Day 3 of Eindhoven – Paris by bike: Guise – Paris (205 km)

Posted: May 5, 2013 in Cycling, France
Tags: , ,

I was awake before the sun. It was crisp – well, cold outside. My tent had a layer of ice as I left it to start my morning ritual. Today was a long and eventful day. It saw me cycle 205 km into the Parisian dusk.

Trip map and gpx.

The sky was clear, and the sun threw a long shadow and a beautiful soft light as I cycled through the pretty little village of Guise and through the fields.

Guise in the soft morning light

Guise in the soft morning light

Fields in the early morning

Fields in the early morning

The scenery was serene as I followed the Oise river in the sun. Unfortunately the wind had changed direction, and I now had a head wind. That, and the up and down (chopping off some of the meanderings of the river), it was slow going. But, all was better after stopping at a little boulangerie in a little village and buying a beautiful baguette sandwich and some other tasty morsels. And then eating them on some stairs in front of the boulangerie in the sun. This is France!

Fields

Fields

Then the irritation begun. I left my planned route (although I don’t think it existed in real life anyway), and found myself on a main road with trucks whizzing by. Attempts to leave the road resulted in crawling along stony sandy paths that meandered along getting nowhere slowly. Then the planned route (eurovelo) followed a canal. Only, there was no path that didn’t fizzle out. And then there was one, but, it was blocked by massive works on a bridge. There were also ‘no entry’ signs on the canal road, so, there was definitely no guarantee of the road not being blocked again. And the wind was strong, and blowing directly into my face.

Stretches of the canal were suddenly beautiful bike paths – from Appilly to Sempigny. And then, there was another massive bridge works. I crossed that bridge on the narrow pedestrian passage, lugging the bike up a narrow, steep and windy staircase – 3 times. Then the clouds got darker, the wind picked up, and I found myself contemplating a very busy road. Stop, Matthew. Time to eat. Frustration. Anger. Everything sucks. This is lack of sugar. You know that. I ate some müsli bars, and everything seemed better.

My trip to the massive supermarket saw me buy vast quantities of müsli bars. Enough to last the whole year. I still haven’t learned to counter the urge to buy the whole shop when hungry. After a proper lunch, the main road and head wind didn’t bother me, and before I knew it, I was in Compiegne.

The final blow was when I saw a sign – Paris 69km. It was already quite late in the afternoon. I wasn’t going to make it. And, then, the wind changed – it became a tail wind. I left the main road and was blown across beautiful fields, and through lovely villages, past beautiful castles. Life was better again, and I was cycling to Paris! Yay!

Castle

Castle

The big question was: could I get into Paris without going along an almost freeway? All roads become main freeways near Paris. My planned route had me going along a canal all the way into Paris. I didn’t believe that, though.. But, there it was. A beautifully signed and cared for bike path, just where it was meant to be. And it took me all the way into Paris.

It got darker and darker, but I was on the home stretch, and I had a tail wind. I hurtled along the canal. On and on. Passing runners, cyclists, fishermen, lovers sitting admiring the waters. It was a beautiful sunset. A bright pink sky.

Sunset near Paris

Sunset near Paris

And then I crossed the periferique. I was in Paris!

Hello Paris!

Hello Paris!

I had made it! 205km today, and 541km in total. I was happy.

The next day was the victory tour.

Arc du Triompf

Arc du Triompf

Eifel Tower

Eifel Tower

Comments
  1. Arthur says:

    Excelent trip, did you camp wild in France?

  2. […] Day 3. 205km. Guise-Paris: I was awake before the sun. It was crisp – well, cold outside. My tent had a layer of ice as I left it to start my morning ritual. Today was a long and eventful day. It saw me cycle 205 km into the Parisian dusk. […]

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