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The village of Onnaing. The forecast now shows that it will stay dry for the next three hours. I'm s... Judging from my diary from 2004, this road has significantly better cycle lanes now than it did then... I hope you don't think there are too many pictures of churches this year. Valenciennes. Valenciennes. The statue is Saint Etienne. There must have been a painting there once but all that are left now are the legs. Valenciennes. The station in Valenciennes.. The building with the blue awning is my hotel, the Grand. I've chosen it because it's close to the s... I don't remember this hotel having a jacuzzi. There are nice big opening windows in both the bedroom and the bathroom. A paddling pool on a roof. The tram lines also act as little green spaces. Also, I can't help noticing that it still isn't rain... Until a few days ago, my recollection had been that I had stayed at the Chat Botté in 2004. In fact,... I ate here in the hotel in 2004 too. On that occasion, I thought it was quite funny that within 10 m... The Mayor's office in Rouvignies, a suburb of Valenciennes. There are dancing fountains on the roundabout. Hordain. A sign for one of the feeder routes to the Camino de Santiago, the Christian pilgrimage route to the... Scenery. A distant view of a motorway toll plaza. In the previous village, I saw a French flag flying from a signpost and it made me wonder whether pe... There's a flag, and a Belgian one. On the route of the Tour. A detail on what looked like a disused building near Cambrai. This is the kind of thing that I was thinking of when I said that ... A water tower with a mast. I'm now entering the region where a lot of the fighting in the First World War happened. This is the... Flesquieres Hill. Flesquieres Hill. Next to the cemetery is a tank museum but it doesn't open for another half an hour. Next to the tank museum are these things. A grand house in Havrincourt. The Mayor's office in Barastre. I stopped for a rest on the seats by this newly-planted lavender. The seats and the path look new to... There is a trail of ants across the path. They seem to have somehow made themselves a tunnel. A bee on the lavender. My twisty road. Machinery. The village of Villers-au-Flos. Oh. A memorial to the Newfoundland Regiment at the battle of Le Transloy. On the right, another cemetery. On the left, two of the remarkable number of tractors which are tran... The front line, as of the 1st of September 1916. There are allied cemeteries on both sides of the li... The Windmill cemetery. I don't normally think of the First World War as having such a good view. It looks like a monument to a dog but I didn't get any closer. Another war cemetery. Some of the bodies are unidentified. The town of Albert. I'll be stopping for the night before I get there. Today has gone quite well. It... Oh. Look what's next to my hotel tonight. Buy in the toilets? A little bird outside my window. The menu in this restaurant is weird. For a start, the waiter has to fill in these boxes and there's... Albert in the Morning. Apparently, the rain was quite hard a few hours ago. My room had good blackou... I don't understand zebra crossings in France. Vehicles occasionally stop there but normally don't. I... A Corsican car. Apparently, departments 2A and 2B were replaced at the start of this year with a sin... Albert. Albert. The Basilica. The banner says "1ST JULY - 18 NOVEMBER 1918" and "THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME", in ... Albert station, which has an aeroplane inside it. The road. A monument, with part of Amiens in the distance. That's the main road. Amiens. Amiens. A ramp leading up through the old fortifications of Amiens. Fortifications. The ramp looked inviting so I followed it. It leads to the University. Some buildings. Amiens Cathedral. It looks like a new bus lane is being constructed. Hire bikes. Amiens. A qute street just of one of the main shopping streets. Amiens. Amiens. Amiens. Amiens. Amiens. Amiens Cathedral. The building in the distance is the Perret Tower. In front of the Cathedral. People doing things. The cross visible through the archways is on the top of the main spire. A tea room with a strange selection of flags. A street. An old clock. Amiens. A permanent circus building, like the one that I saw in ... This is a strange church. This is the statue on top of the tower... ... and who are these? Four of the three wise men? It smelled as if this had happened fairly recently. The view from a place where I stopped for a break from struggling against the