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 hard day with terrible weather and tough hills. We started quite like, despite knowing that afternoon is going to bring scattered rain showers into the area. This was to be our longest day so far, around 62km. We were to stay at the Fermes du Florence, a small B&B 9km short of Vimoutiers, a large town in the Orne department of Normandy. The first 35-45km of cycling was uneventful. Road leaving Caen is a very busy D road, turning into a highway at times. Around 5km after Caen we turned onto a much quieter country road and followed the same for the next 35km (D40).
After a brief stop 3km short of St. Pierre sur Dives where Dianna had her lunch, we continued to St. Pierre to have lunch ourselves. This part of Normandy seemed a bit dull. The people around are rough and don’t smile. Towns and villages don’t look very rich. Many were destroyed during WWII and rebuilt to a much lower standard. The town centre of St. Pierre sur Dives turned into Saturday market for bikers. There were two brasseries in town and both around the biker market. It seemed that everyone around smoked. It started raining very hard when we sat down for lunch. The rain passed and we continued towards Vimoutiers. The next 20km should have been quite hilly. Instead of continuing towards Trun and then NE to Vimoutiers we took small side roads to cut some distance.
The rain finally caught up with us on one of the small roads where we also got the news that we will not be able to stay at the Fermes Florance (no baby bed and 48 hour prior notice to server us dinner). We had to cycle 9km past this B&B to Vimoutiers, where luckily I’ve found a vacancy at the Hotel La Coronne.
Thereafter it rained on and off, sometimes quite hard until we got to Vimoutiers. It also became quite hilly, with the next 10km giving us almost 500 meters of climbing.
Last 9km to Vimoutiers were downhill. Hotel La Coronne is a story worthy of a separate post 😉 With most of its staff drunk and rude, smoking bans not really having an effect on neither the staff nor the guests and rooms looking as this was a roadside trucker lodge somewhere in Laos. It took some time for Dianna to finally go to bed.