishing port every morning,
- the observation of the fauna and flora on the banks of the river Seulles,
- the shopping street with its small souvenir shops.
We like : enjoying oysters and seafood with a glass of white wine.
Credit : les Valises de Sarah
- the Famous House (Canadian House) – the first house liberated by sea on 6 June 1944,
- the remains of the Atlantic Wall,
- the Remem’Bernières memorial web app,
- the walk along the Marais du Platon, protected natural area,
- the beautiful historical heritage of the town centre, notably the church.
We like : walking along the sea wall to admire the small white beach huts that are emblematic of the Cote de Nacre.
- the pedestrian alleys leading to the beach,
- the pretty 19th century villas,
- the Cap Romain and its fishing spot,
- the cultural exhibitions at the Halle,
- the Casino Joa and its retro style.
We like : the mussels and chips lunch break comfortably installed on the terrace of one of the seafront restaurants.
- the pedestrian seawall overlooking the beach with its white cabins (in season),
- fishing on the rocks of the Calvados,
- the pretty wooded park of Bois Joli, its playground and picnic tables,
- the shops and small gourmet addresses on the Place du 6 juin.
We like : try water sports such as paddle or wing foil with Voiles de Nacre, sailing school.
- the City Hall Park, where the 19-metre long skeleton of a whale is on display,
- the very Instagrammable fishermen’s wooden pier,
- the Place du Petit Enfer with its shops and restaurants. Note the presence of bicycle and water facilities.
- the shopping street,
- the thalasso and its 3 wellness areas,
- the Casino Tranchant on the seafront.
We like : the cycle path which extends towards Sword Beach with a beautiful panorama of the Normandy coastline.
If you continue your bike ride along the Vélomaritime to Ouistreham, be sure to stop and admire the pretty villas along the beaches of Lion-sur-Mer and Hermanville-sur-Mer.
#2 immersion in nature, from the beach of Luc-sur-Mer
The Vallon de la Capricieuse is a 33-hectare green lung that stretches from the Luc-sur-Mer campsite to Douvres-la-Délivrande.
The old railway line linking Caen to Courseulles-sur-Mer from 1875 to 1950 has been transformed into a greenway. It follows the stream “la Capricieuse”, which, depending on the season, has a dry bed or floods the surrounding fields.
As such, it deserves its nickname of Capricieuse !
Why cycle along the Vallon de la Capricieuse ?
- to observe the animals that move peacefully in the surrounding fields : donkeys, horses, sheep, goats…
- the greenway, recently redone, is safe for bikes, scooters, rollerblades and pushchairs,
- the picnic area in the middle of nature,
- In summer, family activities are offered in the green theatre.
We like : the bike ride can be extended to Douvres-la-Délivrande. Take the Thomas de Douvre walk which follows the bed of the Douvette stream to the Baronnie, a former medieval stronghold which has been remarkably well restored.
Along the route : numerous fruit trees, picnic tables, a green theatre, small wooden bridges… in short, a bucolic setting for a successful bike ride !
#3 overlooking the D-Day Beaches
From Courseulles-sur-Mer to Arromanches, 24km. Difficulty : medium.
Starting from Courseulles-sur-Mer and the Canadian sector of Juno Beach, you will inevitably think of the soldiers who landed there in 1944.
The Vélomaritime leaves the seaside resort of Courseulles-sur-Mer along small roads that offer 360° views of the sea and oyster parks, passing the moving British Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer on Gold Beach.
Plan a stop in Asnelles to taste their delicious home-made shortbread.
Don’t miss a visit to the 360 cinema in Arromanches.
Les incontournables :
- The Juno Beach Centre, the only Canadian museum on the D-Day landing beaches,
- The Juno Park and its remains of the Atlantic Wall and the visit of the bunkers,
- The Fouques farm in Sainte-Croix-sur-Mer and its delicious rhubarb products,
- the traditional manufacture of the famous H2o umbrellas in Crépon,
- the D-Day museum in Arromanches and the remains of the artificial harbour.
We like : the sunset on the cream-coloured walls of the British Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer and the breathtaking view over the Gold Beach area.
#4 The cycling loop from Caen to the sea
This cycling loop from Caen to the Côte de Nacre combines countryside landscapes and panoramic views of the Normandy coastline. You will pass through pretty little villages such as Fontaine-Henry, Basly and Tailleville.
A large part of the route is on cycle paths.
Not to be missed on the cycling route :
- La Vallée des Jardins (the valley of the gardens) in Caen : 11 hectares of green and flowery space,
- The Fontaine-Henry castle : a little jewel of Renaissance architecture in a green setting,
- The Lesage pharmacy in Douvres-la-Délivrande : a pretty Art Nouveau façade,
- The Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Délivrande in neo-Gothic style,
- Cap Romain : a protected site of geological interest in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, with fossil sponge reefs of Jurassic age (sampling prohibited).
We like : Stop at Langrune-sur-Mer for a picnic or to drink a coffee on the terrace.
Credit : Sabina Lorkin
Guiding you from the Channel to the Atlantic, the cycle route La Vélo Francette allows you to savour sweet, gentle, traditional corners of western France as you cross the regions of Normandy, Pays de la Loire and Poitou-Charentes.
Discover unsuspected gems along the way and fall for the charms of French country towns and villages as you get to know them by bike.
From one of the communes of the Coeur de Nacre, it is easy to cycle to the starting point of the Vélo Francette, Ouistreham, along the seaside cycle path.
Then, from Ouistreham, located on the British Sword sector of the D-Day landing beaches, you can cycle along the Orne canal and its old towpath, which has been converted into a 15km greenway, as far as Caen.
On the route, we stop to discover :
- the pretty beaches of the Cote de Nacre: Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Luc-sur-Mer, Lion-sur-Mer…
- the visit of the Ouistreham lighthouse in July and August,
- the Pegasus Bridge : one of the major sites of the D-Day,
- Caen : the marina, the Vaugueux district, the buildings of William the Conqueror (castle and abbeys).
We like : a short stop to the Pointe du Siège, near Ouistreham : a protected natural area of the Orne estuary, this dune strip is home to 270 species of remarkable flora and fauna.
Credit : Thomas le Floc