2015-07-29 Saint Rambert-en-Bugay – Lons-le-Saunier

Today’s photo shows a mural outside a bakery in the town of Villemotier. The writing on the plaque above the oven says “Bread baked in a wood burning stove oven”. Bakeries in France are quite common and open even on Sundays but this mural makes this “boulangerie” really stand out.

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Today – 107 km. Total so far – 1840 km Tough day at the office today as it rained for about 3 hours this morning and the hills of the Jura took their toll as the day went on. In all, I spent about 5 weeks in France and most days the weather was incredible; that is, apart from today. Meanwhile, back in Ireland, it was raining practically every day and some places in the north and west had over twice their normal summer rainfall.

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Saint Rambert-en-Bugey The town is named after a Christian called Rambert, who was martyred in the seventh century.

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Roundabout near Amberieu-en-Bugay There is a huge marshalling yard for trains in Amberieu-en-Bugey and the presence of so many trains in the town is celebrated by this roundabout. I punctured just the other side of this roundabout and used up 2 tubes trying to fix it as I pinched the first tube. Luckily, this was my only puncture on the Tour de Travoy though it was quite hard to fix as Continental Gatorskin tyres are tough to remove.

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Statue near Pont d’Ain The real Statue of Liberty in New York was built by the French as a gift for the United States of America. It was originally designed to commemorate the centenary of American Independence in 1876 but it took 10 years to raise enough money to build a pedestal for it on Liberty Island, so it was 1886 before it was completed. This poor replica is promoting La Liberte, which is the name of a big reception hall for weddings, parties etc. located beside the motorway between Pont d’Ain and Lyon. Hotels in the French countryside are not as common as in Ireland so some local entrepreneur obviously spotted a gap in the market and converted a warehouse into a venue for functions.

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Water wheel being repaired at old mill near St Etienne de Bois

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Herd of cattle near Villemotier I came across more sheep and cattle today than any other day I spent in France.

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Iron cross and statues near Coligny Iron crosses and religious statues are quite common in France but few are as elaborate as this example near the town of Coligny. The town however is most famous for the “Coligny calendar” which was used by the Gauls over 2,000 years ago. Their calendar was based on the lunar cycle with 2 years of 13 months and 3 years of 12 months every 5  years. It was accurate to within a day every 50 years and is estimated to have been in use for 1,000 years before Gaul was conquered by the Romans around 50 BC.

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Sign for Saint Amour Saint Amour is one of the oldest towns in this part of France and can trace it’s history back to Roman times.

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Herd of sheep near Balanod We have a few sheep of our own but I can never get them to pose for photos. French sheep are just natural at striking a pose or perhaps they were just curious what I was up to. The wood pile behind the sheep was about 100 yards long and was the length of the field the sheep were in.

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Oasis bar in Beaufort Some might say that this bar is painted the same colour as the Man City shirts, in homage to the band Oasis. Just like Ireland, there is a smoking ban in France but you can definitely still enjoy your cigarettes and alcohol outside maybe.

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Bales of barley straw in the shape of a tractor

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Lons-le-Saunier, birthplace of the composer of The Marseillaise, Rouget de Lisle The Marseillaise is probably the best national anthem in the world and was written by Claude Rouget de Lisle in 1792. At the time, he was an officer in the French Army and the song he wrote was originally called “War Song of the Army of the Rhine”. It was adopted as the National Anthem in 1795 and re-named after a group of insurgents or sans-culottes from Marseille who had stormed the Tuileres Palace in August 1792, thereby overthrowing the monarchy in France. Ironically, despite writing the National Anthem, Rouget de Lisle was imprisoned during the French Revolution and only narrowly avoided being de-capitated by the guillotine.

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Camping La Marjorie This part of town is known as “La Marjorie” hence the name of the campsite. Their emblem is a dinosaur as this is the Jura (Jurassic) region of France. The Jurassic period lasted for 56 million years (201-145 mya) and was a time of lush rain-forests. It was Alexander von Humboldt who first identified the uniqueness of the limestone mountains in this part of France and christened this geologic period in 1795. The Atlantic Ocean first formed during the Jurassic and many species of dinosaur also evolved during this period, including the first birds. Of course, the Jurassic is now well known due to the Jurassic Park films, though many of the dinosaurs in those movies, such as T-rex and the Velociraptors actually evolved much later, during the Cretaceous period.(145-66 mya).

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Camping La Marjorie was certainly the biggest and also one of the best campsites I stayed at in France. The facilities were top notch and there were loads of events and competitions laid on for the residents.They had free Wi-Fi, a snack bar, huge swimming pool, and a bouncy castle for the kids. It was only half full when I was there so there were plenty of room to pitch my tent. It was ideal for a good night’s rest and is thoroughly recommended for anyone holidaying in this part of France.

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