Normandy and North West France September 2022

First foray into France for us. Two of us decided that the it was time for something different from our usual trips to the Eifel so we planned something a bit different. Finding hotels in France can be a bit hit and miss but I can highly recommend using the Logis de France website for this. This is a site that links together smaller family run hotels with attached restaurants. The hotels are graded according to both comfort and also style of food. We were very impressed with how easy this then was to find places along our Route.

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Day 1. The Hague to Artres, France

We set off from Rotterdam around 1000  and headed south on the A4 down towards Antwerp. Through the tunnels via the port area to avoid the city and then south about a further 40 km into Belgium.  We turned off at Waasmunster and then headed further south through Belgium towards the border. 

Belgium can be a bit boring to ride through and the roads not the best quality however the further south you get the better. Roads were fine although not that adventurous. Late afternoon and we crossed into France. Roads improved in quality anyway and the landscape also quite different. We arrived at our overnight stay at the Hotel La Gentilhommiere in Artres. Simple rooms but the cuisine was absolutely amazing. Something we we find at every stop we had during our visit. 

Day 2. Artres to Bezancourt. 

Again, rather strange for the time of year but the weather was amazing. 20 degrees and full on sunshine. After a typical French style breakfast we headed south through the Picardie roads towards the WW1 battlefields. We stopped at Thiepval and the museum there and then on to the Ulster memorial and finally the Newfoundland memorial. Roads were great and the visit worthwhile. After various stops along the way we ventured further South West towards the village of Bezancounrt and our overnight stay at the Chateau du Landel. Very impressive building about 300 years old and the cuisine was spectacular. Very French style. Well worth the visit! After an extensive 4 course dinner and some of the local cider it was off to bed for the night and ready for Day 3

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Day 3. Bezancourt to /Isigny sur Mer

 

Again spectacular weather greeted us the following morning and around 0930 we were off heading south West. Through picturesque villages and winding lanes we headed deep into Normandy. A lunch stop in  a small town south of Caen comprising of Confit de Canard and great french bread and then we headed slightly northwest towards the seaside town of Isigny sur Mer. Final stop along the way was the German WW 2 cemetery in Cambe.

Hotel de France was a little more rustic then the previous 2 and we decided to venture into the town for some local fare which in fact was a great idea. Again a great dinner and cider and then retirement for the night. 

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Day 4. Isigny sur Mer to Fecamp 

Yet again spectacular weather and we headed out at 0930 towards the WW2 sights of interest along the Normandy coast. After leaving the hotel my bike gave a tyre pressure warning and sure enough we found a large nail protruding from the tyre. What to do on a Sunday morning at 0930 in a small French village and nothing open? Luckily we called the BMW service line and with 3 hours someone came out, fixed the problem with a plug and we were on our way again. Tips to note - next time bring the right repair kit and make sure the electric tyre pump is actually charged! 

Despite the challenge we did make up some time but were not able to see all the sights, however again riding the Normandy coast was quite spectacular. 

Finally we crossed the Pont de Normandy and headed infant towards Etretat and towards our overnight stay close to Fecamp. The hotel did look a little run down when we arrived but how wrong we were. The rooms were amazing and the food absolutely spectacular. By far the best stay we had during the tour. 

Hotel was called Relais des Dalles in the tiny village of Sasselot. Not to be confused with the rather grand 14th century Chateau hotel opposite. 

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Day 5. Sasselot to Wisques. 

Again weather could not have been better. 20 degrees, full sunshine and light wind. We set off heading inland from the coast of Normandy and through lovely winding roads. Generally the landscape is quite flat but passing through the small villages makes it interesting and relaxing riding. After a few stops along the way we finally made it to our final overnight stay in the town of Wisques. Unfortunately the hotel was also a bit tired looking although perfectly  comfortable. Dinner was less impressive and if returning this way we would try to find something else. Luckily it was our last stop before heading homeward. Hotel was the Sapiniere in Wisques

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Day 6. Wisques to Rotterdam. 

Final leg of our trip. Again clear skies greeted us but as we approached the Dutch border with Belgium rain clouds loomed and sure enough just over the border we were forced to stop to get into our rain gear. Heavy at times the rain followed us all the way to Rotterdam and then cleared. 

Again a very pleasant introduction to riding in France. Great roads, great lodging and typically French exceptional food. Well worth a revisit in future!

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