As we mentioned a few weeks ago, our husbands have been busy this summer bicycling across Canada (Dad) and training for a full Ironman (Yankee). So, Mom and I thought we would be good wives by entertaining ourselves. And we decided bicycling in France was a great way to keep us busy. Mom has already ridden from the very top of France to the very bottom, and she has done a few week-long bicycling trips there. I have ridden from the Eiffel Tower to Dakar, Senegal (Mom joined me in Spain) and have seen a good bit of the country from the seat of a bicycle.
This trip was different, though. We did a bike and boat trip which means we spent our nights on a boat and ate breakfast and dinner there. Each morning we left by bike at 9 a.m. with a group of other cyclists and a guide and maneuvered our way to our destination for that day. The boat left around the same time and traveled by way of canals to get to the same destination. One morning our boat passed us while we were taking a break. It was the only time we saw it sailing during the week.
We arrived in Paris on a Friday morning, and it was hot, hot, hot. They had been having temperatures in the high 90’s and low 100’s. We took a train (sans air conditioning) to Montargis, a town located a two-hour train ride south of Paris. We hung out in Montargis a day, and welcomed ourselves with a cool glass of rose. Thankfully, our hotel room was air conditioned. Do I sound like a spoiled American? Then on Saturday we boarded the boat which was named the Fleur.
The boats that do the European bike and boat trips are mostly former barges that have been converted into passenger boats. Ours had room to sleep 20 (in air conditioning), a nice deck, a dining room and living room. Although snug, there is always plenty of room for everyone to be comfortable. If anyone starts to feel cooped up, they can take a walk in the town where it is docked for the night.
We rode between 30 and 40 miles a day at a slow pace and stopped to visit sights along the way. For instance, on the first day we went to a honey farm and learned all about the production of honey. We even had a tasting and were amazed at the difference in the flavors based on the time of year the honey was collected and the type of flowers it came from. We’re pretty sure those bees stopped at this field full of sun flowers.
We visited a sculpture garden, took a behind the scenes tour of a historic city, visited the Babylon School of Art, toured Chateau Fountainbleu, went to street markets, and more. If there was something that we wanted to see or do, then we did.
A really cool thing that we did was visit an art museum located in this city hall/library of a town. The towns’ people have always been somewhat artsy, and each artist has been expected to donate one of his/her paintings to the city hall. Some of the art was quite old. Each person who goes to see the art is asked to leave a donation which goes toward the upkeep and restoration of the collection.
The temperatures varied greatly during the day. Since we were in the countryside, a few of the mornings were cool, but it always warmed up. But the sun was shining brightly when we visited Fountainbleu.
We got to enjoy the French foods. Oh la la!
I took a selfie stick, and it came in handy.
We loved the bikes on top of this old car.
On Friday afternoon we all boarded the boat one last time, cleaned up, and sailed into Paris. We toasted our great week with a glass of sparkly. We both headed home the next day so we could get prepared for Haven. We hope you enjoyed the recap of our trip.
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