Today was a day full of superlatives. We deserved today!
Early breakfast and this was the view out our front door. Blue sky, no wind.
We walked our bikes out of Perouges as it is hard enough walking on the raised polished stones with our mtb cleats, let alone trying ride as they are extraordinary uneven.,
We descended into the next village that was quite busy and once we cleared that, we were on open road. In the background the hills are becoming bigger.
There was minimal traffic on this road.
We passed a lovely chateau.
The hills are growing.
We then left the open road and joined Via Rhona, a wonderful cycle path. From this point Geneva was about 170 km away.
At the same point, this was our first view of the Rhone River. The colour was incredible. Turquoise.
The Rhone River starts high in the Swiss mountains in the Valais region at over 2200 m. The river is 813 km long and empties into the Mediterranean Sea.
The ViaRhona path is of excellent quality. Agricultural land to the left, and the river to my right.
The views kept us focused. Chateaus, gorges, the colour of the river….
We did deviate from the path a few times on a more direct road ( as rivers weave around), and the backdrop kept our interest. The French and Italian Alps are over there.
We saw plenty of water based activity including swimming and canoeing. I think there must be school holidays here as there are school aged children everywhere on the path.
A bridge crossing the Rhone.
This couple were cycle tourists, towing their family dog. Fair sized dog too, not sure if it was a Labrador or Golden Retriever, or similar.
This placard was on the side of the cycle path in a village. Quite a loop.
That gorge on the far side is where we are heading, as the river winds its way there, but it will be on our right hand side soon enough. We need to get over that lump too.
The river bulged out at this point and had a beach and lake like appearance here. There were many families here enjoying the water. I cropped out the male sun seeker
The gorge wall is getting closer. I look at the map trying to figure out where we go.
The agricultural fields are full of new growth
Interesting, note the gap over there? Our map route seems to line up.
Here we are riding in that gap, which in fact is quite a narrow gorge. The Rhone River splits into two, coming together further on.
We rode through this short tunnel and there was an amazing gorge, with sheer rock walls either side. There was no verge and no stopping as there were lots of cars buzzing through.
Out the other side, the landscape broadened significantly. We are heading towards that pointier rocky outcrop. We discovered something interesting last night and re routed todays proposed route.
We discovered that a cycle tunnel opened here in 2019. It is 1.5 km long, and it is only for bicycles (although I presume walkers use it too).
It is the most extraordinary piece of cycling infrastructure I have ever seen. It must have cost bucket loads.
As you can see below it is well lit. We took our cycling glasses off (as they are tinted) and the vision was very clear.
There is some water here and there, and that is a cyclist way ahead. We caught her and we were pedalling minimally because ….it slopes down.
There is art work on the wall in places (not graffiti, looks to be legit).
Popping out of the tunnel was akin to being teleported to another world. It was ‘wow’. We had been saying ‘wow’ through the tunnel as we were super impressed, but the view was amazing.
The big town on the shores is Aix-les-Bains, and the lake is Lac du Bourget. The lake is the largest natural lake of glacial origin in France and the town is a famous spa town, boasting the largest French freshwater marina.
We descended down from the tunnel (see the elevation graph below, you can see the climb up to the tunnel, then the descent). The 1.5 km in the tunnel does not show due to the fact that our bike computers rely on satellite technology. That is hard to achieve in a tunnel!
So here we are. The end of Day 18, 100 km today and over 2200 km ridden in our holiday cycle odyssey.
It was seriously warm today (32c), and we showered and washed our clothes and headed off to find a glace. It was a trois boule kind of day (three scoops).
Food options in France generally start at 7 pm and we could not be fussed hanging around so we headed into a Monoprix, grabbed some food to make our tea.
Today rates very highly in all the rides I have done. Great route, quality paths, signage, the tunnel and the views.
The ViaRhona path interests us for for future rides as it starts in Geneva and ends up on the Mediterranean coast, and a mere 800 km.
To finish with tonight, this is the view out our bedroom window. The church is named, Notre Dame. I think the great percentage of French churches have that name! It has a different repertoire of bell ringing. It finished up at 7.10 tonight playing for three minutes.
Our route, zoomed out, shows you just how close we are to Italy, Switzerland and Monaco. I rode in the Italian Aosta region in 2018 during the Giro d’Italia with Italy Bike Tours, and it is very spectacular.
Tomorrow is another day, more adventures. Thanks for reading, stay safe, smile on 😊