Musée du Vélo
Fantastic Cycle Museum at la Fresnaye-sur-Chédouet
All over France you find specialist museums, created by people with a burning passion for a particular subject. Once in a while you come across one that is worth going out of your way to visit – and the Musée du Vélo “La Belle Echappée” is a stunning example. It is a cycling museum unique in France, packed with fascinating exhibits.
I’m only sorry that my little video slide-show can’t do the museum “la Belle Echappée” justice, especially as the videos and films that you find there bring the whole thing to life. Look further down for a couple of videos that give a flavour of the passion that cycling engenders in France, and which this fabulous gem of a museum encapsulates.
The Musée du Vélo cycling museum is only open for half of the year, April to September, but if you’re in the area around Alençon (Lower Normandy) in this summer season, and if you have any interest at all in the Tour de France or want to know why the Tour is the biggest spectator event in the world, then make sure you don’t miss the Musée du Vélo.
The Musée du Vélo “La Belle Echappée” displays over 60 bicycles; the story is divided into a series of tableaux, each with bikes, jerseys and videos which trace the development of cycling as a sport in France, with the focus of the exhibits centred on the amazing spectacle that is “le Boucle” – the annual Tour de France. This cycle race, the greatest in the world, has run every year since 1903, interrupted only by the World Wars.
The racing bikes and jerseys on display belonged to or are on loan from the most famous and greatest cyclists in history such as Anquetil, Armstrong, Bobet, Hinault, Indurain, Merckx – some of them still scarred and stained from the battle, and many of the jerseys signed by the riders themselves.
One of the personal highlights of our own visit was the Video Hall, where you can select a rider of your choice and see a cinema projection of a highlight from their career – here is one example, featuring Richard Virenque.
Or this one with Eddie Merckx.
But seriously, to get the full flavour you’re going to have to see this for yourself!
Open 1st April to 30th September
Wednesday to Sunday (closed Monday, Tuesday) from 10h to 13h and 14h to 18h
2010 entry fee: 5€ for adults, 7-12yo 3€, under 7′s free
Route shown is from our B&B on the border of Normandy and Pays de la Loire. We are about 15 minutes away from the museum by car, via the forest road.