We decide our best option is to take Eurostar from London to Paris and head off from there. We surely get points for flexibility! The trip through France will also allow us to cycle ourselves fit as we head to the Pyrenees.
One problem remains: how to get out of Paris with almost no preparation or planning. The web of course comes to our rescue. A quick Google search throws up David Q May’s site and his seven options out by low or no traffic routes. There is no time to look for others, so we print off the option south along the Seine and we are good to go.
Looking back we were very lucky to hit on this site. David’s instructions are clearly the result of experience in the saddle. They are very detailed and somewhat idiosyncratic at points, but they take us into a Paris we would never have found for ourselves in a million years and serve us really well.
We find we have to stop often on the route from Paris to Fontainebleau: at points every few hundred metres. As he says it’s a complex and varied route, but we hold faith in the directions, take time to interpret them on the ground and they work well for us.
This is not to say we do not get lost a few times. The Forêt de (forest of) of Senart proves to be too much for us and we are soon off route. A coffee stop puts us right and we are soon back on track. Ignoring instructions and heading south at all junctions seems the best approach.
We end up doing about 75 km in the course of the day to Fontainebleau and it takes us a very long time as endless stops to check the route slows progress. Much of this will have been our fault and the result of not having a great map with us. However, we arrive safe and sound after a great run from Paris, excited and with a great sense of satisfaction.
We had our Garmin Edge 800 with us and it plotted our route. It makes interesting viewing, especially in 3D mapping mode. The route is here in Map My Ride and the GPX file is available for download. Please note this route contains a number of small ‘detours’ as we got ourselves lost from time to time. All were fairly small, measured in tens and hundreds of metres.
- A Little Detour? (spoke2spoke.com)
- The River Seine (courcydesign.com)
- Thousands stranded as ferry company halts operations because of wildcat strikes (telegraph.co.uk)
- Brittany Ferries Strike Affects Travel, Business In Three Countries (gadling.com)