30/07/2017 Saint Jean de Losne- Annecy ( National road/ D road/mountain road) 2pm/7pm
We woke up late, around 9.30 or so and before setting off we still had to repack, load the bikes, eat breakfast and say goodbye to family, which all together delayed us for a couple hours. It was a hot and sticky day, probably a bit too hot to ride but felt good to be out of the rainy grey London.
From this point, motorways would give place to the Nationale and Departementale roads ( D roads). In my opinion our holidays were about to start. Beware that French Petrol stations, especially in rural areas may be unmanned, as a result the only way to pay is with a bank card.
We eventually found a petrol station which of course was closed. There was a notice which stated that card payments were accepted between 7pm till 6 am. A bit at loss of what to do as it was only 2pm, we decided to give the payment card a go which was a success!
All the way throughout our trip, we have been amazed by the condition of French roads, be it a small D road to National and Motorways. are all very well maintained. This is one of the reasons why the French pay higher taxes than us!
We traveled by map as I don’t like to rely on GPS systems. I prefer to have the map in front of me on the tank bag and follow town names and road numbers. We passed Lons le Saunier and Bourg en Bresse, so far nothing special.. just nationale roads and country side lanes. Before Nantua I spotted a small D road (D979) marked as a picturesque route on the map right after Bourg en Bresse (the map highlights scenic routes by showing it as a green route). We decided to take it, and that marked the beginning of amazing scenic roads…after Ceyzériat we came to a few miles of this.. of course we had to stop for a few pics ( please note that they don’t make any justice to the beauty of the place)..
Back on the bikes towards Nantua which was supposed to be nothing special.. well, I was terribly wrong because as we were approaching Nantua we came across this…
And it was just becoming more and more intense in terms of scenery and elevation.. As we passed Nantua I already wanted to stay and set the tent up, but we had to keep on going until we would reach our destination for the day, or close to it at least..
Another stop for a picture, the first sight of the french Alps. It was getting late and it was time to start thinking of a place to stay for the night. After a quick research online we concluded that there are loads of camping sites around Annecy. As we arrived it was impossible to be indifferent to its beauty, a big lake surrounded by mountains.. We rode for a bit next to the lake amazed by the scenery and looking for camping signs until we found one called ”Le Panoramic”. It is a big camping site with nearly 200 tent pitches, chalets and caravan areas, swimming pool, coffee shop and a small supermarket. ”Le panoramic” was the most expensive camping we stayed for the whole trip and the only one that didn’t have toilet paper.
Tent and camping sorted, it was time to find a good place to eat. Annecy is a pretty town also known as Little Venice. The Annecy lake is quite known for its varied sports and activities and is situated in a big valley surrounded by mountains which makes Annecy an impressive town for any visitors. Also it is very busy and crowded with tourists. We headed off to a specialty restaurant where they serve ‘‘Raclette”.
This meal is not for the heart fainted as it is mainly cheese, dry meat and potatoes. The diet was not happy but we were fully satisfied by this comforting meal! We walked for a bit but Marie could hardly move, whether it was the meal or the tiredness, I don’t know! We headed back to the camping site but not any less impressed with Annecy at night.
Before getting back to ”Le Panoramic” I decided to go up the mountain just to see where it would take us. It was night and only had my headlights illuminating the road which was curvy with some good corners and a couple hairpins, very easy to climb, especially without traffic. I started to feel a bit excited about it and my riding style went from a normal pace to a more sporty style but cautious, only to be slowed down when I spotted a deer on the side of the road, which made me realize that it could be dangerous to ride at that pace as other animals could jump in front of the bike, so, I slowed down to a normal style. That road lead us to the Col de Leshaux situated at 897 meters above the sea level.. back to the campsite by midnight, we were tired but happy to be there and our tent was calling us for a night of sleep before the next stage..
Good night world!!!