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Europe » France » Aquitaine » Bordeaux February 28th 2021

On my trip to Bordeaux in 2019, I heard, constantly, how Bordeaux is all about tradition and rules. They also had to bad mouth Napa Valley in just about every presentation or tasting. Interestingly, when in Napa, nobody ever mentions France or Bordeaux. I found this highly irritating, and even brought it up to our very knowledgeable guides. So, try to figure this out! Food and Wine: As climate change continues to affect the French winemaking industry, the Bordeaux wines we've come to know and love may be different, but at least the region is actively preparing for its survival. In 2019, perhaps the world's best-known wine region url= read more
Then a winery
Then some purchases

Europe » France February 28th 2021

Another lovely day for a bike ride. Today's route was up to Cow Ark, past Marl Hill Farm, through Newton and Dunsop Bridge and home via Middle Lee's and Cow Ark. So a little more challenging than some of our other routes. Our virtual journey would be continuing south east winding through more vine-yards and tiny villages all with signs trying to entice us in to try, and buy, their champagne. Hilly for most of the journey but arriving in the Marne valley as we near our destination. We pass through the City of Chalons en Champagne. With picturesque views of the Marne and its many tributaries, Châlons is often referred to as ‘Little Venice ’ and there has always been an artistic energy to the city.  Although it is only about a quarter of the size of ... read more

Europe » France February 27th 2021

Another lovely day for a bike ride. Today's route was through Chatburn and Bolton by Bowland, round the radio mast with an added loop round Higher Bank Farm and back through Sawley and Chatburn. Our virtual route heads south out of Reims and meanders in and out of the vineyards on the slopes of the Montagne de Reims Regional Park endowed with lush forests. (One of the three most important wine growing areas).The Route Touristique du Champagne (600km of roads) runs south of Reims and our route touches on this in Verzy. Just out of Verzy is a forest of a thousand year old twisted beech trees known locally as the ‘Faux de Verzy’. No one knows why the forests near Verzy are home to 800 odd bizarrely malformed beech trees, but their presence has been ... read more

Europe » France February 26th 2021

A lovely day for a bike ride today so we cycled through Hurst Green towards Longridge, turning left at the Corporation Arms and down into Ribchester. Then is was up past Marles Wood and through Dinkley to Billington and home via Barrow and Four Lanes End. Our virtual journey was over more rolling hills to the City of Reims rolling hills. Vine-yards are now beginning to appear on the hillsides. Reims was our first rest day on our 2011 trip after 4 days of cycling. (On a real tour we would cover an average of 50 miles a day. This one is taking longer to fit in with Lent and to take account of the British weather). Reims is the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine-growing region, and many of the champagne houses headquartered here offer ... read more

Europe » France February 25th 2021

A sunny morning but breezier than expected. Our route was Bashal Eaves, Cow Ark, Chipping, loop of Leagram, Chaigley and home via the Pigeries. Paul had a major mechanical with the derailer and chain three miles from home. At least the weather was good for standing around fixing it. Our virtual route would be from Montigny sur Crecy across rolling hills which are becoming more substantial in size. We are mainly on small D roads which pass through small villages and hamlets. Villages are awarded star/flower ratings for their displays of floral art and many of them are very pretty. As you enter the village there is a sign showing if it's a one, two or three flower village. Marchais is a very small commune which takes its name from the Latin 'mercasius' or marshland. The ... read more

Europe » France February 24th 2021

Very grey and just a little damp for most of today's ride, with just the last three miles being quite unpleasant. At least the wind had dropped a lot. From home it was through Pendleton, Wiswell, Whalley, Billington, Mitton, Waddington, West Bradford, Chatburn, Worston and home via Four Lane Ends. Our virtual journey would be out of Saint-Quentin across more rolling hills and tiny lanes through crops and some fields of sunflowers. I have to stop and take a photo of the first field of sunflowers we see! This area attracts tourists because of the War Grave Cemeteries, the pretty villages and towns and the better weather. Occasionally we would pass a camp site and after passing one there was a supermarket with an outdoor laundrette, 'laverie', across from it (see photo). . Montigny sur Crecy ... read more

Europe » France February 23rd 2021

Very, very windy again but dry and quite pleasant in the sun. From home it was through Chatburn to Sawley, then Grindleton, West Bradford, Waddington, Mitton, Whalley and home via Four Lane Ends. Our virtual journey would be out of Caudry across more rolling hills and tiny lanes through crop growing fields heading due south. Also, past many more Cemeteries of war graves including the Ramicourt British Cemetery which contains 118 First World War burials, ten of them unidentified. These Cemeteries are always immaculately neat and tidy, even when they appear to be in the middle of nowhere. Saint-Quentin is a commune in the Aisne department in Hauts-de-France. It is named after Saint Quentin, who is said to have been martyred there in the 3rd century. L'hotel de ville is famous for its peal of 37 ... read more

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Cambremer February 22nd 2021

I have long professed that sparkling wines go with just about any food. We call this "food friendly" for good reason. And cheese is one item I seem to pair with my sparkling happy hour before dinner. You know my favorites, brie, camembert, gouda, Cotswold, and Havarti. But it really does not matter which cheese you prefer. The cheese can be paired with other food, AND with a sparkling wine almost 100% of the time. For some cheese wisdom, I looked to Thrillist and Cat Thompson, who had some great insight into cheese pairings. Here: Cheese is already good on its own, but what if there was a way to make it better? Enter cheese pairing—the process of partnering different cheeses with jams, nuts, fruit, meats, or anything else you can think of that might improve ... read more
More, bring me more!
George loved the cured, salted meats!!

Europe » France February 22nd 2021

A grey, but dry, morning that improved towards lunch time. To be fair we knew the forecast was much better for the afternoon but by cycling in the morning we know we have the rest of the day free. Today's ride was up to Bashall Eaves, Cow Ark, Middle Lees, Whitewell and St Hubert's Church at Dunsop Bridge. Turn round and almost back on the same route. St Hubert's church was my childhood church and I was baptized, made my first communion and was confirmed there. On our virtual ride it's another day of gentle rolling hills, through farm lands. Now we are beginning to see huge War Grave Cemeteries such as 'Solesmes British Cemetery'. Very strangely the first grave that we saw when we stopped was the grave of a cyclist. The First World War ... read more

Europe » France February 21st 2021

Wow, what a difference a day makes. Much calmer today and very Spring like and great for cycling. We left Clitheroe via Chatburn, on to Bolton by Bowland, round the radio mast (with a little extra loop in) and back to B by B. Then it was back to Clitheroe with a loop of Salthill and town. Out virtual route was leaving Barry and continuing south across more rolling hills and farmland. Large fields of maize and wheat dominate with occasional other crops such as cabbage and pumpkins. Huge wind turbines are always to be seen on the horizon. We have now arrived in the Nord department of Northern France. Valenciennes was historically known for lace making but now the production of cars is the main industry. The Hindenburg Line ran through Valenciennes during World War ... read more

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