Paris has a special attractive force that making people don’t want to leave, but to stay in its romantic atmosphere, like my Italian host Mauro decided to settle down there. But my journey had to continue, thanks Julien for recommending me the pilgrimage route from Notre Dame Paris to Mont St Michel, many people actually walk the whole 450km. The road is part of Velo Verte, which is French Green Cycle Path, a perfect facility for cyclists and trekkers.
I set off in a sunny day, and cycled the whole 103km to Chartres. But on the way, I lost track of the Velo Verte and switched back to the main road, which is still nice way to pedal as there were not too many cars.
You can see the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral in Chartres from a far distance, as it was built on top of a hill. I arrived at the old town by 4pm, then ascended myself towards the cathedral. At a certain point, it became impossible to bring my bike up, so I hide it somewhere covered with my poncho. Walking up the stairs it felt like going back to medieval times. The cathedral is absolutely brilliant, there was a mass going on during my visit, and I really appreciated the choir singing and the music from organ.
Walking down the stairs after 30 mins to find my bike was still there, I had to find a place to camp. Just randomly searched the road, and found a cemetery which was still open. I stretched my tent after sunset and spent a quiet night there.
In the morning when I started packing, a men came and told me I couldn’t camp here in French, d’accord, I am leaving now. Merci!
The second day I planned to arrive Alencon and it was 120km, a bit challenging! The scenery was great, passing through the National Park with forest on both sides. I didn’t stop to take pictures except that beautiful sunset.
Again camped a night in a cemetery, raining at night but this time the sound of raindrop accompanied me to sleep. Waited until the rain stop at around 9am, once I stepped out the tent and started packing, it didn’t rain at all the whole day. Thanks God!!
Still continued riding in the National Park area, passing Bagnoles and saw a huge golden farmland with my cycling shadow, what a great picture!
Then once I arrived Domfront, I thought maybe I could ride a bit more on the way to Ducey, so I reached Barenton before sunset. There is a big cathedral in town, and I found a corner to put up my tent and cook dinner.
Mont Saint Michel is not that far now, I can really see people walking this pilgrimage route, totally respect their insistence! Mont Saint Michel looks like a Disneyland castle, such a magnificent abbey built in the 13th century on an island. A few years ago, people could just wait until low tide to walk across the tombolo to reach the abbey.
Walking until the top is free, you only have to pay if you wanna visit the abbey. But the view from the top is already incredible, I was so lucky to be there in such great sunshine and blue sky!
After spending an hour getting lost there, I had to carry on reaching Dinan before dark. Rain started pouring when I was closing up the last 40km, at one point I was totally soaked and cold, but giving up was not an option, so I kept riding to keep myself warm! Thanks my host Alain for picking me up in town and showing me the way to his home. He and his waif Martine welcomed me, but I had to take a warm shower at once. They are so nice to wash all my dirty clothes and cooked me a typical Brittany dish, crepe!
Dinan is a nice riverside town, with old style buildings and a castle and city wall. I didn’t have time to visit all, but thanks to Alain for giving me a brief idea of the history and architecture style in town.
Brittany is famous for its APPLE and CIDER wine! There was a Fete de Pommes (Apple festival) when I was there, Alain and Martine invited me to have a look. I have never seen so many different kinds of apple in one place before, more than 600 kinds!
I wondered if they taste really different or not. They also showcased a traditional way to press and obtain apple juice and the process to make cider. Of course I tasted a bit, really nice apple flavor!
Next time I would stay longer time to explore the area of Brittany, thanks Alain and Martine for this wonderful 2 days, and Martine gave me a self-made pottery necklace as souvenir. It is a boat, I believe it implies that one day I will sail around the world with the wind!
Paris to Dinan 425km