Day 5. The City of “traffic” light. (Thursday 2nd October)

Today Total
Distance 88 miles 340 miles (547km)
Height gain 940 metres 4566 metres (14980ft)
Calories 3300 13300

So in a weird similarity to Hitler I set off early-ish from Compiegne, the place where the Germans after the First World War signed their “unconditional” surrender and then in 1940, the French signed their unconditional surrender to the Germans. Unlike Hitler though, I was cycling…. The journey was quite uneventful but then I started to worry about where I was heading again as I felt that I was going the wrong way so I zoomed out of my GPS…. Impressive, it had again added another 15 miles onto the journey by doing a bizarre loop! It’s getting annoying now!

See picture below… And the quickest route between the arrow and the pin is…….

Ignoring this I took a more direct route but the roads are quite scary around Paris and the equivalent of “A” roads in France don’t really have hard shoulders to cycle in anywhere which leaves little room for a little cyclist when massive lorries zoom past. I’m trying to avoid routes with these roads where possible and go on the longer but safer county lanes…… Just not 10 miles longer!

Then I hit the Northern Parisian suburbs and what can I say other than I never want to cycle there again. I was just 8 miles away from the Arc de Triomphe but it took nearly 2 hours to get there. Compared to London, there are so many more traffic lights, no cycle lanes (until you hit the centre), it completely sapped my energy, stopping and starting all of the time. This may have been to the massive amount of road works caused by the tram works but the traffic around Aubervilliers and the grime, dirt and chaos was horrific.

But eventually I escaped and then rounding a corner, there was the Arc, and as you can see by the photo, Hitler would have also had a similar view given the “munition” look of my handlebar water bottles!

I took in the main sights around town including a scary cycle around the Arc de Triomphe roundabout and down the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and the Seine, then I headed south to a hotel I’d booked about 15 miles from the centre.

Thanks to more horrendous traffic and hundreds more traffic lights it took nearly 3 hours and a trek over another large hill to get to the hotel where I arrived completely drained. I really recommend that no one ever cycles through Paris, it’s the worst city I’ve ever cycled in. Then to top it all, when I got to the check-in I found that they’d given my room away…. they said not to worry though as they’d put me in another hotel 6 miles away. I did point out that I had a bike and it was 11pm so why would I not worry. They said this would not be a problem! Again, I said it was a problem but they just smiled. I suppose it was nice of them to think that it wasn’t an issue but I was the one cycling and I’d just done 82 miles with a big chunk of that through the festering suburban pollution filled streets of Paris.

So at a little before midnight I arrived, after a total of 88miles (142km) I called it a night and passed out!

For more detail on route click HERE.

(© google maps)