June 12, 2017

Tides



It's true. Unlike my other long rides in France, before beginning this one I did very little reading about the regions I would be passing through. No history books, no memoirs, no travel guides. And no excuses or explanations offered. Plus, this region of France was not embedded in my memory in high school or college classes the way that other regions were. I tell you that to admit that often I do not have a big picture view of quite where I am, geographically. That knowledge is not so needed, because the ride, day by day, brings immense pleasure and its own challenges.




When I arrived at the bridge above, Monique and Pierre were there,cyclists I recognized from the previous night's camping. I was puzzled by the scene in front of me and asked, essentially, what happened to the water in the river? They said: the tide is out. And wow! What tides they are. Not the strongest in France, that honor goes to a region further north, but close. It wasn't so much a river as an estuary, we were so close to the ocean.

I stopped not much later, and enjoyed lunch with this extraordinary view.





The day got long, and they graciously included me in the search for a camp site for the night, stopping at corners to make sure I saw the route and let me catch up.



At the campsite another rider we had seen the night before, Jean-Louis, arrived a bit later, and we enjoyed a filling, impromptu, dinner sharing what we each had to eat.


The next morning we set off for the Passage du Gois. For me it was totally amazing and such fun. I had no idea a road could exist. When we arrived we waited for about an hour for the tide to drop.



The Passage de Gois has been used since the 16th century. It is a stone-paved causeway (now also sometimes asphalt) that is flooded twice a day by the tide. Passable for 3 hours, 1-1/2 hour before and after low tide, the rest of the time it is covered by 5 to 13 feet of water.


Signs advise travelers to seek safety on the towers if caught unawares by the tide.




Seaweeds attach to the roadbed and even when I was there at very low tide the water crept up the roadway.




Residents venture out to collect shellfish.




I had no idea what the day's ride would bring ... such a delight!









8 comments:

  1. What a way to learn geography Susan! Great adventure.

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    1. Thanks Nancy ... Very different than other regions I've visited!

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  2. Looks fabulous. Is this a route that is popular with cyclists? Or are you with a group?

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    1. Hi Susan! I am riding the section of EuroVelo 1 that is in France, called Vélodyssée. If you Google EuroVelo you will find many potentially interesting routes. As best I can tell, this one so far is composed of mostly previously existing cycling routes, such as La Loire we Velo to name just one. So yes there are many cyclists, but the number varies with the popularity of the area. I am not with a group, but riding solo Roscoff to Hendaye.

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  3. Those towers are amazing, they look like they are made from legos. And hard to get your bike up the stairs!

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    1. Absolutely ... And I fear any loaded bike caught by the tides probably drowns.

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  4. You have a knack of finding places that are well worth visiting.

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    1. This was so very well worth visiting, but no credit goes to me. I had absolutely no idea! This trip I followed an established route.

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