headwind. Ah, this will be my wallet, passport and keys just sitting here at the side of the road. I heard a f... Scenery, including the bad side of some wind turbines. Here's where I'll be staying tonight: Poix-de-Picardie. An old pump. My hotel. From the poster, I guess that the blood donation people are in town today. Poix-de-Picardie. The view from my small balcony. No need to find cover for the bike any more. It's a nice light airy modern room. The hotel is called the Cardinal, and has this stained glass window. I'm surprised at how many shops are open in this little town square at ten past seven in the evening... I bought a small rhubarb tart at the baker's. It's a bit strange. You buy your food from the person ... When I went for dinner in the hotel, the waitress suggested that I should move my bike to some stora... The International Space Station. This is the first time I've seen it pass significantly to the North... I'm going to move my bike. It's flat but it's about 200 metres above sea level. Two cyclists. See if you can spot them in the previous picture. It's flat, sunny and the road is empty. If the wind was going my way, it would be ideal. Just a house. A barn with the end of a log visible through the hole. These traffic lights tell you how long it will be until they go green. I'm not sure what the point o... An old fire truck as a monument to the former head of the fire service in Criquiers. What a lovely quiet road. A farm. Some farming. Forges-les-Eaux. Forges-les-Eaux. I've been to Forges-les-Eaux a couple of times. One was ... Forges-les-Eaux. Forges-les-Eaux. The old railway line is part of a nominal cycling route from Paris to London. Most of the rest of th... The town hall in Forges-les-Eaux. Forges-les-Eaux. Part of the racecourse at Mauquenchy. A crooked church in Bosc-Bordel. A train made out of hay bales. Hilly suburbs of Rouen. Rouen. Rouen. Rouen. Near the Cathedral. It seems that there's at least one wedding going on at the Cathedral. The police are directing traff... Rouen Cathedral. A view where you can see the stonework a bit better. Some kind of delivery bike. A waterfall in a park. "IRISH PRODUCTS" "OUT OF IRELAND" Rouen. A restaurant getting a new sign. No people, bikes or explodey cars allowed down there. I'm within 200 metres of my hotel but it will be a while before I get there because I've found some ... After the taekwondo demonstration comes tai-chi. There's an environmental protest rally going on here. The noise of it doesn't really gel with the so... Some protestors. In another park nearby are some large inflatable things. The building on the right is some kind of g... A cyclist, seen from my window. My view of the river Seine. This is the first time I've ever seen a sign in a hotel room telling people not to put milk in the k... The room is called a suite, which means that it's got a curtain in the middle. It seems like the Acc... The inflatable is being packed up and I can now see that there was a giant chess set next to it. The hotel provides this armchair in the corridor so that you can look at the view. It might be usefu... The "greedy shop" is row of chiller cabinets at reception from which you can buy snacks. B... I've come back here to do some shopping. The taekwondo and tai-chi have now been replaced by tango. ... Some of the little stalls at the festival. The one on the left is promoting the fact that Rouen is t... This looks like an impromptu dance. A clear route through this part of the city for buses and bikes. I won't be using it though. Pear jaffa cakes. An unusual suspension bridge. The son et lumière, seen from about a mile away. The theme is "Vikings and William the Conquero... My view across the Seine at night. As I was putting the luggage on my bike, I glimpsed a container ship gliding down the river. It was ... I think that tall thing must be a water tower. I've made a complete mess of trying to get onto this bridge. It's worked out quite well though becau... Sunlight glinting off the Seine. Rouen. My route out of the city through the docks. The docks. Part of a castle reputed to have belonged to the legendary Robert the Devil. The start of a long climb. Some rather cluttered graves. The unattractive side of Rouen. The second group of cyclists who passed me dressed like this. It looks like they have their own supp... A building with its timberwork on display. This downhill section has an excellent cycle lane. A pretty scene in Pont-Audemer. A notice board near here explains that Pont-Audemer was a busy port from 1518 until it got blocked b... A picnic by the river. An old station