Headwater - Back roads of Brittany Self-Guided Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C08BT
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

It's almost impossible to resist the appeal of Brittany's spectacular Emerald Coast, with its pink granite cliffs and turquoise seas, wonderful white beaches and deserted little coves. Writers and artists, attracted by the stunning landscapes, dramatic views and vibrant Mediterranean-style colours, have been coming here for centuries, yet the region remains largely unspoilt with much of its original charm still intact. So you'll see locals with shrimping buckets wading the beaches and fishermen cleaning out shells by hand. Be sure to sample the region's signature dish: the seafood platter, piled high with shiny pink lobster, king prawn, silver oysters, scallops and clams, all washed down with refreshingly cold Breton cider.

At a Glance

  • 8 nights in 3 to 4-star accommodation
  • Beautiful coastal paths, quiet inland country lanes, pretty villages for relaxing lunch stops
  • Optional electric bikes
  • 80% quiet tarmac roads, 20% cycle paths and tracks
  • The terrain is undulating
  • GPS route navigation provided 
  • Countries visited: France

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle through traditional Breton fishing ports, colourful sailing harbours
  • Visit preserved walled towns unchanged since the Middle Ages
  • Enjoy superb seafood; sweet and savoury crepes; refreshing local cider

Is This Trip for You?

The cycling routes we've chosen are mostly along uncrowded coastal paths and quiet country lanes with wonderful panoramic views. For much of the time, you're by the sea, with plenty of opportunities to swim from some of the most beautiful beaches in France. On your last day you'll pedal through the ancient Forest of Hunaudaye and have time to visit its imposing 13th Century château. Other highlights include the gorgeously preserved mediaeval walled town of Dinan and the charming Belle epoque seaside resort of Dinard.

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 39km (24 miles).
No. of days cycling: 6 (including 2 optional rides)
Terrain and route: undulating. 80% tarmac and 20% cycle paths and tracks.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Families
Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. We have suggested the minimum age for this trip is 8yrs as we feel they will be able to ride the bikes we have to offer and complete the route. However our local partner is able to offer child seats for children aged 2-4yrs (max. weight 22 kg, hills will be tricky). These are all subject to availability, and therefore we ask that you enquire about these on booking. Please note due to the size of the bikes and distanced required to cycle, this trip is not appropriate for children aged from 5-7yrs (who are too big for the child seats, but not big enough to ride the children’s bike). As a guide we have suggested that 8yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities. Please bear in mind the weather when choosing to book, temperatures can be very high in the middle of summer and the child seats provided do not have any shade. We therefore recommend going either earlier or later on in the season if you have young children.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to set up your bike and go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. In an emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
13
Child min age:
8

Child max age:

12
Min group size:
1

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Lamballe
End City:
Lamballe

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive at Lamballe

    Your holiday starts at M. Jamin's 16th Century manor house in the countryside, just 3kms outside the market town of Lamballe. With only 16 rooms, it's a lovely, intimate place to stay. The inner courtyard opens up on to beautifully kept gardens and an elegant terrace for al fresco dining on fine summer evenings.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Lamballe to Sables d'Or-Les-Pins

    It's gentle cycling today as you head first along quiet country lanes then out to the coast and the lively sailing resort of Pleneuf-Val-Andre. The deserted white sandy beaches here are simply gorgeous so make sure you take your swimming things with you! There are also some excellent ocean-facing restaurants where you can enjoy a long seafood lunch. Lovely beachside trails lead to the sleepy seaside village of Sables-d'Or-les-Pins where your hotel is just 200m from the sea.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 37 km / 23 miles
  • Day 3

    At Sables d'Or-Les-Pins

    Relax on the beach or follow our 25km circular cycling route taking in the Cap Frehel lighthouse and the famous 14th Century feudal stronghold of Fort de la Latte. Perched on a rocky promontory above the sea, it occupies one of the finest settings in northern France, and it's easy to see why it's been used on numerous film sets. A climb up to the gallery at the top of the tower will reward you with magnificent views extending as far as Jersey on a clear day.

    Optional ride: 25km / 16 miles
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Sables d'Or-Les-Pins to Dinard

    Today's route starts with scenic pedalling through pretty farming hamlets - wonderful views across the Baie de la Fresnaye. Perhaps stop for a coffee in the bustling market town of Matignon before you head on to the popular yachting village of Lancieux, with its impressive square bell tower capped by a dome and lantern turret. Continue to gorgeous St-Briac where Debussy composed his major work 'La Mer'. The final stretch takes you to your hotel in the seaside town of Dinard.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 43 km / 27 miles
  • Day 5

    At Dinard

    Once a sleepy fishing village on the estuary of the Rance, the English transformed Dinard into one of the most famous and upmarket seaside resorts in Europe. Although a little quieter now, it has not lost any of its charm and many of the Belle Epoque villas have become historic monuments. Walk out to the Pointe des Etretes for views of the off-shore islands, or take a 10 minute ferry across the bay to St-Malo to lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets within Intra Muros (the fortified walls) of the ancient mediaeval city.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Dinard to Dinan

    A complete change of scene today as you cycle inland and follow the banks of the River Rance. You'll feel like you're taking a trip back in time as you pass sleepy hamlets, forgotten fishing ports and postcard-pretty St-Suliac, officially rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Enjoy lunch at the lovely sailing port in St-Hubert then cycle along the wonderfully flat towpath to Dinan. Your hotel here overlooks the river and picturesque port, and has a lovely outdoor swimming pool if you fancy a dip.

