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France tour provided by: Bernd Schmidt-Hartlieb

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  • A trip following the river Seine by ATIC # 137 Steffen Atzbach and ATIC # 120 Bernd Schmidt-Hartlieb

Frankfurt am Main (D) - Saarbrücken - Metz (F) - Verdun - Paris - Le Havre - Reims - Luxembourg (L) - Trier (D) - Frankfurt am Main

4 and 1/2 days bachelor-party...
Announcing my marriage for June 1997 Steffen as my witness at a marriage proposed as bachelor party an Africa Twin tour through France. This was - compared with the other proposals (as usual: trips through the redlight district or Pub crawling) - the best idea I have heard. Two men - two bikes and France: A great combination! The details for the trip were my responsibility - Steffen prepared T-Shirts for this trip.

Day 1
To get the party started as soon as possible in France we have decided to travel on the German highways directly to Metz. This was the most boring part of the tour but we have had to work for half a day. On the first stop near Saarbruecken Steffen asked for the tools. We did not have reached France and are starting with problems? No - usually he is single driver so he just had to adjust his rear suspension due to the luggage.
Reaching Metz early in the evening we had the time for a visit of the nice historic centre including a very good diner accompained by a bottle of wine next to the cathedral.

Day 2
The second day we just drove through Verdun. A visit was planned on the way back to Germany. Shortly after we came to the river Seine - travelling through one of the famoust areas of France: The Champagne! Early in the year the vines were still very little, but you could feel that this is a good area for this plants: It was really hot in the black dresses we weared together with the winter closes due to the temperature we expected from Germany. There are famous brand names across the route. Unfortunately we had no time to check whether it is possible to visit some of them - and a visit without tasting the good stuff might also have bothered us.

Reaching Paris we feld us on the safe side: The Hotel booked was next to the Eifeltower and we believed there will be no problem to find it. But in fact it was: The traffic in Paris is quite a little bit horrible, especially if you drive within the rush-hour with the big Givi side-bags. There is no possibility to use the bike as an advantage. Additionally there were some streets closed. So we were really happy to drop the clothes off in the hotel after 1 1/2 hours 'sight-seeing' without having the chance to see anything [those pictures were censored by the drivers...;-)]. The hotel itself was very nice with a small garden. A little bit later we walked through Paris to visit some of the usual places. We were both several times in this beautifull city so it was not only to have ticked some check-marks.

Day 3
The other day we decided first to visit Paris by bike - in that way we would liked to do it the day before: Driving through Paris without luggage is the best you can do. There is always enough room even for an @ :-)))) Champs-Elysee - Arc de Triomphe - Obeliske - Louvre - Tour Eiffel: everything you can reach in a few minutes by bike.
But we had to leave the 'city of love' to continue our trip. Due to the additional time we spended the morning we decided to follow the fastest way to leave Paris - again a piece of boring highway. But the same time where in Germany the spring tried to brake through in France the chestnut trees blossomed. Close to Bonneries sur Seine we left the highway behind us and followed the river crossing from one side to the other. There we found small, lonesome streets with a lot of beautiful sites to have a look along the river.
Unfortunately we have not found the 'route forestière' which we have planned to follow for a while - usually they are very nice to drive even if they are not really off-road. I have not changed the detailed road-book - perhaps you are more lucky than we were. The way on the official road was also not too bad. Coming closer to the sea-side the wind was going stronger and stronger. Sometimes we had to drive with hard list to stay on the road. Therefor it was really not funny to cross the Seine the last time to Le Havre over the 'Pont de Normandie'.
Le Havre itself is one of the favourite places for the people from Paris to stay over the weekend (BTW: if you want to see the rich people you have to drive a few kilometers more: Deauville). The historic center of the village has several houses in normannic style. Off course we enjoyed some of the area's most famous drink: Calvados!

Day 4
The wind was as strong as the day before. And the temperature felt down to approx. 9 degree. Now it was good to have some parts of the winter-clothes with us. On this circumstances it was the worst day of the whole trip as it was the longest stage. To reach Verdun in time we followed only bigger streets, mainly Route Nationale's.
The evening we were going for a walk though the historic city followed by a nice dinner.

Day 5
The next day we visited the dugout of the world war 1. It is incredible that some thousand people were living and fighting in the underground for months. Everything necessary was built there: Living rooms, bakery, hospital, ...
Than we had to leave Verdun with direction Luxembourg were we have planned a short stay for lunch. Due to the strong wind the day before the fuel consumption of our engines was higher than usual. Therefor I was running fast out of fuel as the tank of an RD07 has 2 litres less than the RD04. And in this area you will not find a fuel station at every corner. Usually every supermarket has a station next to it - but most of them are closed on Sunday. So we drove further in direction of Luxembourg hoping to reach the next fuel station before my reserve is empty too. We reached the border to Luxembourg and close behind there was it!!! I had only 1 litre left in my tank. After a short stop we drove into the city where we went to a walk looking for a nice place for lunch outside as it was warm again.
The last bit along the river Mosel and through the Hunsrueck was a final pleasure on this nice trip. Back home our tripmaster counted more than 1.700 kilometers for it and everyone was worth to ride.
If you have any special questions about this report or need further information for a trip to France I would be glad to hear from you. Even if we have had just a few days to spend for this trip there are a lot of very beautiful sites in France to travel on bike - I will try to publish some more on this site. Unfortunately I had only the chance to visit them by car until now.:-((
Of course I always like to receive corrections and critics, too.
Sights in the area
WWW Links
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Klick on the map and see a map of hole france


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