We headed out of Corps at around 10:30am on the N85. Lot’s of traffic and after a short descent we were climbing again. Shortly after Corps we crossed the boundary of Region Provance Cote’d Azur, departament Haute-Alpes (high alps, no s**t!!!!). Still quite a way from Cote’d Azur, but still, made the climbing feel a bit more rewarding 🙂 We were heading towards Col Bayard or Col de Mense. I was going to ask locals about which of the two is more cycle friendly.
Shortly after the sign, we turned right onto a side road running parallel to the N85 through L’Gaizile (D57L). Beautiful road running along the Drac torrent. Climbing very gently towards L’Gaizile to around 950 meters and than descending sharply back towards N85. Back on the N85 started to look for a pique-nique spot, raced with a Belgian caravan towards an empty table (we won). We ended up having lunch together at the same table. Dianna sat in the Ortlieb rack pack and loved it!
Locals at the Bar/Tabac advised to go for Col De Mense and they were right. The road towards the Col (D14) was quiet and not to badly inclined (Col Bayard promised 12%). It was still a slog, up to 9% for around 4km. Finally arrived at Col at around 4pm and stopped at the nearby Refuge Napoleon for drinks. There I realized that it doesn’t make sense to do a sharp descent into Gap when we could do a gradual descent into Chorges – the town we are going tomorrow, and shave of 20km of the busy N94. Brilliant idea it turned out to be, N94 is horrible. The route was 17km longer than expected, however, at least 13km were downhill.
Categories: Travel Journal
Tags: alpes, baby, chariot, chorges, col bayard, col de mense, corps, cycle, france, infant, N85, N94, ortlieb, provance, route napoleon, toddler, touring
Very easy and short route to Charters took us through endless wheat pastures of central France. In Senonches we realized that somewhere along the way we crossed the border between Normandy and Centre, the two French regions. It seems that Centre is a bit more developed. However this is only a cyclist’s point of view. I know nothing about French regional divisions.
Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 with a goal to take control of the Nile valley, which back then could provide enough wheat for the French empire. After miles and miles of wheat pastures of region Centre I start to wonder whether historians were right about this.
It took us a bit over 2.5 hours to get to Charters. Dianna woke up at 10am! (instead of her usual 6) and was awake looking out her window and playing/singing with herself for most of the way. The route was a bit downhill all the way with a SW wind pushing at our backs. The outskirts of Chartres are quite ugly. The centre is nice, dominated by an enormous Chartres cathedral. As the terrain around Chartres is almost flat, the cathedral is visible from at least 10 km away from the town itself.
In town we paid a visit to the cathedral. It does leave an impression. Tomorrow we will cycle all the way to Orleans. Orleans lies in the Loir river valley. From Orleans we will cycle along the Loir river, following the EuroVelo 6 for the next 200 km until we reach Nevers. It is 75km from Chartres to Orleans and with thundery showers in forecast for late afternoon we are bracing ourselves for a tough day.
This was the best day we had so far. The weather was perfect, much warmer than yesterday. Our route took us through some spectacular countryside scenery: small picturesque villages, densely wooded forests, wide open pastures. Gradient en route was only slightly undulating with no major climbs to tackle.
We took a break at the Chateau Ferme Vidamme (or it’s ruins), built some time in the 10th century. After a short pique-nique we continued towards Senonches, an medieval town set among a vast dense forest. Our hotel today is Auberge La Pomme de Pin. Ooops, 5pm we are here and the doors are closed, no sign of life 😉 A half an hour later someone shows up. Rural France is very laid back, sometimes too much so.