Coastal Trails, Ancient Abbeys, and Legendary Cuisine

Overview

With wild, dramatic coastlines, medieval towns, and a bounty of fresh-caught seafood, Normandy and Brittany are perfect for our hiking and cultural adventure. We’ll walk the evocative D-Day cliffs and beaches with a historian, cross tidal flats on an amazing walk to iconic Mont St. Michel, and hike in the magical forests of Carnac, one of the most extensive megalithic sites in the world, with standing stones dating from 4500 BC. Culinary forays along the way include sipping Calvados at an apple orchard, visiting a historic oyster farm, tasting scallops fresh from the Bay of St. Brieuc, and sampling the tangiest Camembert and Pont l’Eveque cheeses imagineable. C’est merveilleux!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-5
Bayeux / D-Day Beaches / Mont St. Michel / Côte d’Émeraude

After viewing the thousand-year-old Bayeux Tapestry, housed in an 18th century seminary, we head out to Ponte du Hoc, the high cliffs between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. To experience the dramatic D-Day landing sites, we’ll walk the evocative trails, passing German bunkers and shell holes. In the Bay of Mont St. Michel, an unforgettable hike brings us across tidal flats (conditions permitting) to Mont St. Michel, a pilgrim site since the 8th century. On Brittany’s ravishing Côte d’Émeraude, we hike to Cancale, home to the tastiest oysters in Brittany (which we’ll sample, of course!).

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Days 6-8
Dinan / Cap Fréhel / Île de Bréhat

Contouring along the River Rance, our hike brings us past half-timbered houses, and we’ll walk the stone ramparts of Dinan, a perfectly preserved 13th century town. On Cap Fréhel, our trail leads to the ruined abbey of Beauport, and a boat crossing brings us to enchanting Île de Bréhat. We’ll explore this car-free island on foot, with stunning vistas back to the pink cliffs of the Côte de Granit Rose.

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Days 9-11
Bay of Morbihan / Carnac / Côte Sauvage

From the Bay of Morbihan, our hike leads to Poul-Fétan, the perfect place to enjoy a lunch of traditional galette Bretonne (savory buckwheat crepes). In Carnac, we walk among ancient standing stones that stretch for miles amid burial mounds. Our journey ends with a spectacular coastal walk along the Côte Sauvage, with its windswept line of cliffs braving the Atlantic waves. Depart on Day 11 via Rennes.

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Highlights

Highlights

See the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, a 230-foot-long embroidery illustrating the Norman Conquest of England
Visit the legendary D-Day sites of Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach with a historian
Walk to spire-topped Mont St. Michel, France’s famous island-abbey
Hike in the oak forests of Carnac, one of the most important prehistoric sites in Europe
Savor fresh seafood (and famous oysters!), legendary cheeses, crisp ciders, and wines of Brittany and Normandy

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6295  
Arrive: Caen, France
Depart: Rennes, France
Lodging: 10 nights charming hotels and country inns
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures, Culinary
Trip Level:

Easy to moderate trails, 3-6 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike).