Friday 13 August 2010

Travel Notes - Normandy to Paris

Friday 13th August

Dieppe - St Saens - Buchy - Vascoeuil - Lyons-la-Foret - Gisors = 65miles
Gisors-Paris by train

I'm working my way through France and seeing how far I get on my bike.
I crossed the channel early this morning and started my French adventure from Dieppe.

This part of the ride is familiar to me now, having done it a few times. But a combination of being half asleep at 4.30am and being shrouded in a mist over Normandy meant I did a couple of circuits of the town centre before I found the road I was looking for - the D154. Once I was on the right route it was a case of following my nose in the dark through various sleepy villages (literally).

Arques La Bataille, Bellencombre, St Saens were pretty run of the mill places, give or take the odd war memorial or commonwealth war veterans cemetery.

Terrain was pretty flat and unchallenging, which was fine with me!

The barrista in the Cafe at Buchy gave me strange looks at 8am when I walked in wearing full cycling gear complete with helmet light. I think he thought I was a walking lighthouse!

The prettiest towns of the day were Vascoeuil, which has a medieval castle. It's the gateway to the Andelle region of Normandy. The other high point (literally as well as metaphorically) was Lyons La ForĂȘt - an medieval town that's really quaint and well preserved. A bit touristic, but not hugely. Well healed Parisians have weekend homes here it seems.

Stopped and enjoyed a coffee in the main square before deciding if I should head towards Gisors or Les Andelys. I chose the former, but in hindsight should have chosen the latter - a) because I already know Gisors, and b) because Les Andelys is much more picturesque.
Got on the train for the last section of the ride - saved time and hassle, and I've already ridden around Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. I had the joy of riding from St Lazare station through the centre, to get to my lodgings near Porte de Pantin. Riding through Paris is always fun and games. Enjoying my evening and looking forward to the next instalment tomorrow.