France - Day 3 : A nice day for cycling

I woke up because of the sun 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 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. 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 steep climb which that we weren't looking forward to. We again applied some factor 40 sunscreen. We didn't have time for a siësta because we had 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 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 the villages  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 campervans. 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 of a hill we had to race down as fast as possible to get at least halfway up the next one before running out 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 saw two other guys on cycling vacation..


The last part towards Langres was pretty tiring after already cycling 130 km. Langer is was one of many French villages built on a hill, so 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 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 were able to continue at our current pace we would reach the Mount Ventoux in six days, rather than the 8 we had initially 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. By the time 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 sun in morning. 


We showered quickly, as the bathrooms weren't great. They were 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 trips. 

Daily distance 173.28 km

Average speed 21.3 km/h