Here’s a post from the summer of 2015 as I travelled across Europe from southern Spain to northern Norway including a wobbly cycle up the Champs Elysées, somewhat slower – see the video – than today’s professionals in the Tour de France. Read the full story in Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie.
Cycling Day 35: Fontainebleau To Paris
Enjoy the teaser? Thanks for coming back to read the text! (It’s not half as good…)
If I have learnt one thing this week it is how to spell ‘Fontainebleau’ correctly. Ask me a few days ago and I would have put money on ‘Fontainbleu’ but it isn’t. However, I’m now glad to have moved away from Fontainebleau for the same reason that I was delighted to have to no longer write about Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port with all its hyphens in that I don’t have to consciously spell the word. Paris is far easier so it’s rather nice that this is now where I am. You’re beginning to wish you just stopped with the teaser aren’t you? It’s still here, don’t worry, and shows, somewhat speeded up, my entrance into Paris. I’m sure that if GoPros had been around in Napoleon’s day, he would have had one clipped to his epaulettes. How much more interesting would that have made history lessons? My own entrance into Paris was far less dramatic than Napoleon’s (I assume) and the clip shows the moments from arriving on the left bank at the end of the Ile de la Cité – you can see Notre Dame cathedral quite clearly – along said Rive Gauche, across the footbridge to the Jardins des Tuileries, through said gardens, across the Place de la Concord, up the Champs Élysées, round the Etoile and finally through the Arc de Triomphe, in triumph. If you have nothing better to do for 1 minute 46 seconds, here it is again:
But that’s just the end of the cycling day. “What came before?” I hear you demand to know. Well… Back through the forest of (concentrate) Fontainebleau, over the very pretty Seine, through some nice villages and towns, along a muddy track, through more suburbs (increasingly commercial), past a block in the road – see picture below – that was the first metre measure (imagine putting that in you school bag), through the Sénart Forest and a few more rough tracks, into the outer suburbs of the capital full of young men lurking outside bars and hanging around street corners looking warily in my direction, into the smarter inner suburbs with lots of old ladies lurking outside boulangeries and hanging around bus stops looking warily in my direction, over the Seine again to follow the right bank of the river before a penultimate river crossing to get me to the point where the video starts. Phew!
Tonight I’m at the only campsite in central Paris. Considering just how close I am to all the attractions (about 5 km on the other side of the Bois de Bologne) paying €20 per night is extraordinary value. OK, if you go to the George V you don’t live in a tent but you know what I mean. The facilities here are excellent; most are brand new although many have yet to be finished. It’s called Camping Indigo. Even the staff are very pleasant. Paris! What’s happening to you? That said I have probably doubled the amount I have paid the campsite to stay here for two nights by getting my clothes washed, buying some beers from the shop and a pizza from the snazzy silver van outside reception. C’est la vie…
Tomorrow I have rest day 5. I’m meeting three former colleagues from the school that I left last December. We will no doubt spend the day sipping wine in the bars of Montmartre, taking in the sights, heading off to the Moulin Rouge later in the day for a bit of nightclubbing before seeking redemption in absinthe in the early hours of Tuesday. Goodness knows what the 30 children they are bringing with them are going to do…