This sport was popular in the early 80s on the coast of Manche, then fell into disuse and is starting to gain popularity again.
You need a board, often a wooden one, flat. And a flat beach on which every wave coming will leave a thin film of water. This will be your playground. You just throw the board onto this film of water, parallel to the shore and jump onto it, sliding on the water. When experienced, you may try to turn to the next wave coming, jumping it...
Given that the beaches are long, flat and with skimboarding you are not so much in the water as riding it, it might be an ideal sport for Normandy...
Equipment: Our first skimboard was just a thin plank of wood, cut out. But today you can get even composite boards for skimming.
A variant of "char a voile" that has recently made an apparition, it is a small vehicle propelled not by sail, as in traditional char, but by a small kite.
Wind and vast beach stretches by lowtide make this a favourite sport.
Yes, paragliding is often associated with mountains or at least nice cliffs. Yet it is easily done on a beach in the Manche department - constant winds that are lifted by the dunes offer ideal spot for some tranquil paragliding. While you will not go that far up, it is possible to drift along the dune line for one hour before descending...
A sport very much on the rise at this moment in the Manche department.
Constant winds and vast stretches of sea that you can roam near the coastline - what more to ask for?
Just do not forget to pack your wetsuit, it can get really cold...
I am sure you saw the romantic picture - beautiful woman (or a man), riding on the beach along the waves with the sun setting behind...
You can make that dream come true - at least with the beaches facing all due west and the vast expanses of them.
Actually it is slightly harder than that. While finding a horse should not be so difficult - many riding centres will propose to you the "riding on the beach" activity, you should be a confirmed cavalryman (or woman), will be riding in a small group and there are some hours to respect - you will be driving rather when the tide goes up to erase the traces of your passage and outside of the hours where you would encounter swimmers on the beach.
Otherwise you can just settle on a ride through the countryside, maybe less romanticized, but still very nice. (as was the case with the photo - they do not take ponies on the beach)
Equipment: One of the many riding centers in Normandy can be found in Hauteville, 45, avenue des Sports. 06 68 66 20 96
Favourite activity when the tide is low and wind is high. So that means around half of the time...
Char a voile (Car with sail - or not a car, but something on wheels) is a sport very enjoyed in Normandy. There are several types, some ressembling more a windsurf mounted on wheels, but the most frequent version is a 3 wheel chariot on which you can lie, that has a mast with a sail.
Driving on the sand hardened by the retreated water, these engines can attain tremendous speeds.
Equipment: If you do not have your own char a voile, you can rent it in almost any place where you would rent a boat, a catamaran or a kayak by the seaside. Many of resorts also propose some courses to teach you how to sail the sands...
So, do not forget the helmet, strap on and ride...
Predominantly flat (while there are some hills in Normandy, they are rather sparse and gentle), it is an ideal country for cyclists.
Small roads have rather limited traffic and there is a network of greenways - "chemins verts" that are reconverted ancient railroads, where you can either cycle or walk, ride or drive a carriage. It is not a problem renting a bike also. There is an excellent guide - Chemins verts de Normandie, available free from any Tourism office (you will find there also where to rent the cycles should you not bring them with you). Basically, the greenways run all the way from Cherbourg to south of the Manche department.
To that, you can add local circuits, passing along small local roads with almost no traffic, making cycling real pleasure.
The coast of Normandy can make for sime nice kayaking trips along the shore, riding the mascaret or downriver through the "havres" on high tide.
Or just playing and surfing the waves, which can be treacherous sometimes :-)
Equipment: Either you have your own or you can rent it through a nautical base, found in main stations along the coast.
The beaches & coastline of Normandie are an ideal place to learn watersports such a surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing etc. Because of the Cherbourg Peninsular which sticks far out in to the English Channel (Manche) between there to as far west as Le Harve the waters are very sheltered. Ideal for learning the above mentioned sports.
The below site gives all the information of recommended Surfing beaches in Normandie
Route du Mont Saint Michel, BP 8, Mont-St-Michel, Basse-Normandie, 50170, France
Good for: Solo
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