Auxerre - Vezelay: Bad weather, good day - France Again - Cycling in Burgundy - CycleBlaze

August 4, 2008

Auxerre - Vezelay: Bad weather, good day

We woke up to the sound of rain on the roof of our tent. We dashed to the campground's little cafe for coffee and croissants and waited for the rain to stop. Today was the greyest day so far. We had to put on our rain jackets several times, but never for long.

We packed up the wet tent, said good-bye to the French cyclists who would be following the canal route to Dijon, and rode the short distance back into town to have one more look around and take some pictures. Auxerre has a picturesque old town on the hill on the west bank of the River Yonne, with winding streets and squares and half-timbered houses.

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Bringing home baguettes for the midday meal
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Give us today our daily baguette - no French meal is complete without one
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Temptation - we had to have a second breakfast
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The Tour de l'Horloge, built in 1483, is central in the old town, with its spire and clockfaces. The tower is now mainly of interest for the two colourful clockfaces, one on either side of the gate. One 'sun' hand that tells the time of day and another 'moon' hand follows the lunar month.

Tour de l'horloge in Auxerre's center
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The Tour de l'Horloge: the 'sun' hand that tells the time of day and the 'moon' hand follows the lunar month, rotating every 29 1/2 days
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From Auxerre we had an excellent paved path with signs indicating the distance to the next town and the next picnic tables. Classy. Since Vézelay was on our itinerary but not on the canal, we had to leave this ideal bike path a short distance before Clammecy.

Leaving Auxerre
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The perfectly paved bike path along the Canal du Nivernais
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Sometimes we used small roads following the canal
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Upon leaving the canal and heading southeast toward Vézelay, a really steep climb commenced immediately. It rained intermittantly, and the road went up and up. We rode through a lovely, dense forest with flies and insects galore. A good distraction. I was kept busy swatting and shooing the flies, as I couldn't outpedal them, and I almost forgot how hard the climb was.

Finally Vézelay came into sight. Beautiful. Perched on the top of a hill which we were to climb after first descending into the valley of the Cure. Working our way up to Vézelay was exhilarating: you don't get this feeling from a canal path.

Ah, Vèzelay
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Charmaine RuppoltCool city on the hill!
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3 months ago

When we arrived we were more or less soaked to the skin and we had a wet tent in tow. No camping tonight. We spotted the Hotel de Compostelle and they had one more free room. We hit the jackpot - we got a kind of split level room with a small staircase leading upstairs. We could dangle our tent over the banister of the stairs to dry and hang up all of our wet clothes. The beds were good and I finally got a good night's sleep.

Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 207 km (129 miles)

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Charmaine RuppoltYour hotel room sounds like one I stayed at in Spain - with the small staircase leading upstairs. :) It's a nice change. :)
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3 months ago