Vacation pt 4: Paris to Rouen
The Parisian metropolis is no fun to try and escape by bicycle, especially if you don’t know your way very well. My friend Olivier advised me to take a train to Gisors and ride to Rouen from there. He even outlined the best route and loaned me a map. It was a beautiful ride and I arrived at Alain’s house that afternoon hungry and in need of a shower, but really happy. Alain and I have many friends in common and have corresponded via Facebook for a long time, but we had never actually met face to face. He and his wife Nicole provided a wonderful meal and we talked so late I could hardly keep my eyes open. The next morning, Alain and I went for a bike ride. We stopped numerous times to take photos or simply enjoy the view.
When most people think of the river Seine, they think of Paris, Notre Dame, and stone bridges. Downstream from Paris though, the Seine flows back and forth through Normandy in great hairpin loops. Our ride required us to cross the river several times and there are free ferries at many points.
The ferries don’t run at lunch time. We had planned to eat in a particular restaurant, but missed the last pre-lunch ferry by perhaps 20-30 seconds. The two choices at that point were to ride a very long way around, or have a beer in the bar next to the ferry dock. Actually I think we had two beers and a sandwich.
The next day on my way out of town, I visited the grave of one of the greatest racing cyclists that ever lived, Jacques Anquetil. It’s in a church yard, just down the street from Alain and Nicole’s house and I never would have known if they hadn’t mentioned it. The stop earned my passing notice on the local news website.
At this point, I only had a few more days in France before it was time to fly home. My plan was to ride from Quincampoix back to Guingamp over a period of two or three days, but after wasting several hours being lost, then getting soaked in a rainstorm, I took the train instead. Vacation is all about having fun, I reasoned, and up until now I had been having lots of fun. Better off to take the train and spend a few more wonderful days with friends than to suffer needlessly in a wet tent on a long solo ride!