Coastal Trails, Ancient Abbeys, and Legendary Cuisine

Overview

Dramatic coastlines, tiny stone villages, medieval abbeys, and some of the most renowned cuisine in France are found in Normandy and Brittany—it’s perfect for a WT hiking and cultural adventure. We’ll explore D-Day beaches with a historian, walk across tidal flats to iconic Mont St. Michel, hike along the River Blavet to the thatch-roofed village of Poul-Fétan, and take in the majesty of Carnac, one of the largest megalithic sites in the world. As we explore these two fascinating regions full of history, culinary treats abound, including tasting cidre from the orchards, visiting an oyster farm in Cancale (Louis XIV had Cancale oysters brought to him at Versailles), and sampling scallops fresh from the Bay of St. Brieuc.

Itinerary at a Glance

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

After viewing the famed 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, we head to the coast for a hike at Pointe du Hoc, the high cliffs between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, still pitted with shell holes and German bunkers. Mont St. Michel, rising like a mirage from the bay, has been a pilgrimage site since the 8th century. We hike a coastal trail for magnificent views of this sanctuary, then walk to it across the tidal flat (conditions permitting). On Brittany’s ravishing Côte d’èmeraude, we hike past stone cottages, fortresses, and along cliffs to Cancale, home to the tastiest oysters in Brittany, which we’ll sample, of course. É

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

Along the River Rance, our hike brings us past half-timbered houses, and we’ll walk the stone ramparts of Dinan, a 13th century town. On Cap Fréhel, our trail leads to the ruined abbey of Beauport, and a boat crossing brings us to magical Île de Bréhat. We’ll explore this car-free island and enjoy 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, we hike through riverine forests to Poul-Fétan for a lunch of galette Bretonne (traditional 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 Auray.

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Highlights

Highlights

See the extraordinary 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman Conquest of England
Visit the evocative 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, famous oysters, legendary cheeses, crisp ciders, and wines of Brittany and Normandy

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6595  
Arrive: Caen, France
Depart: Auray, France
Lodging: 10 nights charming hotels and country inns
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures, Culinary
Trip Level:

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