4 months, 6’000 kilometres, 80’000m of elevation gain, on the bike and on foot
“As a result, I never watch the Tour on TV without a large box of chocolates; though I’m no sports fan, it has a nostalgic pull on me. […] The glorious backdrops are a part of it, of course: no one who spent every childhood summer somewhere in l’hexagone can be entirely immune to the attractions of a neat Norman village flashing by at speed, or indeed one of those endless straight routes départementales flanked with poplars and enormous billboards for thrillingly large hypermarchés ‘à gauche au feu’. I see France zip past behind the riders, and my heart aches for it – for the landscapes and people, the Orangina and bad pop music, and most of all, for its glorious, glorious food.” – Felicity Cloake, One More Croissant for the Road
On the bike and on foot.
80'000 meters ascent
9 times Mount Everest.
135 french croissants
Or pains au chocolat…
The main route will be done on the bike, following several French or European véloroutes. To get to know some places better, I will stop for a day here and there to put on my trail runners and run or hike emblematic spots of the regions I’m crossing. Or just to venture a bit farther from the beaten tracks (and the roads accessible to a loaded bike). I’ll mostly sleep under the tent in campgrounds.
departure end of may 2022
Of course, this route is an outline that will evolve during the trip, depending on encounters, advice received and my desires at that point of time.
The first part of the route goes through regions that are familiar and dear to my heart. Starting with my boyfriend from Lausanne, where we live, we’ll make our way to France through the Jura: climbing mountain passes is probably a good reason to have Mont d’Or for dinner, even at the end of May, no? Then it will already be time to wave Nevin goodbye and to tackle solo travelling with the Vosges and its blueberries pies before arriving in Alsace, where I grew up. After a little break to digest that first leg of the trip with the help of some tartes flambées and the lush garden of my parents, I’ll head towards Metz, so that I can tell my niece that I biked from my home to her home: pretty cool, no? Then off to Paris, to see some friends, before going back North to Normandy and Brittany, where my family is from and where I spent a lot of time growing up. Here again I’ll take a break with my family to determine what’s the best kouign amann of the region before joining the start of the famous Vélodyssée. From Nantes, I’ll diverge to follow the Loire in the direction of Angers to spend of a bit of their grandes vacances with my nephews and have one or two prune cakes.
That’s where the second of the trip begins, with the Southern half of France, that I know a lot less but that I’m really excited to discover. Back along the Vélodyssée, I’ll follow the Atlantic coast to the pays basque and its Ossau Iraty. The mountain lover that I am cannot wait to see the Pyrénées, whose mountain passes I cannot wait to climb and trails to explore. Instead of going along yet another coastline with the Mediterranean, I’ll turn inland to discover the Cévennes and Ardèche regions, where I hope it will be a bit more quiet during these summer months, especially after climbing some Pyreneans passes under the heat of August. Then, I’ll head towards Camargue and Marseille and its calanques before taking a ferry to visit Corsica. It will be time to head back North to get home, through the Gorges du Verdon and with a detour to the mythical Ventoux. If I’m still up for the challenge and hopefully fueled by some raclette cheese, I’ll go through the mountain passes of the mighty Alps to make it back to Switzerland.
View of the Vosges from the top of Hohneck, summit which is part of the route
Icons by Icons8