CURRENT LOCATION: Dieppe
Let’s start with some good news. Upon arrival in Dieppe yesterday after a long cycle in the heat, I sat down for a beer by the harbour and was, imho… fleeced €9 for a 50cl Leffe Blond on draft. (That’s a price Copenhagen’s harbour cafés would be proud of.) The evidence in my favour was a menu that said the price was €4.50 and that the drinks were served as 50cl or 75cl, giving the impression that it wasn’t an option for the premium Leffe to be a modest ‘demie pression’ (25cl). The drink was delivered and €9 demanded. I immediately complained and walked out in digust. Well, OK, being British, I smiled and tossed a cheery ’merci’ in the waiter’s direction handing over my cash while seething internally. So where’s the good news? Well, having visited the local tabac-café this morning and paid the princely sum of €1.50 for a coffee (all in the name of price research), I’m back here now enjoying a 25cl draft Kronenbourg for €2.80. Success!
So, a day off in Dieppe. Watch the video below for the details but a few highlights; the misty early morning around the harbour, the interesting tale of the ill-fated 1942 landings by, mainly, Canadian soldiers on the beach (a precursor of the larger scale landings two years later), the extensive Saturday morning market (where I bought a hat), the predominantly impressionist paintings of Dieppe in the museum (located inside the castle overlooking the town) and a long chat with a couple of French cyclists who I bumped into outside the castle. They too are on a two-month journey around France and have wild camped every night. Now I’ve got one, I take my hat off to them. As the French say, chapeau!
On the downside, I failed to find a guided tour to join. That’s my usual modus operandi on such days off the bike in a strange city. Let someone else do the hard work as I listen and take photos. The only company offering such tours (according to the tourist office) operates Monday to Friday. Obviously no one visits Dieppe at the weekend. Apart from cyclists… The tourist office were able to supply me, however, with a relatively detailed map for the Avenue Verte cycle route which brings me nicely to the plan for the next few days…
Having consulted the distances and locations of campsites in the excellent Cicerone guide, here’s the plan:
Sunday: cycle 53km to Camping de la Minière at Forges-les-Eaux.
Monday: cycle 68km to Camping Municipal de l’Aulnaie at Dangu
Tuesday: cycle 112km to Paris. I’ve approached a Vrienden op de Fiets person in central Paris. I think that’s a long shot. I may also approached a few WarmShowers people in central Paris. When I cycled through the capital in 2015 I stayed for two nights at Camping de Paris on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne but I am conscious that Thursday is July 14th and suspect it might be busy…
If anyone has any other suggestions regarding overnight stops on any of those three nights, please do get in touch.
As for the route itself, Sunday should be all off-road (mainly on disused railway lines I think), Monday ‘shared paths’ (shared, I assume, with cars) and Tuesday a mixture of both.
So that’s the plan. I’ve just ordered a second beer from Thierry (my barman of choice in Dieppe) so I’ll leave you to watch the video. No music today, just the gentle sounds of life in a French northern coastal town…
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