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Monday, 29 May 2017

A trip round the neighbours - Day 11, France

I was up early and on the road on what will be my last full day in France. I had a very pleasant ride on quiet roads due to what I think was a public holiday. This means no trucks, and few shops open. I stopped at a small supermarket and they had no fresh bread, something you never expect to find in France.
I'd been having a problem with my satnav since the bracket broke a few days ago. Sometimes it would flash up the 'low battery' warning, but if I wiggled it on its mount, it usually corrected itself. However, the warning came up more often and eventually the screen blanked. What I suspect has happened is that when the mount cracked, the pins that make the electrical connection moved slightly and didn't line up properly. When I was in the supermarket I bought a map of France and continued on stopping and consulting it as necessary.
On the way I saw this impressive memorial to the Free French Army who had liberated the town during WW2.

My stop for the night was Reims and I had intended visiting the old Reims-Gueux race circuit. However the map I had bought didn't have enough scale for me to find it so I headed into the city centre to find my hotel. I'd found that if the satnav wasn't used for a few hours, the battery would recover enough for it to work for bout 5 minutes, so one in the city centre I switched it on to find my hotel - I was 400 metres away from it! However I might not have found it as I had to ride through a no entry sign (except authorised vehicles), then between some bollards and up a pedestrian lane! This is regarded as normal in France!
I dropped off my luggage, changed, then went for a walk around the city centre. Once again a very interesting city with lots of good old buildings, and lie every French town I've stayed in, a tram network that makes finding your way around easier. Once again it was very hot and sunny - I could get used to this!
When I got back to my hotel, there were 3 British registered bikes parked next to mine - bikes that were at the hotel in Dijon the night before! I'll have to say hello the owners if I see them.
I bought a map with better scale and between that and Google Maps I've worked out my route to the old race circuit, 7.7 km from my hotel. It was an old road circuit and the grandstands, pits, and control buildings have been restored and you can just drive past them on the road. I'm going to ride over for some photos tomorrow morning before heading north.
This is probably my last post before I get home. Tomorrow I ride to Zeebrugge in Belgium for the over night ferry to Hull, and on Wednesday I ride home. I want to carry as little upstairs on the ferry, so won't take my netbook with me, and I'm not sure what the level of Wi-Fi (if any) will be. I've got hundreds more photos and lots of videos to post, but they'll have to wait until I can use my PC at home.
Some photos from Reims:

 The cathedral is a really impressive building that is undergoing extensive renovation. Some parts look as if they have been completely rebuilt. The quality of the workmanship is incredible. 

This unrestored wall had what looked like bullet strikes. The cathedral was badly damaged during WW1.

 Traffic island with flowers and harps - why not?

 Two views of the Carnegie Library with a sculpture of the man himself.

 Another view of the Cathedral, just look how much work went into building it!

 No, I can't explain that!


  1. You'll be glad to hear that it's bucketing with rain here. It'll be ok on Wednesday so you managed the entire trip without needing waterproofs.

    1. It came quite close in Ireland, but the waterproofs haven't been out yet! Is that tempting fate?

  2. What is it with Reims? When Gareth and I went there a few years ago we could see our hotel from the main road, but couldn't work out how to get to it. So, we eventually crossed our fingers and drove the wrong way through a bus depot, up onto the pavement, and through a pedestrian precinct to its door.