Dragon Festival at the Normans

As soon as we leave Brittany, the summer is over. Sixteen degrees and single digits at night. Finally the warm sleeping bags are used. By chance we end up at Camping Brécey. In the morning we had chosen a different destination. This campsite simply gets in our way, close to the town of Brécey in the Department of Calvados, where we shop in the afternoon. It looks like the place is already closed. It’s mid-September. A single motorhome and a tent are there. The reception is closed and the adjacent swimming pool anyway. As it looks so inviting and there is obviously a warm shower, we stay. In the evening, a woman comes by and inquires about our well-being and travel plans. We don’t have to worry about the overnight stay, she says. We stay, have a nice evening, a starry night, at the campsite, which is more similar to a garden and farm than a place for campers.

Camping Brécey

The next morning we continue north, through cultivated fields with beans, carrots, cabbage and corn, through Norman Switzerland and then on the railway cycle path to Caen.

Breakfast on the bike path

Caen is standing in the sunlight as we drive through. The city looks lively and welcoming. It reminds a little of Nantes. The Orne and a canal flow through. It is not far to the sea. We come to Ouistreham by the sea, where ferries to England depart. You can see that. So many Brits and the Union Jack at half-mast. Right next to the bike path you can see the makeshift camps of the refugees who somehow want to get on the ferry.

At night it is so windy that towels and washed clothes are dry in no time.

The wind comes from the north, the sky white-blue. We cycle along the coast. Straight into the Dragon Festival of Merville-Franceville. Hundreds and more, many dressed up and with great make-up, arrive just for the adventure weekend. Traffic jams on roads, footpaths and cycle paths. We shred each other, although not costumed.

Continue to Deauville, Trouville-sur-Mer and Honfleur, also called ‘the bathtub of Paris’. The town of Honfleur is a dream.

Beach between Deauville and Honfleur
Port of Honfleur

We sit down on the steps at the sheltered harbor and enjoy the sun. Continue on the “Vélo à la Seine”. We drive south above the Seine meadows through a large natural park -‘Les boucles de la Seine’ with thatched half-timbered cats and chalk cliffs in the background, spend the night in a small paradise garden ‘Les Bruyéres’ near Conteville (see top 10 campsites) and cycle the next day, across Normandy towards the coast.

Camping Les Bruyéres with homemade pizza in the evening
We take the ferry across the Seine and the landscape is a completely different one

It is quite cold as soon as the sun disappears behind the clouds. We follow the Eurovelo 4.


It goes via Dieppe to Le Tréport and Mers-les-Bains. Mers-les-Bains with its three hundred Belle Epoch houses Unesco World Heritage and unique in France, transports you to the 1920s. The weather means so well with us. Haven’t had a break day for a long time. Le Tréport, the port, beach and campsite are welcoming and so we stay.

In the foreground the rooftops of Le Tréport, in the background in front of the chalk cliffs Mers-les-Bains
Le Tréport
Le Tréport

There is also the weekend SZ, which we got hold of in Sassetot, the only printed edition in five months. This is worked through, the city is explored, the fishermen are watched and the catch is examined, the chalk cliffs are admired and otherwise … let’s just don’t do anything. It’s summer again, at least as long as the sun is shining and for us the last day at the sea that says goodbye with a sunset.

Port exit of Le Tréport

Most thoughtful! Also the next day goes along close to the coast and we land in Boulogne sur Mer, France’s largest fishing port in Pas-de-Calais. The Camping Municipal in Winnereux is mediocre, the beach five minutes away is fantastic. Another sunset by the sea. We didn’t dream of that. A balmy evening that a lot of people enjoy with us on the SUP, with a short swim in the sea, on the beach or in the beach bar.

Winnereux at Boulogne-sur-Mer

Along the ‘Route de la mer du Nord’ from Boulogne-sur-Mer we head towards Belgium. Strange names have the places here. We shop in Bollezeele. The cycle path is now called ‘Noordzeeroute’. ‘French Flanders’. You don’t stop learning.

Coffee break on the cycle path in Tournehem-sur-la-Hem

Before we know it, we are in Belgium and six weeks in France are behind us. We even forget to shop a few last bags of Lutti Surffizz.

Vive la France!

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