To Laon - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

August 2, 2022

To Laon

The sun was shining this morning, with promises of clear skies and rising temperatures as the day progressed. After sharing a typical French breakfast with Aude and Dave, complete with home made jams and breads, I said good-bye to my wonderful hosts and set out for Noyon. The day's plan  included a somewhat brief visit to the Noyon Cathedral followed by ~35 mile ride east to Laon. It was not long before my plans hit a speed bump – an enormous brocante had completely taken over Noyon. Throngs of people clogged the streets as they perused a multitude of wares offered by hundreds of vendors selling everything from underwear, to mattresses, to live pigeons. I kept trying to find my way out, but each empty side street led me to another avenue of vendors and crowds.

Dave and Aude, my wonderful hosts at Marguerite 60
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Crossing the Canal du Nord on the way to Noyon
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First sighting of La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Noyon
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Trapped in the middle of a never-ending brochante
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Live animal markets are something the virologist in me likes to avoid
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Finally free, I made my way to the Canal Latéral á l’Oise cycle path, a part of EuroVelo 3. After six miles, I left the Canalway and headed east to Laon along D6 and D7, taking the most direct route on what I thought would be lightly trafficked departmental roads. However, the roads were larger and busier than expected, and the landscape was fairly uninteresting. On the plus side, the terrain got a bit bumpy so I just pedaled on and enjoyed the cycling.

Back on another canalway - this one is the Canal Latéral á l’Oise cycle path
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Eglise Saint-Pierre in Manicamp, pop. 299 (1999)
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Église Saint-Médard in Sinceny, pop. 2028 (2019)
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The red brick houses of Sinceny
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Cat lover's home decor
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As I climbed into Saint-Gobain, I was hoping this was an ice cream plant and was dashed to learn that it was a glass factory, originally built in 1692. The factory gave it's name to the Saint Gobain company, now an international company that specializes in manufacturing of mirrors and glass, among other items
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Tower at Saint Gobain company
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Keith AdamsInteresting color variations and pattern in that brickwork. Almost looks like a moire effect in the second tier from the top.
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1 month ago
Curiousity is not an evil villian but the beginning of discovery
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Église Saint-Gobain in Saint-Gobain, pop. 2269 (2015)
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After a long descent from Saint Gobain, the landscape flattened, and I caught my first view of the fortified city of Laon, sitting atop a distant plateau. I’d opted for the shorter and steeper route up to city center, a choice I soon regretted when I found myself pushing Vivien George up a narrow sidewalk. My check-in time wasn’t until five, so I spent the intervening ninety minutes visiting the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon and idling on a bench in the shade watching folks playing chess and carnival games in the square adjoining the church. Dinner was at a restaurant recommended by the B&B, a recommendation I would not make – friendly staff but a so-so meal. By the time I left the restaurant, the area was quiet and free of both locals and tourists. It seemed everything had shuttered up for the night, and so did I.

Ken and Terry, two hiker/bikers from Canada planning a cycling and walking tour from London to Rome. Ken had blown out his rear tire on the descent from Saint-Gobain
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Laon began as a fortified town built on this distant plateau - if you look closely you can see the towers of the Laon cathedral
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View through the ramparts of Laon
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Looking out over the town and surrounding countryside
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The irresistible draw of a bright blue door
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The quiet Laon pedestrian zone on an early August evening
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Keith AdamsTeam Anderson posted a similar photo (lampshades as street decoration) a few months ago. I don't know whether it was taken here or elsewhere, but it looked like something I'd have expected to find on a semi-surrealistic Pink Floyd album cover.

I liked it then, and I like it now.
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1 month ago
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Today's ride: 45 miles (72 km)
Total: 2,092 miles (3,367 km)

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