on what is, according to my map, still an active railway line. A view with a patch of black smoke on the horizon. That house is all roof. Wow! Conteville. A pub in Conteville. I've found where the smoke is coming from. It's the ExxonMobil depot. I hope it's meant to be like t... A cottage. The Normandy Bridge, the last bridge onver the Seine. I rode over it a few years ago. It has good cy... Cars on the bridge. A river cruise boat moored in Honfleur, where we can nosily look into some of the cabins. These boats run cruises from Paris to here and back. If they don't stop excessively, the round trip ... The front of one of the boats. This one has some bikes stored on the back. This is either an old cannon or a replica of one. You can see where boats' mooring lines have worn a... Honfleur. Fishing boats. Honfleur. Honfleur. It looks busy. Another man, out of shot, was also taking pictures of these two women taking pictures of themselves. Honfleur. Statues of two cats on a roof. This shop seems to specialise in salt. Honfleur. An antique shop. Honfleur. A milestone. A beach near Honfleur. The land on the opposite side is near Le Havre. The two walls in the water are the edges of the ship... It looked to me like there were only 27 state flags here too, although I couldn't see which one was ... Cyprus got a bad deal out of it. A big house. There are two towns here. The nearer one is Trouville. I'm heading for the other one. I will find out what this is later. People on the beach. Trouville. Trouville. Trouville. The annual cycle of most seagulls. This is where I'm going to be tonight: one of the most prestigious resorts in France, apparently. Some things that you can buy in Deauville. Deauville-Trouville railway station. One of the marinas. Some photography going on. The view from my room. My bike is in the lower right. It took me a preposterously long time to decid... Have I accidentally booked an accessible room again? No, doesn't look like it. There is this weird extension lead though, with mains sockets on four sides and two USB ports on the... Deauville. The centre of Deauville is designed a bit like Paris, with long straight avenues. A view out to sea. Houses on the seafront. This one is in poor condition. This one has just had all its balconies replaced. Another marina. When I was booking a hotel here, one of the options was a yacht in this harbour, a b... The huge five-star Normandy Hotel. The clock on the corner is a Rolex. A detail of the Normandy. The Normandy. The Barriere Casino with another five-star hotel beyond it. This is where ... The VIP entrance. Oh, the same places again. Another detail of the Normandy. Deauville. Deauville. Deauville. Deauville. Deauville. A moroccan diplomat's car. Just a couple of blocks away from the town centre is the racecouse. The racecourse. Houses facing the racecourse. Houses opposite the racecourse. One of them has two carved horse heads. A 2CV parked outcide the supermarket which it advertises. The fountain is visible from eight directions. This is my seventh but it's the first time that I've ... Not the first Herbie that I've seen on this trip. I've passed many excellent-looking restaurants on this walk but unfortunately, I won't be visiting a... I don't know what the connection is between these countries, or whether the two seemingly identical ... Ooh, I think Inspector Morse has arrived. The last of the evening sunlight. Nobody is using the electric car chargers. It's just me and Inspector Morse out there. I somehow keep acquiring British copper coins in my change. I can see how somebody might have mistak... Le Havre. Le Havre, enhanced. A little alleyway leadng to the sea. In the next driveway along, some people were taking pictures with a professional camera on a big boo... I've still got the wind pretty much against me. Villers-sur-Mer. Today feels like the warmest day of this trip. I could easily believe either of these flags. A telescope. Really, a better place for it would be 400 metres further along the beach, where we hav... ... the Greenwich Meridian, marked by the row of studs on the pavement. The beach at Villers-sur-Mer. This seems a little unnecessary. Villers-sur-Mer. There is a topiary dinosaur because a lot of fossils have been found in the cliffs near here. A postman's bike, with extra wheels under the basket so that it can stand up. This church was striking noon as I was taking the picture. Houlgate. The building on the right is the mayor's office. I think the one next to it is a primary s... This is actually a roundabout but it's a bit odd because it doesn't have any