A day of following the Seine in sunshine and in rain (well, only a tiny bit)
A good breakfast in the hotel in Rouen this morning, and then a frantic twenty minutes of turning the room upside down looking for the car keys. Just when we thought it was hopeless, there they were, in the side of the already twice-searched rucksack. Phew.
Assemblage of the tandem was performed in the shadow of the Abbatiale Saint-Ouen, an imposing if rather grubby church, and then we were off. Straight down to the banks of the Seine, tricky section around the port, then the first of today’s cycle paths. It was very industrial to begin with, lots of silos and conveyor belts, but gradually gave way to greenery and villages of beautiful half-timbered houses. Very, very quiet, hardly any traffic, and only a few people out mowing their lawns or weeding in their gardens.
We tootled along, only 50km to do today, enjoying the sunshine and not even minding the slight headwind. The Seine meanders in great loops in these parts, and we’d plotted a course which largely followed it. Not the most direct route, but piling to the destination wasn’t really the idea. A short rain shower, during which we were unexpectedly pelted with hailstones, was a bit of a surprise. After 20km we hit the first ferry across the river at Sahurs, and it felt very reminiscent of the Highlands and Islands ferries we took two years ago in Scotland. On the other side we landed at La Bouilles, now bathed in sunshine, where we stopped for lunch in a little bistro. Fabulous frites, accompanying omelette and steak respectively for stoker and captain.
After lunch, we followed the Seine just a little further, and it was full of eddies now, the turning of the tide we presumed. We hit the only climb of the day then, barely even deserving of the name. A long slow rise, the captain setting a good pace, but soon done and everything feeling fine, physically and mechanically, so far. We’d struck across country between the loops of the meanders for this section, but we could see the curve of the river’s valley coming back around to meet us. The second ferry of the day took us across the river again, across a strong current now, and then we set off on a beautiful little road right next to the river, past more half-timbered houses, all with lots of land. Some had fruit groves, some were grazed by goats and sheep, and the rest of the residents must have had to spend most of their summer hours mowing their enormous lawns.
Soon enough we were arriving in Jumièges, another lovely village, getting rather blasé about the half-timbered houses by now! A quick turn around the village for orientation purposes, then along to the hotel, and a very welcome dip in the pool. Best not get used to that, though, it’s the only one of the trip!
Click on the link below to see today’s route.