We made it to Nice! Just over four weeks ago, we set off from St-Malo in northwest France. Since then, we have cycled over 1,000 miles, climbed over 15,000 metres, had two breakdowns (mechanical, not mental), detoured to one overseas wedding, eaten 3.8 trillion baguettes, been past idyllic countryside, historical treasures, cute villages and deep gorges, and had the best time of our lives.
The final day did inevitably come with some climbs as we had to make our way out of the Gorge du Verdun, but all were well worth it in the end as we triumphantly glided all the way down to the seaside at Nice. In between, we whooshed alongside a valley plateau which evoked images of American Midwest farmland, and had a coffee stop in the delightful and tiny village of Gréolières, with its small square under the watchful gaze of some castle ruins above.
Rather ironically, the official end of the St-Malo to Nice route was along the Promenade Des Anglais. And so we ended our journey along ‘the English way’.
It was actually so named not because of a frenzy of English cyclists sweating over the same route, but because its construction was originally funded by the English jet set, who thought it would be a welcome addition to their favourite holiday spot. The actual idea of it was conceived by a member of the English clergy in 1821, who thought a promenade would create jobs for the influx of beggars that had hit the area after a harsh winter further north.
And so the city was happy as they got a nice new promenade, and the English gentry were happy to have a better spot to enjoy the azure views from and a much more comfortable way to walk along the beach (since it is horrendously cobbled and uncomfortable). Basically everyone was happy except perhaps the beggars who unexpectedly had to build the whole damn thing. But as we cycled along today, they had indeed carried out a noticeably fine job of it.
And so, after a few celebratory drinks (that certainly is the English Way) our French adventure has come to an end. But when one adventure ends, another begins, so we’re looking forward to the next one. If you’ve got any cycling suggestions for us, throw them our way!