What a difference a day makes 🙂
Having had a good nights rest we put on dry clothes and shoes and met for breakfast. We made sure we ate plenty of the delicious pastries and fruit and the sun streamed in through the large windows.
We checked out of the hotel, collected our bikes and gave them a quick inspection. We topped up the tires of Gus’ bike and oiled some chains, then loaded up the bikes and set off.
Gisors was nice to cycle through, and it wasn’t long before we got onto a long straight cycle path. In much better spirits than the previous day we kept ourselves amused on the Avenue Verte:
After 20 km we rejoined the roads, but they were quiet roads and this was Easter Sunday, so there was very little traffic.We cycled through villages, along country lanes and by farms. The route had hills and it was windy, but with the sun shining we were happy cyclists.
We had a couple of rest stops, but didn’t find any shops open until we had cycled 60 km to Cergy, where we came across a bakery that sold sandwiches, cakes and soft drinks. We took turns making our selections. When I asked, in French, for a bottle of water, the bakery staff seemed relieved – the others had asked for the same by turn in English, Spanish and German..
The route I had picked had some variations from the usual L2P routes. We took a shortcut after Sartrouville avoiding the long loop around the Seine to ensure we had enough time to enjoy Paris in the evening. I also plotted a route that took us directly to the Eiffel Tower.
The route was generally quite good. Although there were two bits that could be improved for next time.
Firstly, one of the roads on the planned route was a major road without any space at the side for cycling. It felt too dangerous, so we left the main road and found a quieter diversion which got us where we wanted to go.
Secondly, the route to get us to La Grande Arche de la Défense had major road works and closures. As with the docklands, the high buildings confuse the GPS into not showing you where you actually are, and the roads themselves are at multiple levels, so our maps didn’t show us how to get to where we wanted to go. After bumbling around for a bit we found a ramp up to the correct level, and then a stranger helped us by telling us how to get to La Grande Arche – we were only a minute’s cycle away! Once there we knew which direction to head, and coming down the labyrinthine la Défense to the Seine was a lot of fun – we had to look for ramps to take us down each level:
After stopping off to pick up champagne we headed for the Eiffel Tower. Catching a glimpse of it in the distance as we approached was exciting. Paris has a reasonable infrastructure for cyclists, a mix of dedicated paths, shared paths, painted lanes. We had to tackle a couple of large confusing roundabouts before crossing over the Seine one more time to reach our destination.
It felt really great to arrive. Sam distributed medals which she’d had engraved for us and we celebrated with our champagne and took lots of photos.
After a break we cycled back to our hotel at sunset (Hotel Claude Bernard Saint-Germain on Rue Des Ecoles) via the Louvre and Notre Dame. Paris is one of my favourite places, and this was very special. Before checking into the hotel we nipped around the corner to book a table for 10pm at Le Petit Prince de Paris, for our celebratory meal.