of the normal roundabou... It seems that the town has a dress code. I hope that symbol in the bottom left doesn't mean that I s... This is Normandy. A seaside tat shop. Houlgate. Houlgate beach. The next town along is Cabourg. A boat which has just come out of the mouth of the river. Hey, you shouldn't be doing that! Norman longships. Marshland popular with herons... ... and ducks. The cycle route along the side of the Caen Canal. In the background is the original Pegasus Bridge, captured by the Allies in Operation Deadstick at t... The new Pegasus Bridge, installed in 1994, which is when the original bridge was moved to the museum... A cafe next to the bridge. Grain being loaded on or off a boat in the Caen Canal. According to a ship tracking website, it will... Pumpkins. Another view of that boat. The roads in this business park have a science theme. It would be helpful if the signs wern't quite ... The business park has quite a lot of these landscaped earthworks. This crash happened just as I was approaching. I didn't see clearly but there was a bump, a cloud of... A tower in a place with the silly name of Saint Contest. Trees. Some cyclists. A cow in an orchard. Scenery. It looks pleasant but it's hard work if you're going West. Esquay-sur-Seulles. The information board on the footpath gives information about the château, which... The church at Esquay-sur-Seulles. An information board here points out the sundial mounted on the to... Another partial view of the château. I was expecting to go through the city centre on the way to my hotel but this cycle lane is leading ... The Cathedral. I don't really known why I'm being secretive about what city this is. The name was on... Roundabout art. I don't know what this big shiny knob is for. It looks like it's so that you don't bump into anybody... My view for tonight. Just out of the shot, there is also quite a busy railway line. When I checked in, the receptionist asked if I wanted dinner in the hotel. It was only after I said ... The horse statues at night... ... and the Cathedral. This picture of the International Space Station is in focus better than the previous one but it's ve... A strange little beach scene next to the hotel's car park. An electric car charger. I have been overtaken by a couple of electric cars during my time in France... In case you hadn't guessed, this is Bayeux. This morning, I'll have three hours between when the Tap... Toilets. An old mill on the River Aure. The Conqueror pub, near to the Tapestry. The Tapestry museum is in the alcove on the right. It should open in 11 minutes. At the moment, the ... The same street. There's sme work going on in that building. You can see the masonry dust in the air. Bayeux. Bayeux. Bayeux. In front of the Cathedral. Notice the arrays of spotlights mounted on the buildings. Also notice the... Bayeux Cathedral. It has an incongruously modern clock face. The 9 o'clock preamble chimes have just started and don't... Bayeux Cathedral. Just some details. You can see through one window to a stained glass window on the other side of the transept. I think the little plaque says that this was a hotel in the 17th and 18th centuries. While I was in the square, a second delivery van, not visible in this picture, arrived and couldn't ... The East end catching the morning sunlight. The blue police van has just arrived in quite a hurry, heading towards the parking dispute. Stonework. Oh, here come the tourists. I had better get back to the museum before them. This is the Bayeux Tapestry musuem. I don't know what most of the building is for. The queueing and ... This is on sale in the gift shop for about €150 but up close it doesn't actually look much like the ... Some more cows between the museum and my hotel. There are no cows on the Bayeux Tapestry; just lots ... Bayeux was the first city to be liberated in the Normandy landings. This looks like the military cemeteries in the Somme but this one is from the Second World War. The cemetery. Graves. There used to be a type of tyre which I liked which was widely sold only in France so I had consider... That's not an Irish registration. This cycle lane is badly designed. I was watching to see what traffic was coming round the roundabou... A monument commemorating that this area was used as an airfield during the Allied invasion. There was obviously a party here once. For most of today, I will be on the tractor road, alongside the modern car road. The sign shows that this is the way to Bayeux for tractors. It looks like the road has been widened here but I can't work out why. Anything that wide