Archive for May 11, 2011

Paris to Chartres   1 comment

[This is my 3rd installment of my memoir of  my first cycle tour in France. This ride with 3 friends was focused on the Loire Valley and Normandy]

It was early on a Sunday morning in May that the four of us left our small hotel on Boulevard de Magenta and cycled out way out of Paris. We were headed south and our route took us down streets we wouldn’t have dreamed of cycling upon during most times of the day and week. We rolled down the Rue de Rivoli and even went part of the way around Place de la Concorde. Beyond that our route out of Paris is a blur. I do recall there were short stretches of cobblestone streets that we had to ride and that it was a very rough an challenging ride with fully loaded bikes.

Before long we were out of Paris, into the countryside and some smaller villages. We came upon this boulangerie in one of those village and the scene just screamed “FRANCE” to me:

Sunday Morning in France

– a crowd lined up outside the local bakery, a guy on a bike and older gentleman in a beret – cliches perhaps but wow, I felt like I was in the right place!

The exact route we took that day from Paris to Chartres is lost to me but I know it was something like 80K of cycling and virtually all on small, flat departmental roads. The weather was great, the riding was easy – what a great start.

Between Paris and Chartres

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of photos from this first cycling day in France. I guess I was just too blown away by the beauty and the magic of actually being there. Another factor might have been that since this was in the era before digital photography, every press of the shutter was precious and I was probably subconsciously saving my film for the chateaus of the Loire .

My Apollo in the Grass

The destination for the day was the town of  Chartres. The Chartres Cathedral is a marvel of 12th Century gothic architecture. We spent what was left of our afternoon exploring this structure and taking lots of photos.

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral detail

Chartres Cathedral Tower

The next day we would continue our ride south, to Orleans, the start of the prime destination of our tour – the Loire Valley.

Posted May 11, 2011 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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