Touring in Suisse Normande

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Posts: 10
Joined: 4 Jan 2018, 9:44pm

Touring in Suisse Normande

Postby iain.bowran » 4 Jan 2018, 9:57pm

I am hoping to cycle tour in this area just south of Caen some time in the spring. It would be a 5 day tour with a max of 50 miles a day as I’d like to spend some time sight seeing. Does anyone have experience of this area and of any camp sites i could use

Posts: 4398
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Touring in Suisse Normande

Postby tatanab » 5 Jan 2018, 12:18pm

The Suisse Normande is a quite compact area, and I doubt you'd be able to spend 5 days within it without considerable retracing. On the north/eastern edge, Falaise has a nice campsite and of course the town itself has the chateau. Extending your area southish but still hilly gets you around La Ferte Mace and Domfront, an area with a cluster of sites. Extending a bit south west, again still hilly, is Mortain where the campsite is a different experience entirely, being an open municipal site - no gates, no nothing. I've stayed in the sites at Falaise and Mortain when passing through, also Domfront and Bagnoles de l'Orne.

User avatar
Posts: 442
Joined: 24 May 2017, 7:27pm
Location: London

Re: Touring in Suisse Normande

Postby LinusR » 6 Jan 2018, 10:25am

About 120k south of Caen you could visit the highest point in north west France where you can climb a viewing platform. The small villages and towns south of Caen are pleasant and quiet. I've criss-crossed that part of France for the past 15 years but heading straight to the Mayenne department. If you are coming off the ferry the the route out of the port into Caen is a well-paved cycle track alongside the river. It can be confusing finding your way south out of Caen and avoiding the main roads which can be very busy and not much of a shoulder to cycle on. I like the D235 which is a quiet road that heads to the small town of Bretville-sur-Laize. And then continue along the D23 to Pont d'Ouilly. There's a campsite here but I've not actually stayed in it but I have sneaked in and taken a shower there to freshen up on one very hot summer day. It's a pleasant little town on the river with a small park and river kayaks for hire. Heading south I usually go head for the D43 then take the D20 which will eventually get you to La Ferte Mace as @tatanab mentioned. It's a quiet rolling route through forests, farms and open country. Some sleepy villages with the odd cafe on route.
Last edited by LinusR on 6 Jan 2018, 4:12pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 10
Joined: 4 Jan 2018, 9:44pm

Re: Touring in Suisse Normande

Postby iain.bowran » 6 Jan 2018, 3:59pm

Thanks to Tatanab and LinusR for those very helpful posts
Cheers Iain

Posts: 181
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 3:48pm

Re: Touring in Suisse Normande

Postby borisface » 7 Jan 2018, 4:24pm

I have family who for some unknown reason live near La Ferte Mace. The area immediately south of Caen is pretty flat and boring for ten miles or so. South of Falaise the countryside improves. Thury Harcouet is OK as is Clecy. Caen itself is a large busy city. The coast is quite nice as you have the d-day beaches and some nice belle epoque resorts. I read in the local French newspaper just before Christmas that around the port at Ouistreham (where the Portsmouth ferry lands) that they are anxious that a large number of refugees are starting to target the port as a means to get to the UK.

The area to the east of Alencon is nicer IMO.

A few years ago I cycled to the top of mont des avaloirs, climbed the 1930s viewing platform to admire the view, only to find that since the platform was built all the trees around had grown up and all you could see was the tops of trees. They have since built a new taller platform!

As has already been said the suisse normande is pretty small - a day or a day and a half at most. But the surrounding areas have some very quiet lanes as long as you avoid the main roads you'll be fine.

Posts: 118
Joined: 6 Apr 2013, 7:51pm

Re: Touring in Suisse Normande

Postby jk49 » 8 Jan 2018, 3:37pm

There is a voie verte ( traffic free cycle path) leading out of Caen towards Suisse Normandie. It is well surfaced all the way, and scenic after the first couple of miles. When it finishes there is the usual web of d roads to choose from. Worth using to avoid aforementioned busy roads.
Agree about the compactness of the area.