wouldn't h... Either there has been another war that I don't know about or this is about something that happened 7... These flags are everywhere. A few minutes ago, I found that I couldn't reach the top gears any more, as if the gear cable had st... Isigny-sur-Mer. The main road goes under a canal basin. According to some signs nearby, this is the Tucker Bridge, named after the American major who was ki... The entrance to the theatre in Carentan. Carentan. This notice shows where I am standing on a wartime photograph. The whole of Lower Normandy is pretty much a war museum. One of the grand milestones on the route taken by the Allied forces from the Normandy beaches toward... I'm using the road on the left. I received a text message earlier welcoming me to France. It made me wonder whether my phone had som... That's what an Irish registration looks like. The hotel, like everything else around here, commemorates the Second World War. There's a dummy of a... Just before going to bed last night, I found that the weather forecast, which had previously been sh... There's some sunshine coming in through the window now though. For a while, I thought I had found some art depicting this village when there wasn't a war on... ... but now that I've seen this parachute on the church, I've realised I was wrong. Apparently, although Bayeux was the first city to be liberated, the first village was Sainte-Mère-Ég... I've come into the village before loading up the bike, to try to replenish my stash of sweets. Unfor... Another shop. A pizza restaurant with another of the paintings. Tourists. I'm back in the square but this time with my bike. Another soldier. Just a building by the road. Part of today's route. I'm not going down there though. The last hour or so felt like surprisingly hard work. I was glad to see this mast because it suggest... A view towards the port of Cherbourg. Ah, my lift has arrived. A pizza vending machine in the street. It looks like I'm too early to check in for my ferry so I'll have a little look around Cherbourg fir... New boats at a boat factory. The same place. It looks like they have a little train which is the same shape as the underneath of ... The inner part of Cherbourg harbour. Fishing boats. A tourist boat. Hello. The gates to an even more sheltered part of the harbour. The place doesn't currently feel tropical enough for trees like that. Fake shops. Cherbourg. Cherbourg. A slightly seedier street. Strangely, when I booked my ferry ticket, the only meal options that I could find were meals for a w... I've checked in for the ferry but it will still be a while before we can board. This looks like the start of a strange race. You get some strange vehicles moving in strange ways around ports so I thought it would be safe to p... A tall ship entering the harbour. Herbie has grown! The Stena ferry reversing into its mooring. Here we go. This is one of the vehicles used to shunt lorry trailers on and off the ship. The driver's seat swiv... I was surprised to find the cabin not currently configured with a bed in it. I think this is the first time since ... Some rowers in the harbour. One of several forts on Cherbourg's harbour wall. The harbour. Another ferry. Some kind of barge. A funny little boat. TechnipFMC's ship ... I don't recognise what flag our ship is flying. I would later find out that this is the civil ensign... Leaving Cherbourg. Cherbourg has several harbours nested inside one another. The ferry terminal is in the second layer.... Cherbourg. Cherbourg. Another view of ... The French coast disappearing into the mist. I'm surprised that a ferry which comes here every two days needs a pilot to guide it out of the harb... It looks like we're sailing towards better weather. Something in the distance. There is a constant procession of boats crossing behind us. I would guess that that is the route for... I think that's Alderney. There are actually plenty of options for eating and drinking on this ship. This is one bar. I had dinner in this cosy little steak restaurant. The walls are made of real brick, which seems a b... Another bar. I managed to get most of today's photographs uploaded using the mobile phone network wh... We're very slowly overtaking the car transporter ship on the left. Several brand new looking cars wi... The transporter, with another ship just visible emerging from behind it. The top deck. Some lights on the coast of Dorset. The one on the far left is a lighthouse. I think the dot in the sky is Mars. The dots are lights on the Enlish coast. The feint smudge just above the corner of the blue handrail...