To Forges-les-Eaux - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

July 28, 2022

To Forges-les-Eaux

In planning this trip, I was prepared for warm days and sunshine, not the cool and drizzly weather that greeted me this morning. I was therefore quite thankful that my touring rain jacket and merino long-sleeved shirt had made the trip to Rouen. I successfully navigated the slippery cobbles on my way through the old town, but further progress was halted by an SNCF cargo train that stopped on the tracks, blocking my crossing and causing a bit of a traffic jam. Cars were pulling out of line while pedestrians risked life and limb by climbing up, over, and between railcars.  I waited patiently before a gentleman told me that the next intersection was unblocked, and would allow me to detour back to my route. I made my way through the signal crossing and stalled traffic and after a couple of miles found myself on the outskirts of Rouen. A two mile climb took me up above the river valley, heading northwest to Forges-les-Eaux, my destination for today. 

Vincent has a new touring companion.
Heart 4 Comment 0
The SNCF train stopped on the tracks was creating a bit of a traffic jam for cars, cyclists and pedestrians
Heart 1 Comment 0
More than a few pedestrians decided to hop up on the train car to cross to the other side of the tracks. This man with the scooter was a bit nervous, stumbling a number of times and catching his scooter on the railings. I was just glad his pants didn't drop any lower.
Heart 5 Comment 2
Scott AndersonDumb, dumb, dumb.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Susan CarpenterI was shocked at how many people climbed over, including overweight middle-aged women with shopping bags! I guess they are all vying for a Darwin Award
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Passing through the back streets of Rouen. Half-timbered houses were common in all areas of the city, not just the old town district
Heart 4 Comment 0

The route followed small roads through fields of hay in various stages of harvest - from newly mown, to baled, to stacked, to hauled away. Flocks of birds covered the harvested fields, scavenging for morsels that had been newly unearthed or left behind. It was calm, peaceful, cycling and I was soon back into the rhythm of the road. The route took me through the land of Madame Bovary, Flaubert’s bored housewife who escapes the boredom of rural life through adulterous affairs. Though considered scandalous when published, Madam Bovary is now celebrated with her very own Promenade through the countryside. I followed the route to Buchy, where I stopped for lunch at the church and enjoyed a brief conversation with a couple that had done likewise.

Winding along the small roads after the hay harvest
Heart 3 Comment 0
I did my best sheep call, but these two were only interested in munching down
Heart 4 Comment 0
Rolling along with the bales
Heart 2 Comment 0
I don't know what type of bird this is, but they were in abundance poking around the harvested hay fields
Heart 4 Comment 4
Scott AndersonBlack headed gull, much more common further north like this. Oddly named, because the color is closer to chocolate.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bill ShaneyfeltAgreed
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-headed_gull
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonThanks Scott
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Susan CarpenterTo Bill ShaneyfeltType your comment here
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Town hall in La Vieux Rue
Heart 2 Comment 0
Bus stop in La Vieux Rue
Heart 1 Comment 0
Lunch time
Heart 4 Comment 0
Stone barn with blue door
Heart 4 Comment 0
House and barn with thatched roof. I wasn't sure if the roof top was covered with a garden, or a very large bird nest
Heart 9 Comment 2
Keith KleinHi,
It’s a Norman tradition to grow flowers on the ridge of thatched roofs. Really pretty in the spring.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Susan CarpenterTo Keith KleinThanks Keith - I imagine it is pretty striking with a full bloom on top
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
I was a bit puzzled by the bike route sign with a matronly woman
Heart 1 Comment 0
The mystery of the matronly woman was solved when I came across one of many information placards denoting the Promenade de Pays d'Emma Bovary.
Heart 4 Comment 0
A conclave of cows
Heart 5 Comment 0
The church in Buchy
Heart 2 Comment 0

The final stretch to Forges-les-Eaux was on a busier departmental road, one where I was hesitant to stop for photos. The miles passed quickly and I arrived in town just before two pm, right as the Normandy Resistance Museum was opening. I had become interested in the French Resistance several years ago after reading The Saboteur, a book by Paul Kix about a French aristocrat who joined the French Resistance. In addition to artifacts and information about WWII in general, the museum in Forges-les-Euax highlights the activities of the local resistance fighters and their activities in the days and months before the Allied Normandy invasion. I was amazed to learn the role that pigeons played in WWII, but the most moving were the personal narratives of those who had joined the resistance, many of whom were captured, tortured and sent to concentration camps.

 The sun had come out by the time I left the museum and as I had a little time before check-in, I stopped for an espresso and people watching.  There had been numerous signs promoting a big equestrian event in town, and I had fun speculating on which of the passers-by were “horse people.” Then it was off to my Auberge where I was greeted by Raoul and his owner, whose name I didn't catch. The day ended with a very fine meal of  dorade and grilled cherry tomatoes at a wonderful little restaurant just down the street, Restaurant 235. All together, a very satisfying and informative day on the road.

The road to Forges-les-Eaux was one of the larger departmental roads, with traffic often coming in bunches
Heart 4 Comment 0
The Normandy Museum of Resistance and Deportation. The wonderful ladies running the museum told me to leave Vivien George in front of the window so they could keep an eye on her while I was visiting the museum
Heart 4 Comment 1
Scott AndersonA perfect fit!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bicycles allowed members of the resistance to travel freely throughout the countryside - here we are asked whether this elegant woman on her bike might in fact be on her way to meet with another member of the resistance
Heart 1 Comment 0
Ferrying dynamite to sabotage the railroads
Heart 1 Comment 0
Elgise Saint Eloi in Forges-les-Eaux
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 1,898 miles (3,055 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 11
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Suzanne GibsonWe were in Forges-les-Eaux almost exactly 13 years ago to the day, on July 29, 2008. We were on our way to Rouen. Beautiful countryside.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago