To Beauvais - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

July 29, 2022

To Beauvais

The next destination on my Cathedral Tour was Beauvais, home of La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais. It was a blue sky, sunshine day with temperatures predicted to not rise above the low 80’s – a wonderful cycling day for late July. My route continued through the agricultural region of the Oise department in northern France, a rolling terrain where the hills were neither too steep nor too long.

 Not far into the day's ride, I passed a large dairy farm and came across a wonderful bicycle rest area, complete with a picnic table and wishes for a good ride. It also had a replica of an 1871 Grand-Bi penny farthing, a bicycle so named for the two coins, the Penny and the much smaller Farthing, that, when placed side by side resembled the bicycle. 

As I continued through the countryside, it was clear that the region has clearly suffered from the high temperatures and lack of rain. I passed fields of sunflowers drooping in bright sunshine and stunted cornstalks with furled or browning leaves. Though not wishing for rain to spoil my cycling adventure, the crops and soil were in need of good soaking. 

Forges-les-Eaux turned out to be a delightful town with several good restaurants and a lively town square
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Suzanne GibsonWe missed it all - just saw the camping grounds!
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A bicycle rest stop offering a place to eat and wishes for a good ride
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A replica of the Du Grande B1 Penny Farthing from 1871
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Suzanne GibsonThanks for the background on why it's called penny farthing.
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Winding through hayfields on the way to Beauvais
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Still winding
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Gently rolling hillsides dotted with rolled bales of hay
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An intersection marked by both ancient and faded road markers - I guess most people traveling these roads know where they're going
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Small roads and big sky
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The town hall in the small hamlet of Fontenay-Torcy. They might not have been flying the Ukrainian flag, but the large sign underneath the EU and French flags read " Courage to Ukraine. Shame on dictators and those who support them. Europe united in solidarity and brotherhood"
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The fire station in Le Carroy
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Hayfields as far as the eye can see
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Typical landscape of the day
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A bit incongruous, I thought
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Drooping sunflowers on a sunny day
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As I passed through one of the small towns nearing Beauvais, I encountered one of the most unexpected delights of the year – a Petite Prince bus stop. I immediately pulled onto the curb for photos, at which point the postal van stopped, thinking I was about to cross the street. I waved her on, and she gave me a big smile when I pointed to pin of Le Petite Prince on my saddle bag and motioned to the bus stop. Often, it’s the small things that bring you joy and connect you to strangers.  

 Though my route was dominated by farm fields, I did pass through several small villages, most not more than a hamlet outside a somewhat larger town. Many, if not most, had their own “small cathedral”, and many of these were impressive structures in their own right. In the interest of non-discrimination on my Cathedral Tour, I’ve decided to share some of these less grand houses of worship. Unfortunately, I did not note where each photo was taken, foolishly thinking my 70 yr old brain would remember. I'll try to keep better track tomorrow, for now you just have the photos.

A bus stop after my own heart
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Lucy MartinDid you draw him a sheep?
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A bit of whimsy to dull the boredom of waiting for the next bus
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I am not sure if this indicates a designated route of churches, but I decided it suits the moment
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My first glimpse of the Beauvais Cathedral
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Despite the day’s short mileage, I’d dawdled about and didn’t arrive in Beauvais until later in the afternoon. After cleaning up and relaxing a bit, I took a brief pass by Cathedral and through the main town square on the way to dinner. Unfortunately, the Cathedral closed at 6:15, three minutes before I ambled up to the door, so I cannot complete my visit until tomorrow morning. So I’ll end here and give the La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais a separate posting, which I’m sure it deserves.

Playing and dancing in the town fountains - a wonderful summertime activity for the young, and perhaps young at heart
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Place Jeanne Hachette, named for the French heroine from Beauvais who took up a hatchet and fought back against a Burgundian attack on the town of Beauvais
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Statue of Jeanne Hachette, in Place Jeanne Hachette,
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La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais
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Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 1,931 miles (3,108 km)

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Scott AndersonSomehow I’ve never heard where the name for penny farthing came from. Nice to know!
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1 week ago