France - Day 3 : A nice day for cycling

I woke up because the sun was shining in my tent, that was already a good start. The previous day the sun came out around 11, but this was even better.


You can see the sun was hot yesterday, this was from just one afternoon of cycling.

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

french campsite

The sun was already out

Around 9 o'clock, before we left, a van arrived selling bread. We bought two baguettes. I put one in my bag, Bram didn't have room in his so put one across the handles of his panniers. The route continued along the river. After the village Commercy we stopped for Lunch. This wasn't just to eat, but also because 100 meter further was a steep climb which we wasn't looking forward to. We again put on some factor 40 sunscreen, which was necessary. We didn't have time to have a siësta because we needed to cycle 160 km today.


In the afternoon we saw a sign saying 'Maison natale Jean d'Arc 25 km'. Coincidentally, Bram and I had both read a story from someone else's cycling trip who had seen the same sign but hadn't stopped. Therefore we had to pay it a visit. Fortunately it was part of our planned route so we didn't need to take a detour. Before we arrived we passed many small French villages, they were all 'villages fleuri'. This was a label awarded by the government and meant they were decorated with flowers. 


Not a cloud in sight


These were hills compared to the mountains we would encounter later

It wasn't very crowded near the 'maison natale'. There were a few Dutch people with their mobile homes. We didn't enter but just took some pictures from the outside to prove we had been there.


The house lies on a small courtyard

From there on we were on a 80 km long section of non-stop small hills with steep climbs in between. Everytime we got to the top we had to race down as fast as possible to get halfway up the next one before running out momentum. Forty kilometers before Langer we stopped in a side-road to eat. We had everything on display, 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 saw two other guys on cycling vacation..


The last part towards Langres was pretty tiring, having already cycled 130 km. To reach Langres we first had to climb all the way up, it was one of many French villages built on a hill. 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 are used to weird people. We ordered a Mcflurry to cool down a bit. The next campsite was supposedly 6 km away. After 3 km we already passed one. We weren't sure if this 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 would be able to continue at our current pace we would reach the Mount Ventoux in six days, instead of the 8 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 needed to cycle three loops over the campsite before finding a spot. This was because thus far we had 'only' cycled 498.9 kilometers, which obviously needed to become 500. By the time we reached 500 km we still didn't know where the good spots were. We just pitched our tent somewhere in a way that we would get sun tomorrow morning. 


We showered quickly, as they weren't great. It was very cold and drafty. We cleaned our cooking pan with a scouring pad and some sand.  


There were hardly any side roads today, so we didn't take many wrong turns. That was a first in three cycling vacations. 

Daily distance 173.28 km

Average speed 21.3 km/h