2015 Tour de France: from Normandy to Brittany
From Normandy, it is the turn of Brittany to share the excitement of the Tour de France. Between Livarot and Plumelec, cyclists will pass through a variety of contrasting landscapes: the Pays d’Auges, with its myriad gastronomic delicacies, the architectural delights of Mont-Saint-Michel, and wild coastline. Not forgetting St-Malo, the city of the "côrsaires", with its overwhelming charm.
Stage 7 (Friday 10 July): Livarot > Fougères (190.5km)
Stage 8 (Saturday 11 July): Rennes > Mûr de Bretagne (181.5km)
Stage 9 (Sunday 12 July): Vannes > Plumelec (28km)
Livarot (Calvados / Lower Normandy)
Livarot is a small and charming village in Normandy renowned for its cheese of the same name. To find out more about it (and to enjoy a tasting), head to the Fromagerie Graindorge which has been producing the traditional cheeses of Normandy such as Livarot, Camembert and Pont l’Évêque for over a century.
Things to do around Livarot
- Experience the delightful charms of Deauville, with its beaches and casino (45min drive).
- Stroll through Honfleur, exploring its small port where the town’s colourful houses are reflected in its tranquil waters (50min drive).
Fougères (Ille et Vilaine / Brittany)
The finish of the 7th stage will be in the town of Fougères, in the north of Brittany. Here, you can admire the largest fortress in Europe, embellished with delightful gardens. Built on a rocky spur, it boasts superb views of the town.
Things to do around Fougères
- Discover Mont-Saint-Michel, its bay and its abbey. Majestic and unmissable, this major place of pilgrimage is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a marvel of mediaeval architecture (45min drive).
- Enjoy a stroll through the town of Laval, admiring the half-timbered houses of its old town and its 11C château on the banks of the Mayenne (45min drive).
Rennes (Ille et Vilaine / Brittany)
Capital of Brittany, Rennes is a lively town boasting numerous architectural treasures: the parliament of Brittany, Place du Champ-Jacquet and its 17C half-timbered houses, and the Champs Libres cultural centre which includes the Musée de Bretagne.
Things to do around Rennes
- Relax on Dinard’s famous beaches (50min drive).
- Stroll through the charming town of Saint-Malo and along its ramparts (50min drive).
- Taste delicious oysters in Cancale (50min drive).
Mûr de Bretagne (Côtes-d'Armor / Brittany)
Things to do around Mûr de Bretagne
- Await the return of fishermen at the port of Erquy before tasting their delicious fish and seafood (1hr drive).
- Explore the Le Goëlo coast: Saint Brieuc (40min drive), Paimpol and the Île de Bréhat (1hr 10min drive).
Vannes (Morbihan / Brittany)
Nestled in the Gulf of Morbihan, in one of the world’s most beautiful bays, Vannes boasts all the discreet charm of a fortified town with two thousand years of history. Visit its remarkable old quarter, home to the impressive Saint-Pierre cathedral, then explore some of the forty or so islands dotted around the gulf, such as the Île aux Moines and the Île d’Arz.
Things to do around Vannes
- Immerse yourself in Celtic history in Lorient, typified by the inter-Celtic festival held here during the first week of August. If nature is more your thing, why not explore the verdant countryside in the Le Blavet and Le Scorff valleys, while for those keen to enjoy the delights of the coast, make sure you head to the stunning landscapes of the Petite Mer de Gâvres lagoon and the Île de Groix (40min drive).
- Stand in awe in front of the huge bridge and shipyards in Saint-Nazaire, where some of the world’s largest cruise ships are built (1hr 10min drive).
- Discover Nantes, with its myriad sights of interest: the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, Jardin des Plantes, Passage Pommeraye, Machines de l’Île artistic project, and Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral (1hr 15min drive).
Plumelec (Morbihan / Brittany)
Hidden beneath Plumelec’s tranquil appearance is a challenging obstacle for the Tour’s riders: the Côte de Cadoudal, with its 2,300m climb, an average gradient of between 5-8% and the hairpin bend which forms part of the ascent.
Things to do around Plumelec
- Relive the legends of Round Table knights of old in the Brocéliande forest (25min drive).
- Visit the workshops of enthusiastic artisans in the village of La Gacilly (40min drive).
- Enjoy the well-being benefits of a thalassotherapy treatment in Carnac (50min drive) and Quiberon (1hr drive).