Crossing France on the EV6 route – 3

Yesterday we finished our ride across France, crossed the Rhine, spent a few minutes in Germany, then rode into Switzerland and spent the night in Basel.

After leaving the Loire a week ago, we continued riding beside waterways: the Saône River, the Doubs River, the Canal du Rhône au Rhin and others. On the canal, we’ve ridden past more than 100 locks. It is an amazing system of rivers and canals that once carried goods all over France. It has carried us through vinyards, farms, forests and  major cities for about 1100 km of mostly easy riding on quiet roads and old tow paths in hot, sunny weather.

Tomorrow we begin the second part of our trip—riding the Rhône river from its source in Switzerland to its end at the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Old canal towpath, now a cycle path.

 

Bikes get dirty.

 

Moving East into Burgundy and beyond, colourful tile roofs adorn church and public towers.

 

At Bésançon, a long tunnel carries the canal and the bike path under the fortress above.

 

An abandonded paper mill. Canals were once thriving with industry.
Sign over a doorway.

 

Fence that’s an artwork. Montbéliard.

 

Classy bike storage!

 

Series of locks descending to the Rhine.

 

On the EV6 route near the Rhine.

 

Line at the bakery on Sunday.

 

Basel

 

Basel

 

Swimmers floating on the Rhine.

 

Feet in the Rhine.

 

Crossing France on the EV6 route – 2

Monday Aug 13. We are in le Creusot tonight, not on the planned route, but we felt the need for a rest day and took the train here yesterday. It is as near the original route as we could find for a way to hop ahead by train so that we can have a day off and keep the ongoing accommodation reservations.

Sunday morning we said goodbye to Joanne as she headed off to return her bike and fly to Paris to spend a few days with friends before heading back to Canada. We’ll miss her; it was fun to have her along.

The heat wave has passed, at least for the time being. We are back to normal August temperatures of mid twenties to low thirties with some thunderstoms. Only one rainy day so far.

Following the Loire, we have ridden a lot of dikes and canals in the last few days, mostly through agricultual land. We’ve now left the Loire, heading north-east toward Basel Switzerland. So far we’ve ridden about 650 km.

A few photos:

New Crops

 

Riding out of Gien after lunch by the river.

 

Canal

 

Fishing in the canal.

 

Discussing the route.

 

Flowers alomg the bike path.

 

Trees in a farm field.

 

Inge on a fence by the canal.

 

Joanne also on a fence.

 

L’Allier river, just before it flows into la Loire.

 

Crossing a canal aqueduct over l’Allier.

 

Alley in Nevers.

 

Solar powered phone charging station in Nevers.

 

Roy helping the lock keeper by cranking a manual canal lock.

 

Cycling on a canal towpath.

 

Bikes on a local train.

Crossing France on the EV6 route

We’re back!

We abandoned this route last year after only three days of riding—now we are back to complete it and carry on to more riding in France.

We arrived in France Monday July 30, rode from the airport into the centre of Paris, spent the night at a hotel near the Gare Montparnasse, and on Tuesday took the fast TGV train to Angers. Wednesday August 1 we began riding East on the Loire River with its lovely old towns, limestone buildings, vinyards and chateaux.

Our friend Joanne from Vancouver is riding with us for the first 12 days.

It is incredibly hot and sunny, up to 37º, but fortunately we planned shorter stages for the first part of the ride and we’ve had good luck getting early breakfasts at our hotels so we can start early to avoid the worst of the afternoon heat. We’ve visited two chateaux, Chenonceau and Chambord, ridden through endless fields of grapes, enjoyed great views and had some good food and drink.

The first part of the EV6 follows the Loire Cycle Route, the most popular long-distance cycle route in France. It is fun riding with other cyclists and having so many cycle-friendly places to stay. As much of the route is on separate bike paths, there are many families cycling with young children.

A few photos:

Our hotel in Angers

 

Joanne and Inge as we cross a river on a little you-pull-it-across-yourself bike ferry.

 

Grapes

 

Joanne and Inge

 

Staircase in Blois

 

Blois

 

Chateau Chenonceau

 

Chateau Chambord