August 29, 2014

Paris - Nice 2014

Paris to Nice, the route of this year's trip.

After arriving at Charles de Gaulle yesterday, I took the RER into Paris, and managed to get my bike (in its travel case, with wheels) and me to my hotel. Even with the wheels on the case that was hard. Very hard. The RER is easy. And there is an elevator from the RER platform to the street. It is important to find that elevator. I didn't. It felt like a million stairs up to ground level. Once I got there I couldn't get out, so I ducked under the turnstile, and coaxed my bike through. The people watching laughed in commiseration.

After settled into my hotel, I did the kind of things you do before a long bicycle trip in a country across an ocean: bought a SIM card for my phone, ate a few times, walked around, put my bike back together and went for a short ride in the evening light in Paris (how fun was that!!) Generally I worked my way through jet lag and got somewhat accustomed to being on a different continent.

This morning I left Paris, and will be travelling generally southeast, to finish on the Mediterranean in Nice.

Though inspired by the famous annual race, I won't be racing. Far from it. But I will be passing through many towns and villages visited during the historic event, which changes course every year. In recent history it hasn't started in Paris at all, but in various cities to the south. In fact, in 1963 and 1964, it began in Fontainebleau.

Following brilliant advice from my internet friend Sarah, who lives in Paris and is now cycle touring to the Austrian Alps, I took the train to Fontainebleau, and will begin my ride from here tomorrow. You can find her trip journal here.

Last night I stayed in a small hotel in St. Germaine de Près, eponomously named for its location: Hôtel St. André des Arts. Built towards the end of the 16th century, its original posts and beams are still visible. The hotel graciously let me store my bike in their basement, and are keeping its travel bag there until my return. This is a wonderful small hotel near the river, full of character, in a fascinating location. I promise you, those steps to the basement are the steeest and narrowest I have seen. Inspired by a suggestion from my brother, here are some photos.

Of what, you ask? Posts and beams, of course.

Le Chateau Fontainebleau is neither as grand nor as magnificently luxurious as Versailles, but it is truly grand and luxurious enough ... and today at least there were no crowds, no lines, no pushing people. Again inspired by the same question.

????? Ceiling details, of course, all ceilings.

Today I am staying in Fontainebleau at the very comfortable, lovely Hotel Richelieu, where the owners have more than accommodated me. They are as helpful, kind and generous people as you could imagine. Arriving far too early, Isabel offered me a room where I could change. Later, her husband, a cyclist himself, noticed several places that my bike wasn't quite right, and helped me to adjust them. (Jet lag surfacing yet again.) All I can say is, if you are in the area of Fontainebleau, stay there. It is immediately across the street from the chateau and the food in the restaurant is superb!

Tomorrow I ride 60 miles, 100k, to Joigny. My bike computer is turned to kilometers, to encourage my brain to adjust.



  1. You land with your feet to the ground, the wheels spinning, the artisans of cycling at your beck and call: Now that is called the luck of the sweet smile...

    1. George, You flatter me ... That's ok, go ahead! ... but I think my good fortune has more to do with the French culture's understanding and support of cycling journeys!

  2. Beautiful pictures! You know I LOVE the architecture shots! I'm looking forward to reading the details of your adventure :)... Marcy

    1. Wish you were here! Took some more just for you today, will post if they are decent.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! Maybe some day we will actually meet up on the beautiful little roads of France.

  4. A very stylish start to your trip. I look forward to further reports.

    1. Thanks! Wish we would be able to share a dinner again this year.


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