Published by Lyn on 22 April 2016
Coming to France for the start of the Tour de France in Normandy? Read on for ferry information for northern France.
Brittany Ferries advises booking as soon as possible if you plan on coming to France by ferry for stages 1-3 of the Tour de France.
Three of this year's Tour de France stages are in the Manche department of Normandy.
When my friend Claire was planning on coming over from the UK for a few days, we discovered that the convenience of making the hop across the Channel for the 2016 Tour de France is all a bit too easy.
Claire planned on driving to Portsmouth, leaving her car there and getting the ferry to St-Malo with Brittany Ferries. From there, it's a 46km ride on the coastal road to Mont-St Michel and the start of Stage 1 (though local taxis that take bikes are available for people who need to save time/energy).
From Mont St Michel, the Stage 1 route goes to Utah Beach. A short connecting ride then moves the Stage 2 start to Saint-Lô; the second stage ends in Cherbourg.
From there, you can hop back on the ferry to Portsmouth, load your bike back on to the car and drive home.
It's all a bit too easy.
Brittany Ferries sent me the stats on cyclists like Claire using their cross-Channel routes and the figures are astounding.
15,442 cyclists came as foot passengers with their bikes
26,626 cyclists came with cars + bike racks
20,024 cyclists came as foot passengers with their bikes
39,537 cyclists came with cars + bike racks.
Now, I'm no mathematician, but even I can see that that's a massive increase (around 30 and 50% respectively).
Brittany Ferries say that their services in July are already filling up for the Tour de France dates in Normandy (July 2-4). However the company is amending its early July schedule to get as many cyclists across the Channel as possible.
Regular sailings to Cherbourg from Poole and Portsmouth in particular are already filling up, their group commercial director, Mike Bevens, says. Routes to Cherbourg from Poole, Caen and Le Havre from Portsmouth, St Malo and Roscoff from Plymouth are also expected to be busy.
On July 3, the company will also provide fast-ferry 'day trip' services to cater for people wanting to see Stage 2. There will also be changes to ferry scheduling to give cyclists more time to get back to ferry ports after watching stages.
For more details on ferry tickets during the Tour de France, see the Brittany Ferries website.