Inland Normandy/Loire Valley

Discussion in 'Europe' started by jonno51, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. jonno51

    jonno51 n00b

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    Three of us are off to France next June, to see the U-boat pens at Lorient and St Nazaire. Before we head back to the UK via either Le Havre or Caen, we are going to stay at a hub and enjoy 3 or 4 days riding without luggage.

    Any suggestions for sweepy/twisty/steep/demanding roads in the area defined by a 150km radius from Le Mans? We've done the D Day beaches thing on previous trips, and we''ll do the Brittany coast on the way down from St Malo to Lorient and St Nazaire, so we are looking inland rather than coastal.
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  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Normandy is mostly flat. You even seen a valley flood plain with hills?
    There is an area called Suisse Normande which is hilly. Centred around Tury Harcort towards Alencon and is quite small, but includes Falaise, famous for the "pocket" which almost but not quite enclosed a huge nazi army in WW2. Less recently, was the birthplace of Guilliume le Concourant or William the Conquerer. The castle does tours.
    Interesting raised ground south of the river between Anger and Tours.

    Lots of what we would call wolds though, try the Perche region, where the Pecheron horses come from. Lots of back roads, avoid avoid avoid the main roads - they are almost certainly dull and uninteresting. The little country roads are very nice to ride along, plenty of small villages to stop for refreshments and a nosey round. (all applies to the region generally)

    In this topograaphically challenged part of France, one trick I have done is select a start and finish point, then try to keep to the straightest line between them - has almost always worked for me. If not maybe you will spot better roads near by, which is all good. Hard to go wrong if you stay off piste.

    If you have an interest in the military, I assume you have done the landing beaches?
    While in the Sr Nazaire area, La Baule was an R&R centre for the Uboat crews, big brothels and everything (NLA) Also a gestapo hotspot.
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  3. jonno51

    jonno51 n00b

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    Thanks Nick. I've found a few roads on the Michelin maps with the little arrows denoting steepness. Most but not all are climbing out of the river valleys. Suisse Normand is a good shout too.
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  4. potus

    potus Adventurer

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    Plenty of great roads all around france, look for the 'green lined' roads on the michelin maps.
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  5. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Personally I think the algorithm that chooses where to put the green lines is heavily weighted towards roads that run through forest and woodland. I never bother riding towards a road just because it is marked green. There has to be other clues and indicators too.
    I don't think the designers had motorcyclists much in mind.

    Those who get confused by maps and have to use their phone/tablet, try the ViaMichelin app. By the same people, so the cartography is the same, but scalable, down to pieton level.
    As well as the very useful restaurant and hotel guide with live links if you are in wifi range (and way beyond the scope of the printed Red Guide) it has lots of the usual useful POI and lots of cultural ones too. Will even plot you a route. And all for free. Best, even I can use it.
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  6. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Hmmmm...you're pretty much shit-outta-luck, mate.
    Asking for glaciers in the Sahara...
    Which doesn't mean that there aren't any interesting bits around...but not of the kind you're after.
    #6