Archamps to Thonon Les Bains: Fabulous day all round - Poking Around Europe 4.0 - CycleBlaze

September 27, 2017

Archamps to Thonon Les Bains: Fabulous day all round

What a great day today. The scenery was spectacular, the roads and bike paths were easy to follow and great surfaces and the weather was perfect. That pretty much ticks all the boxes.

We started off with a ten jammer breakfast and a wonderful meal with Vera from Holland. We were off a little later than usual (and you know we aren't exactly early starters at the best of times) but we enjoyed the visit with Vera so much that it didn't really matter.

We left Archamps and spent some time spinning through the outskirts of Geneva. We had made the decision to skip Geneva (hope it was the right one) but the CN was on the bike shop hunt. We finally gave up when even the postal delivery guy couldn't help us. Then we jumped on the bike path out of Dodge and it was a bike path done right.

First it looked like this.
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And then it got even better. The CN didn't take a picture of the part where the boxwood was replaced by beautiful flowers...it was so great and poof! we were in the country.
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We immediately found not dead sunflowers. Facing the sun of course, and Murphy's Law meant that was the opposite direction from the bike path, but here they are anyway.
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The whole ride was just amazing. We went through vineyards and had scenery everywhere that made it hard to stay focused on the road. At lunch time we found a 'Golf Restaurant' and went to check it out...the first time we haven't had a picnic lunch this tour. We usually prefer to picnic for all kinds of reasons, but this opportunity was too good to pass up. The golf course was an executive one set on the shores of a small lake and the chef knew what he was doing. It was worth the climb back up from the lake for sure.

In the vineyards we came across one of the amazing grape harvesting machines, up close and personal. The area around this puppy was slippery with grape skins. No one around because it was lunchtime in France. These machines are incredible. I can't imagine what one is worth.
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Then we came across tractors. These are a new interest of mine, and I really know nothing about them, I just find it so intriguing. So at first I thought the farmer's name was David Brown (didn't seem very French) but then I saw the next one. I defer to the Grahams for information on this tractor.
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Kudos to the CN who tromped into the farmer's field to take these pictures for me. There were more old tractors too. Not sure if these are working machines from what I could see. But look at those tires.
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Vineyards.
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It was an almost impossibly beautiful ride, and we aren't even at the lake yet.
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See what I mean?
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Beautiful.
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These gentle sisters are discussing hill climbing with the CN.
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Then we rode through more charming villages and gorgeous countryside. We had a fair bit of climbing in the early part of the day, but then swooped down to Lake Geneva and it was fairly flat from there. The lake is beautiful and the houses and amenities equally lovely. We are so lucky to have such good weather to enjoy this.

Starting a very long lovely downhill to the lake.
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A typical house.
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This is a hotel right on the lake. It would be a great spot to stay.
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The property was huge and surrounded by vacation homes.
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Our goal was Thonon Les Bains, and as we went through really neat spot after really neat spot I was regretting our decision to reserve ahead, until we got here. We love it. What an awesome town. We have explored and been out for dinner at a restaurant recommended by the hotelier. It overlooked the lake, we had a window seat and we are full in every sense of the word. Great ride, great food, great company. A perfect day.

The first thing we saw was kids on Optimists! That always makes us happy.
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The peloton went by. There were lots of people of all ages out on bikes enjoying the day and the scenery.
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A beautiful lake.
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Coming into Thonon Les Bains. Found two bike shops instantly. One had a proprietor who was Italian, spoke English (and French, Spanish and German) and was a big help to the CN. We asked him for recommendations in Italy and he suggested his birthplace 👍.
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There is a huge cathedral.
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What a great town. That is a funicular to take you down to the beach. The centre of the town has a huge pedestrian area.
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We watched the sunset before we went for dinner. The Bistro Belvedere, window seat overlooking the lake and such delicious food.
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Leaving the restaurant, the unexpected sight of the day. A dancing fountain complete with lights. It was a nice punctuation point for a perfect day.
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Our hotel. Maybe we will get a better picture in the morning. Quiet, quiet room and the front is right on the pedestrian area. This is a ski area so the bikes are securely locked in the ski room. They are so friendly and welcoming and the wifi works.
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https://www.relive.cc/view/1204280695

Today's ride: 57 km (35 miles)
Total: 1,560 km (969 miles)

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