    Two route options: East bank route 34km / 21miles or West bank route 33km / 20miles

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 34 km / 21 miles
  • Day 7

    At Dinan

    This beautifully preserved ancient walled town, with riverfront port and picturesque half-timbered buildings, is an absolute gem. Wander round the marvellously restored ancient squares and ramparts, visit the imposing C13 castle (with dungeon), admire the flamboyant Gothic basilica and stroll the lovely cobbled streets packed with authentic artisan workshops. Maybe take lunch in the bustling Place des Merciers, where pretty triangular-gabled houses are further examples of Dinan's exceptional architectural heritage, then, in the afternoon, perhaps follow our 25km circular cycle route inland to the pretty village of Evran.

    Optional ride: 25km / 16 miles

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Dinan to Lamballe

    Your first stop today is the picturesque little village of Lehon, then it's on through quiet farming villages to the impressive 13the century Château de la Hunaudaye. The ruins of this huge Château date back over 800 years, yet the five majestic towers are still in good condition and are surrounded by a water-filled moat. You finish the day with gentle, flat cycling through the forest back to Lamballe where you can relax in the gardens and enjoy a celebratory drink before dinner - a Kir Breton (cassis and cider) maybe?

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 47 km / 29 miles
  • Day 9

    Leave Lamballe

    If you have pre-booked a transfer our rep will take you to Lamballe station in time for your train.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

Throughout your trip, the family-run accommodation ranges from a lovely 16th Century manor house to a modern 4-star riverside hotel, with pool, on the banks of the Rance. In Dinard, you will stay in the beautiful sea-view upgraded rooms, which look out over the idyllic expanse of blue to the old port town of St Malo.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £264.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All buffet breakfasts and 4 evening meals are included.

Brittany’s fish and seafood is without doubt one of the region’s biggest draws. Platters stacked high with lobster, crab, oyster, shrimp and prawns grace the tables of the atmospheric restaurants. Huge bowls of fresh mussels, scallops and stuffed clams take their place alongside delicious sea bass and bream. The flat local ‘Belons’ oysters are delicious, fleshier than normal ones; they are renowned for their fine hazelnut flavour. Seafood will generally be served with the excellent Breton butter, which contains Guérande salt crystals, and plain bread. Many people also think of crêpes when they think of Brittany and indeed almost every little village or town has its own crêperie.

Transportation

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by taxi or minibus. The local representative is often able to dispatch a taxi should you need it in an emergency, but may wish to charge you for this service.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

July is the hottest time to visit the Brittany coast, with an average temperature of 21 degrees C and August providing the most hours of sunshine (on average 7 hours). Those seeking for the best swimming opportunities will find the sea at an average of 18 degrees C in August. The wettest month is October.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Your trip normally starts at our hotel in Lamballe on the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary listed below. Hotel check-in times are normally from around 4pm.

We can book your flights and train travel from London to Lamballe, these can change throughout the season so it is best that you contact our sales team for more information and prices.

If you arrive independently there is one transfer each day from Lamballe station to the start hotel which you are welcome to join if your arrival and departure times coincide. We will need your travel times to arrange this so please contact us with these. If these transfers do not suit you we can arrange alternative for an additional cost or alternatively please make your own way to and from the start hotel.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Lamballe
Location end:
Lamballe

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Water bottle
Daypack
Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
Warm jumper
Waterproof jacket

Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

We use custom made Headwater hybrid bikes. All bikes are supplied with:

  • 1 handlebar map holder
  • 2 rear panniers
  • 1 bike lock per 2 people
  • 1 puncture repair kit per 2 people which includes puncture repair spray and a pump.

If you are booked as a group, but intend to cycle separately please let us know in advance if you wish to have additional map holders or repair kits.

Bike sizes will have been given to the local operator in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, when you receive your bike there will be the opportunity to test and adjust. Our representative will be on hand to assist you and can fit pedals and your saddle if you wish to bring these with you. Please note helmets are not provided and we recommend that you take your own on this trip.

E-Bikes

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it. You can upgrade to an E-bike on a number of our European trips.

Please note: we can only provide e-bikes for over 18's between 5 and 6 feet tall. Although our e-bikes are easy to use, they are heavier than regular bikes and as such are better suited to proficient cyclists. We do not recommend these for anyone out of practice on a bike. Please contact us to discuss their suitability for any members of your party.

Bike Repairs

As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair an inner tube before setting off on your bike! The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems but there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

 

Optional Equipment

Swimwear

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We've teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we'll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It's available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices. 

 For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

230 Volts AC, standard European adapter required.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Lunches can cost from €6-12 depending on the size of lunch and the establishment you choose. Dinners can cost €20-35 for a set menu or a la carte meal. If you will be ordering wine with meals, please add extra for this. Chateau entrance fees in Dinan, for example, are approximately €4 per person.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.