This year we started to France with no clear plan other than letting the GPS take us on the back roads which are not uniformly pretty but there seems to be a high chance of success. Actually this is not quite true we decided to turn right at Calais to avoid some particularly nasty looking rain.
For the past 3-4 years we have been in France and missed the Bastille Day celebrations as the accommodation in towns with anything happening is always full. This year we have pre-booked in the Hotel du Chataux in Vitre near Rennes. We stayed there some years ago the day after and it looked like they had had some really good displays at the castle. Doubtless this year there will be nothing.
The first days ride is uneventful (pleasingly) with a rather damp trip to Dover on the motorway and thence from Calais to Abbeville for coffee. After some discussion we press on to Les Andelys as we both recall it as a charming village.
The bikes perform splendidly and I am certainly pleased I got the new tyre when we are zipping at 130kph along the Peage (French Toll Roads). I wonder about the front one though.
Rather foolishly we pass through Lyons-la-Foret which looks charming, I'm sure we should have stopped there and was really certain of this when we arrived in Les Andelys as I had no recognition of it at all. Turns out we needed Les Petit Andelys down by the river.....
The hotel Normandie was not the first choice but the Hotel de la Chaine d'Or was unfortunately full. The Normandie is actually pretty good and the rooms (the ones we had anyway) are certainly not cramped as the Lonely Planet suggests. The restaurant was pretty good (and welcome too) service excellent and the view (from my room) spectacular. Bit noisy in the evening with the locals randomly banging off fireworks down by the river.