Day 3, 24 May 2013, Dormans to Courtalis

We had a delightful morning this morning after a good night in our cheap hotel. 

It took us the morning to get into Epernay, the next major stop.  We rode through beautiful rolling vineyard country on a crisp cold morning.

We saw a particularly saccharine Madonna and child statue on a little knoll, with a reference to the vines. As non-believers we have some trouble understanding why the Madonna could care about the champagne vines, with so much more to worry about.

We stopped at an Inter Marche supermarket to pick up nibbles and coffee substitute.  We did not choose well as it turned out.

We stopped at Epernay for coffee and nibbles, and marveled at the buildings of the major champagne houses that run down the main street.  They are magnificent and make a statement about just how much money there is in this area.  If you are interested in champagne this would have to be high on your list.

The afternoon deteriorated a bit.  We rode through rolling farm country with a cold hard cross wind, for some hours before arriving at Chalons en Champagne. We both considered bailing out at this stage, as it had started to drizzle and the temperature had dropped to 9C.

We found the information centre and they gave us maps for the city and booked us a lovely chamber d’hote (B&B) some 13Km out of town.  The weather picked up a bit and we rode on there without issue.

Chalon is interesting. It is woven through with canals, and has retained a lot of its old medieval structure and half-wooden buildings, unusual in France in our experience.  It is a city that is probably worth more time than we gave it.

So another day more or less below budget, with some highs and lows and some unexpected stuff.  Just why we do this.

85 Km for the day.

I still can’t get the GPS to work properly, so this map is cobbled together.

I have observed again that the French do not chop the balls off their dogs, in contrast with our behavior in Canberra.