Morale was high as we hit the road on day 4. Surprisingly, my legs felt good and my backside wasn’t sore. Once again we grabbed breakfast from a Boulangerie, then the first hill of the day took us up to Boisemont, before a lovely downhill to the River Seine.
This was the point where I followed the map turning left and Brian and Tony, who were ahead, turned right. After a bit of confusion wondering where everyone had gone, and the others worrying that I’d crashed out on the downhill, we regrouped and crossed the river. A quiet path led us along the banks of the Seine through the suburbs of Paris and on to lovely forest paths.
We reached Versailles around lunchtime and headed in to the gardens. The perfect spot for a bite of lunch also turned in to the perfect spot to shelter from a heavy downpour. After a snack, a drink and an accidental dip of my cycle helmet in the decorative boating lake, we hit the peddles again for the last push to Paris.
Our first view of the city came as we emerged from the woodland of Parc de Saint-Cloud. Paris was below us, peaking through the trees. Then the Eiffel tower sprang out of nowhere as we crossed over the old Passerelle de l’Avre viaduct. It was a lovely sight to see the tower looming over the city from such a distance.
With only about a mile to go we hit the busy streets of Paris. The occasional junction had to be walked because of gridlock, but a confident cycle down Rue de Passy towards Trocadero, then over Pont d’lena saw us arriving at the Eiffel Tower, and our finish line. At which point hands were vigorously shaken and much patting on the back ensued.
However, a journey like this is never over without a couple of pints of reminiscing. And so that evening our adventure was complete, save for the journey home.
I have to add that it was a pleasure cycling with Tony and Brian. It was hard going in places and the weather was trying at times, especially the wind. But that made our adventure the challenge it was, no one said it was going to be easy. The sense of achievement and accomplishment that comes from completing a journey like this is immense. It will be a journey I will keep with me for a long time. Lastly I have to add my thanks to Donald Hirsch for his amazing route we followed, and to my wife and daughter, who lumped our overnight bags between hotels.
We’re burning a ton of calories each day, so I had pizza for breakfast.