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France - Day 3 : A nice day for cycling

I woke up because the sun shone on my tent, which was an excellent way to start the day. 


You can see the sun had been out yesterday. This was from just one afternoon of cycling.

It wasn't a huge campsite, but it was pretty.

french campsite

The sun was already out.

Around 9 o'clock, a van arrived selling bread. We bought two baguettes. I put one in my bag. Bram didn't have room in his, so he put one across the handles of his panniers. Our route continued along the river. After the village Commercy we stopped for Lunch. This wasn't just to eat but also because we were at the bottom of a steep climb, which we weren't looking forward to. We again applied some factor 40 sunscreen. 


In the afternoon, we saw a sign saying 'Maison Natale Jean d'Arc 25 km'. Coincidentally, Bram and I had read a blog from another cyclist who had seen the same sign but hadn't stopped. Therefore, we had to visit it. Fortunately, it was on our route, so we didn't need to take a detour. Before we arrived, we passed many small French villages. They were all 'villages fleuri', a government label indicating they were decorated with many flowers. 


Not a cloud in sight


These were hills compared to the mountains we would encounter later.

It was relatively quiet near the 'Maison Natale. There were a few Dutch people with their campervans. We didn't enter but just took some pictures from the outside to prove we had been there.


The house lay in a small courtyard.

From there on, we followed an 80 km long section of small but steep hills. Every time we reached the top of a hill, we had to race down as fast as possible to get at least halfway up the next one before running out of momentum. Forty kilometers before Langer, we stopped on a side road to eat. We had all our food laid out on the ground, because we figured nobody would be there. Just when we were ready to eat, a car emerged. The driver wasn't very happy to see us, so we cleared the road as quickly as possible. We had a warm meal as well as a baguette with Nutella. We also saw two other guys on a cycling trip.


The last part towards Langres was pretty tiring after having already cycled 130 km. Langer is one of many French villages built on a hill, and we had to climb quite a bit to reach it. We had time to spare, so Bram wanted to drive through a nearby Mc-Drive. The people working there didn't look as surprised as we expected, probably because they were used to weird people. We had a Mcflurry to cool down a bit. The next campsite was supposedly 6 km away. After 3 km, we had already passed one. We weren't sure if it was the right one. As the road went downhill, we decided to take this one so we wouldn't have to cycle back uphill if we were wrong. We realized that if we continued at our current pace, we would reach the Mount Ventoux in 6 days rather than the eight we had planned.

It was quite a shock when I said, 'voes avee uun plas poer uune nwiet?' and the guy behind the front desk replied in Dutch, "Yes, do you have one or two tents". On this campsite were only Dutch people. We had to cycle three loops over the campsite before picking a spot to camp. This was because we had 'only' cycled 498.9 kilometers thus far, and we obviously needed to reach 500 km. When we reached 500 km, we still didn't know where the good camping spots were. We just pitched our tent somewhere where we would get sunshine in the morning. 


We showered quickly, as the bathrooms weren't great. They were freezing and drafty. We cleaned our cooking pan with a scouring pad and some sand.  


There were hardly any side roads today, so we only took a few wrong turns. That was a first in three cycling trips. 

Daily distance 173.28 km

Average speed 21.3 km/h

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