This area on the Normandy coast is well suited for a riding tour with some fine opportunities for beach galloping and history galore.
It has special significance for Americans because it was here at Omaha Beach that our soldiers successfully made the D Day invasion which was a great turning point of the Second World War. Our bloody victory came at a great cost, as some 10,000 American soldiers are buried nearby. As you canter along the beach you can still see the formidable German fortifications built to repel the invasion and the sight cannot fail to fill your heart with pride.
The lodgings on this ride are mostly historic estates and chateaux, each of which is interesting in its own way. You will have a chance to canter on the beach below the Abby/Fortress of Mont St. Michel, one of the most spectacular fortresses in Europe, built on a rocky promontory at the end of a long tidal peninsula. At low tide you can walk there, but at high tide it is surrounded by water, making it almost impregnable against attack.
The mixed breed horses used on this ride are well suited to their environment. These hardy horses are a variety of breeds: Camargue, Arab, Selle Francais, Thoroughbred, French Trotter and Spanish cross horses standing 14-15.5 hh. They are chosen for their temperament, hardiness and comfort. English saddles are used along with a few trekking saddles.
Hardy local breeds, like Camargue, cob, Selle Francais. Arabian, Thoroughbred, draft crosses as well.
Arrive at Chateau de Bellefontaine in Bayeux. Meet your guide and the group at 7pm for a briefing and dinner.
AM – Ride about two hours from the hilly landscape of Normandy to the medieval city of Creully, where the BBC was based to spread the news of the battle of 1944. Visit XIII century St Martin church before lunch.
PM – Ride another two hours through the countryside back to the XVIII century city of Bayeux. Dinner and overnight at Bellefontaine.
AM – This morning visit the Bayeux cathedral, home of the Bayeux tapestry. Listed as a “Memory of the World” by UNESCO, this nearly 230 ft long embroidered cloth tells the story of the events leading up to the Norman conquest of English culminating in the Battle of Hastings.
PM – In the afternoon ride for two hours to a beautiful panoramic view of the Arromanches and the famous Mulberry port. There’s the chance of a canter on the beach. Tonight you’ll have dinner and stay at the hotel La Marine, with wonderful views of the sea.
AM – This morning’s ride will be about 2.5 hrs, on the cliffs above the beach and through the countryside. You’ll have a view of the remains from the famous WWII battle which took place on June 6, 1944 before lunch in Port en Bessin.
PM – Ride another two hours on the cliffs above Omaha Beach, and ride along a section of the 5 mile beach to find a good area for a canter. Spend part of the afternoon visiting the American military cemetery or Overlord museum. After riding, transfer by vehicle to the Chateau de la Roque near Saint Lo for dinner and overnight.
AM – Ride for approximately 2 hours along the river La Vire to Haras de Saint Lo, the heart of the famous Selle Francais breed. Visit the buildings of the National Stud Farm, much the same as it was in 1806 when Napoleon ordered its construction.
PM – After lunch, ride another 2 hours along the river to Herbecrevon. From here transfer by car to Manoir du Brion in Mont Saint Michel Bay. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant before overnight at the manoir.
Ride today in the Saint Michel Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site. Some of the biggest tides in Europe occur in this bay, leaving a large part uncovered at low tide. Many birds and harbor seals live in this area, and it is used as a training ground for Thoroughbred and French Trotter racers. Ride for about 4 hours today, with lunch in a local creperie. Tonight is spent again at the Manoir de Brion.
Breakfast and departure. You may visit Mont Saint Michel on your own or transfer to Avranches or TGV Rennes station (transfer not included).
This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur at the guide's discretion due to the season and weather conditions.
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The guide was an excellent leader and host. While our hotels and meals were excellent, he also prepared picnic lunches that were 4-Star! The venue for the trip was both exciting and interesting, stopping to visit castles, chateaus, caves and villages of great historical importance in French history. It was an unforgettable... Read more
The ride traverses a region of spectacular scenery considered by National Geographic to be one of the world’s last unspoiled and undiscovered earthly paradises. Experience the culture and history... Read more