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France


This wasn't how this was supposed to happen. Apart from doing a lot of cycling, I had also had the i... Calais, where there are buildings like that over almost all of the roads leading into this square, t... A nautical-looking building in Calais. Calais again. That's a big drill bit. This is one of the cutting heads used to dig the Channel Tunnel. A larger section of one of the other drilling machines. The entrance to the Channel Tunnel. One of the shuttle trains emerging from the tunnel. I suppose I've saved a bit of time by changing m... Just some scenery. The church in Audinghen. Some sheep at Cap Gris-Nez. Cap Griz-Nez. If I'm where I think I am then this is the closest you can get in France to England. W... Looking out from Cap Griz-Nez. Unlike yesterday, you can't see across the Channel at the moment. It ... It did occur to me that the hot afternoon was the kind which can sometimes bring a thunderstorm. The... The storm caught up with me in the end and was very heavy. I've ended up sheltering under the Eurost... Posters for the upcoming European election. Voting takes place in Britain next Thursday but I don't ... A second storm chased me for about the last 12 km to St. Omer, where I am staying tonight. The sky w... The public garden in St. Omer. St. Omer. There are some attractive-looking restaurants around here, although they all seem to be pr... Here's the French flag, and a very small petrol station. Funny scenery around here. I didn't take many photographs today because it was raining most of the t... The ruins on the right are the abbey of Mont Saint Eloi. This is Arras, where I stayed one night in 2004. I made today's a short ride because of the weather ... The Place des Héros in Arras. After the rain, it's turned into a sunny, cloudless evening. The forec... Looking into the Grand Place. What a pretty town! I didn't see any of this when I was here a few years ago. I suppose if I had got... Just a couple more pictures of this. The Grand Place, Arras. My entertainment for today was watching the windows being cleaned in Arras station, where I sheltere... The chap in this bike shop has repaired my wheel now. It seems to be in better condition than when i... Not a great view from this hotel. Some kind of monument by the roadside mear Bapaume. I'm not sure what it commemorates. There seem to be a lot of wide or slow loads on the roads around here. This tractor has caused quite... A British cemetery from the First World War. I'm now in the Somme region. A coach party from Nottingham who have stopped to look at the monument to Australian soldiers in Pér... Funny place for a bridge. The River Somme. A couple of buildings which I saw while taking a quiet back road. The wheel has broken again! A few moments ago, I heard a spoke break and by the time I had walked to... Three blades of a wind turbine being transported.<br><br>The bike's still broken. Right, let's try this one.<br><br>I decided it would be silly to get the rear wheel repaired again a... The Laon Ibis Hotel, seen from the rather cheaper Etap next door, which is owned by the same company... A street market in Laon. This wasn't the road I wanted to take, although it did take me rather a lon... A last look at Laon. The mediaeval city is on top of the hill. The Aisne-Marne Canal at Berry-au-Bac. Another military cemetery. A tram line is being built along this street in Reims. Three views of Reims: looking west... ...looking south... ...and looking east. Reims. What that means is anybody's guess. I don't know what the big kennels are for. Reims Cathedral. In front of Reims Cathedral. Tourists. More tourists. A detail of the cathedral's west door. Some spare parts for the cathedral. I've been here before! Not in real life, but in Google Street View. I didn't recognise it at all whe... There's a view of the whole cathedral for you. A Champagne shop. Reims is the largest city in the Champagne region. Strangely, I haven't seen any g... The Veuve Clicquot factory. There are some good bike lanes in Reims. I'm about to go up that road on... Boules-players in Taissy. There's a fair going on in Sillery. The screaming must get a bit annoying for the people living in those houses. The Strasbourg-Paris train, the fastest conventional train in the world. It didn't take it long to r... Châlons-en-Champagne, also know as Châlons-sur-Marne, where I will be staying tonight. One branch of the Marne in Châlons. I think I could see Boulogne from near Cap Gris-Nez a few days ago and I'm trying to get to Milan so... Another branch of the Marne. This looks like an unnecessarily high-tech bollard. The cathedral in Châlons. I think the flat wall on the end looks unusual. Some folding bikes on a boat on the canal. The National Centre for Circus Arts, apparently. Unusual cycle path arrangement; between the traffic lanes. I have