2015-07-06 Paris – Villiers-le-Morheir

No better place to start the Tour de Travoy than from the Champs Elysees in the centre of Paris with the Arc de Triomphe in the background. I thought there would be a lot of traffic in Paris but there was much less than I was expecting. Indeed, what surprised me most about the Champs Elysees, where the Tour de France finishes each year, is just how bumpy the road surface is due to all the cobblestones.

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Beauvais airport shuttle bus at Porte Maillot bus station. About 1 km from the Arc de Triomphe is Porte Maillot bus station, where you get the shuttle bus to Beauvais airport. It is here I said goodbye to Karen and the kids as they were flying back to Dublin that afternoon. We had a race that morning from our hotel in Charenton in the east of Paris to Porte Maillot in the west of Paris. They got Metro Line 8 to Bastille and then Metro Line 1 to the bus station while I cycled about 12km through centre of Paris. They won the race by about 10 mins, though if I had taken fewer photos I might have beat them.

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Total today – 100 km. Total so far – 240 km. As the airport bus headed north to Beauvais, I set off towards the first campsite on this year’s Tour de Travoy near Rambouillet.

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Longchamp race course. Today’s route took me past the Longchamp race-course in the Bois de Bologne, where every year in October, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes place.

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Chateau de Versailles waterfall. Next landmark on my trip today was the Chateau de Versailles and this magnificent waterfall in the huge gardens around the Chateau.

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GPS track at A12 motorway. Near Saint Cyr, I got totally lost and nearly ended up on the A12 motorway trying to find the cycle-path. Had to go wrong way up a slip road to get off the motorway and then jump a barrier to get on the velo route. Cycle paths are very poorly signposted in France and as I didn’t have the sat-nav on my phone zoomed in enough, it was easy going astray.

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Wild animal warning sign. In the forest of Rambouillet, there are many signs warning you of wild animals. According to The Telegraph,  there are up to 150 wallabies (small kangaroos) living in the forest after some escaped from a local zoo 40 years ago.

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Rutted gravel track recommended by Google Maps. All day, I had been following the route recommended by Google Maps until near Essarts-le-Roi, it directed me into a cornfield. I finally lost patience with the suggested route when near Saint Lucien, it made me take a rutted gravel path more suited to a moto-cross bike than a racer with a trailer attached.

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Camping les Ilots de Saint Val. About 9 o’clock, I finally made it to the campsite. The reception was closed so I just pitched the tent in the first empty space i could find and paid the next morning.

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