Monday, July 16, 2012

Cycling in France

I needed to write another post to get rid of the complaining post below, so I thought I'd focus on France again as part of Paris in July, thanks to the meme from Thyme for Tea and Bookbath
I'm enjoying the Tour de France on television in the mornings. I watch to see the countryside, but also get sucked into the drama of the racing. I cringe and look away at the crashes. Bicycling in France was one of my favorite vacations of all time.
In October 2002, Earl and I left the kids with my parents and went to France for 10 days. We rented bikes from Bourgogne Randonee in Burgundy. They delivered the bikes to Avignon in Provence for us where we began our tour. We traveled with saddlebags on the bikes and nothing else, so we really had to pack lightly.

This is me standing with the bikes. In the background on the left is the bridge from the famous song, Sur le Pont d'Avignon, and that's Avignon on the right behind me.
We had a very loose schedule planned on where we would stay each night. We pieced together some different bicycle routes from the book Bicycle Tours of France by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks.  
The first day was the hardest for me. Maybe because of jet lag, but also because we didn't take any chocolate with us along the way on the 40-mile ride. I think we pictured stopping at a 7/11 type store to buy something to eat. Bad planning.
I need to scan this photo again to get it in
 the computer in a more usable form.
We rode across the Pont du Gard, a Roman adqueduct near Avignon and ended our day in Nimes. We had no hotel reserved, simply pulled into the center of the city on our bikes and went to the tourism office. They helped us find a hotel across the street from the Roman amphitheater. In spite of some rain, we made our way from city to city. One day when it was raining, we put our bikes on the train for a short ride to the next city. We also stayed in Arles, Salon de Provence and ended up in Aix en Provence where the brothers of Bourgogne Randonee retrieved the bicycles.
On the trip to Aix, we had lunch in a little village called Equilles. We could see Aix in the distance and we lingered over pork chops and green beans, along with glasses of rose. For some reason, we still consider that simple meal to be one of the best we've ever eaten. Maybe it was the fatigue, the ambience, the company.

This trip has been our high standard for vacations since then. We can't wait to move to France someday where we can take bike trips whenever we want.

1 comment:

Linda said...

I always thought a bike trip would be fun-but I'm not sure if I could do it. I love Aix-such a great city. And I miss Provence.

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