sometimes thought it would be good... My bike will be spending the night here in front of the ice rink. The new wheel seemed fine today. T... Finding a new set of cogs was pretty easy! A little horse in one of the little villages along the Marne valley. There are some sheep under the ... It's getting a little bit hilly now. The forecast which I saw yesterday morning said that I would ha... I liked the combination of colours. The village of Soulanges and the Marne Canal, which I am following for a while, although the road se... Structures alongside the canal. Here, the canal crosses the River Marne. I don't think I'm really supposed to be riding here but som... A videotape vending machine, for buying or renting. Vitry-le-François, a very clean and smart looking town. Most of the businesses on this road seem to ... Vitry-le-François again, still looking clean and smart, and quite empty. What a useless map! Apparently, I'm in the bottom right corner, absolutely nowhere near where any of... The Lac du Der, which I hadn't been expecting to be a man-made reservoir. The path along the embankment containing the reservoir is popular with cyclists. Here are six of the... Montier-en-Der. Quite a few of the buildings in streets like this are half-timbered. This perhaps isn't the best vie... The River Blaise in Doulevant-le-Château. Off to the left are some more people playing boules, even ... These cows seemed interested in me looking at my map. Cycling is allowed on this towpath. Dressing for dinner. This was the busiest McDonald's I have ever been in. It was absolute madness in... My computer's working! I spilt some water under it last night. For a while, not may of the keys work... It's another lovely morning. For the first third of today, I will be on extremely quiet country road... Pretty villages along the River Suize. Tree-lined avenues like this are quite common in France, except that they are normally flat. This on... I think the large building with two towers about a sixth of the way along the horizon is the cathedr... A département boundary. More flowers. It might just be me but I think the scenery is starting to look a little bit alpine. T... With that mirage, the road looks like it disappears into the sky at the top of this hill. The art museum in Champlitte. Champlitte. I wanted to buy some drinks and a map here. Both petrol stations had very small shops wh... This homage to Roman baths was built in about 1830. The sign didn't say why. The car on the left has one of the new-style French registrations. There aren't many of them around ... Gray, by far the largest town I passed through on today's ride between Chaumont and Besançon, not th... Several places along this afternoon's route were farming little trees like this. The view from a bridge in the village of Marnay. This was another bridge whose railings weren't real... An abandoned weighbridge in Recologne. By the look of things, the rectangular planted area next to t... Parts of the mechanism are still in here. Approaching Besançon. I'm staying near the station tonight. I've no intention of catching a train this time though. Those bikes can be hired from the machine, like the ones in Paris. Besançon. There are plenty of pavement cafés in this street. Here, I had my first proper dinner in quite a whi... Besançon in the daylight, with the fountain going. Certainly no shortage of pavement cafés in Besançon. There's also a greengrocer on the left, which i... By the river. The river Doubs loops around the old city and almost comes back to meet itself, a bit like in Durham... The citadel. This canal tunnels under the citadel so that boats don't need to go right around the city. There is ... Looking through the tunnel. This goes right under the citadel and re-joins the River Doubs on the ot... The little village of Morre seems to have an excessively elaborate sign, That sphere was slowly turn... There's a definite alpine feel to the scenery now. All the cows which I would pass today would have ... A shady spot where I took shelter from the blazing sun on a steep climb. I'm glad I'm only going 40 ... I hadn't seen piles of logs like this before today but now they are all over the place. This old railway line is now a bike path. There's some maintenance going on here. You might just be ... A town called Ornans. Ornans. The Miroir de la Loue is apparently famous because of that painting. It doesn't look to me like it w... Sorry to keep taking pictures of cemeteries but this one caught my eye just because of how packed it... Are you sure this is still France? It reminds me of the kind of scenery where Steve McQueen was ridi... There are a couple of things to see here in Sombacour. One is the map showing where to find the near... Some cyclists at the bottom of today's first big climb. After re-fitting that wheel, they caught me ... Ski routes! Ski-lifts look a bit silly in the summer.