France 2017 #01 Paris to Tours - canals and Chateaux

It was a bit nervy wondering if the bikes would show up at Charles de Gaulle, but they did. My best schoolboy French at the information counter yielded nothing more than a shrug when I asked if there was a place to assemble bikes, so we hauled them outside and I put them together near a taxi rank.

We rode out, and as far as I know the bike boxes may still be there. If there's a nice way to ride out of GDG (and my heart tells me there is) I'm yet to find it. Autoroutes and jet-lag are not a happy mix, but we made it.

And then, all of a sudden, it seemed we were in France.

Riding from the small town of Mesil-Amelot we picked up EuroVelo 3; a bike route, if you can find it. From there, it's 40km or so in to Paris, and lovely canal towpaths make it all seem like this was a good idea.

Paris is not scary for bikes, it is beautiful. If you ever have the chance to ride your bike through Paris, take it. Just stick to the bike paths and you'll be fine.

Stopping for food is important. Hot chocolates if it's cold; vital.

The Seine is a big, working river, but things on a river happen at a slower pace. It is gentle, the sounds are low, the big barges take their time.

Overnight stays at Ibis hotels are all part of it. This was Fontainebleau - dodgy housing estates and very young prostitutes sitting by the road, but then in 15 km back to forests and chateaux.

The names of the towns aren't really important. (This is Moret-sur-Loing, much painted but Alfred Sisley) It's nice to follow the canals and see what you can see. The Loing canal comes from the Seine, and if you follow that you will go from the Loing to the Loire.

And there are more fine houses than you can jump over. It seems churlish not to stop for a look every now and again.

And there's full-blown chateaux if that's more your speed. Maybe a couple's enough.

Created By
David Hume

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