On 2 July 2016, the Tour de France Grand Départ pedals off from the legendary Mont St-Michel in the Manche region of Normandy.
With 355km of coastline and the largest network of country roads in France, the Manche is an ideal setting for the start of the Tour de France. Stage 1 (2 July) will start from the spectacular UNESCO-listed Mont-Saint-Michel, one of the most loved and iconic landmarks in France. The race will follow the route to the D-Day Landing Beach at Utah, stage 2 (3 July) will run from Saint-Lô to the port of Cherbourg along the Côte des Isles, and stage 3 (4 July) will set off from the lively seaside town of Granville.
For those visiting Normandy to watch the Tour de France spectacle and its unique festive atmoshpere it’s the perfect excuse to stay on and visit the local sites in Normandy and indulge in its famed cuisine with or without a bike!
Manche region bucket list:
The Mont-Saint-Michel with its architectural masterpiece of an abbey, its medieval winding streets and breath-taking views over the bay is a definite must-see.
Utah Beach, where the American troops landed on D-Day, on 6 June 1944, is now home to a magnificent museum with its very own B26 bomber plane and sand yachting enthusiasts.
Cherbourg is a port city with gardens galore and boasts the Cité de la Mer with its Titanic exhibition, aquariums, and submarine all housed in the former Art Deco Cruise Terminal. The perfect pit stop for moules frites!
Granville, the “Monaco of the North”, is a bustling seaside resort with marina and fishing port, rock pools and sandy beaches plus an 18 hole links. Christian Dior was born here and his birthplace with haute couture exhibition, rose garden and tearooms are open to visitors in the summer months. If the Tour de France inspires you to get back in the saddle there are plenty of changes to cycle in the with over 550km of greenways to explore and bike-friendly accommodation along the way.