Since we had no tent to pack up we were able to start our journey from Evreux bright and early, just as the market stalls were being set up in the central square.
After buying ingredients for our breakfast we pedalled up a steep route to where the ‘Voie Verte’ started heading north west. And what a lovely route it was, threading through woodland high above the town with a decent tarmac surface. A little way along we stopped at a convenient bench to have our picnic breakfast of (gluten free) sweet biscuits, yogurt, banana and fresh fruit. Not far away was a small viaduct that presented an attractive view over Evreux.
Our route for almost the whole morning was along the voie verte for almost 35km, mostly flat with small inclines, gentle curves, tree-lined vistas and a profusion of birdsong.
Stopping at around midday we reached a small town, Le Neubourg where it was market day. After refreshments at a busy cafe overlooking the market stalls, we walked our fully laden tandem through crowds looking at the various stalls, buying fresh ingredients for our picnic lunch as we went.
Our tandem provoked lots of interest and we had plenty of brief conversations about where we had been, where were from, where we were headed for etc. and invariably ending with “bon courage” or “bonne route”!
Having booked airbnb accommodation with cooking facilities we also wanted to buy ingredients for our dinner later in the day. Our route out of town looked as though it would take us past a small supermarket where we thought we might be able to assemble a suitable collection of ingredients for our meal.
Not to be ! With a sign up in the window saying it was closed for the day we needed to find somewhere else . However, just a bit further along the street there appeared to be another food shop, so after looking inside it turned out that it was a specialist far eastern shop full of unfamiliar foods. Fortunately, and guided by the shopkeeper, I was able to purchase an interesting collection of gluten free and vegetarian ingredients for our dinner.
As we pedalled on, we passed lots of typical Normandy style buildings once we had turned off the ‘voie verte’ onto small “D” roads that criss cross the countryside and connecting lots of lovely small villages.
Our lunch spot today was in the shade of a lofty railway arch which crossed a beautifully clear and fast flowing river – ‘La Riviere Risle’. Our picnic was made special by the brief appearance of the vivid blue flash of a kingfisher darting into the river to catch its meal.
The day’s ride continued along small lanes to reach our accommodation for the night which consisted of a nicely fitted out wooden cabin situated in a large garden of a house set deep in the countryside. We had a peaceful night!
Distance travelled : 43 miles
Total distance travelled: 755 miles
Total ascent: 1020ft approx