Lake Geneva, Switzerland to Saint-Clair-du-Rhone, France

Day 103 –  Wednesday 04/08
Montreux, Switzerland to Peissy, France – 107kms Total 5213kms

We got on the road at 07:15 and got on the cycling path (shoulder on busy road) heading west.
The day was clear and warm. We wanted to do some kilometers today as it was such a lovely day to cycle. We knew the next day would be bad so we checked out a few camping’s but they were no good, very dirty from heavy use and generally not taken care off, so we continued on to Geneva.
We checked out a few hotels there so we could have a rest day tomorrow with the bad weather but this time it was way too expensive, €90 per night for two was the cheapest we could find, way out of our budget so we continued on.
Getting out of this city in the direction of the nearest camping is very complicated but after some help from the locals we managed to find the campsite in the middle of no-mans land between Switzerland and France.
Camping cantonal du Val deL’Allondon is located in a small but deep wooded valley, very quiet but there is totally nothing here. If you like peace and quiet than this camping is ok for a night or two.

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Looking South across lake Geneva to France. Click to view larger.

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One of many boardwalks we rode along.

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 Art

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Charlie

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Great riding on a beautiful clear day = paradise 🙂

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We tried following a bicycle path and ended up going up some ridiculously steep hills.

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The views were great though.

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View from the saddle.

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Another view from the saddle.

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Entering busy Geneva.

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Exiting Geneva.
We know someday we will be returning to Lake Geneva, maybe then we will take more time to explore.

Day 104 – Thursday 05/08
Camping cantonal du Val deL’Allondon – Rest day

Woke up early to heavy rain, we agreed to wait until 11:00 for it to stop, if not we would stay another night.
No such luck it just came down non stop all day long. We were happy we had enough food for a couple of days so we ate good last night and again this night.
Did absolutely nothing today just read and watched a couple of films.

Day 105 – Friday 06/08
Peissy to Sayessel – 63kms Total – 5276kms

Very slow getting underway today, we finally made it on the road by 10:15. The day started clear but as it wore on some small clouds came in.
At first we thought it would be an easy day today but ended up doing five climbs, each one tougher than the last.
I think in total we climbed around 700meters. No problem though we blew over them quite easily.
Camping here is pretty good for the money.

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Early morning ride through the Reserve Naturelle de la Haute Chaine du Jura.

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Following the Rhone. We had to ride gap between the hills in the distance.

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Entering district of Lyon.

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And departement de l’Ain.

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The same gap as the previous picture but closer.

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It must have been important enough to have built a castle to protect it.

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Still following the Rhone on the D991.

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View from the D991 just before Seyssel.

Day 106 – Saturday 07/08
Seyssel to Les Marches – 72kms Total 5384kms

We got up early enough and were outside the Carefour supermarket (across the street from the camping) at 08:30. We got some supplies and got on the road heading south.
Good road, light traffic and very good weather.
The road was not flat, it went up and down for a while reaching 250m several times making it a good deal of hard work.
Lac du Bourget was very nice and scenic to cycle around and there were many racing cyclists out all day long.
The only problem we encountered today was getting out of Aix les Bains.
At Chambery we found the tourist office and they pointed us to this very nice cycling path out of the city and the best part was it took us within 50m of the very good camping at Les Marches.

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Dam just South of Seyssel.

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On the D991 before Lac du Bourget.

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Looking West towards Lac du Bourget.

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The D991 turned out to be a great cycling road.

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Abbaye d’Hautecombe on the opposite bank.

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Just another day at the office 😉

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A tour of the lake is a must do, especially on a great day like this. Click to view larger.

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Just before Brison-Saint-Innocent.

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Looking Northeast towards Parc Naturel Regional du Maassif des Bauges. Click to view larger.

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Looking East at the French Alps.

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Monument in Chambery.

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Beginning of a great cycling path.

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Another view of the high French Alps.

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Overall picture of the area. Click to view larger.

Day 107 – Sunday 08/08
Les Marches to Tullins – 83kms Total 5431kms

Started the day going south on the D1090 for quite a while. Good road, light traffic and great weather. About 15kms before Grenoble this nice local cyclist named Fabio, saw us looking at our map and asked where were we headed and chatting with him for a bit he told us about this nice cycling path along the river Iser going all the way to Grenoble, he even escorted us to the path. We thought it was very nice of him to do so.
At Grenoble we looked around for the tourist office but no luck so we got some supplies and headed back to the river and the nice cycling path.
A few kms out of town we saw this older racing cyclist spread out on the path, he was passed out. I tried to get him to sit up while Monique cycled back along the path to this parking lot were we had seen a few people and called for help. The poor guy finally came to and set up and by that time Monique brought this other cyclist over that spoke French, we offered our phone but they said it wasn’t necessary to call for more help so we left.
A couple of kilometers later this other cyclist came by and asked where were we headed and we said were looking for a camping so he pointed us to this small camping at Tullins that’s not even on the map.
Another one of those lucky days 😉
The municipal camping is cheap and not very clean, but there isn’t anything else in the area, good for a night when in a bind.

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On the beautiful D1090 heading South. Click to view larger.

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Looking West at the Parc naturel regional de Charteuse from the D1090.

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Beautiful cliffs with a waterfall in the center.

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A close up.

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There were many para-gliders jumping off these cliff’s.

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And here’s how they got to the top.

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Still on the D1090 before Grenoble.

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One last look at the Parc naturel regional de Charteuse.

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Looking East.

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The very helpful Fabio.

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The deserted Grenoble city center.

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Important looking building in Grenoble city center.

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And the city’s old fortifications, Fort de la Bastille.

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A new river for us to follow, the L’Isere.

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Great cycling.

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More great views from the great cycling path along the L’Isere. Click to view larger.

Day 108 – Monday 09/08
Tullins to Tain L’Hermitage – 75kms Total 5506kms

Got up early and were on the road by 08:30. We thought this day would be long following the curves of the Issere but after about 15kms the very nice cycling path finished and we were forced on the D1090 for the rest and almost dead straight road to Tain L’Hermitage.
Great day for cycling, fast road, light traffic and super weather. Today is also very special for us as we have completed a 4164 kilometer loop.
We were at this same camping about 3 months ago heading south.
This camping I shall say again is very good and fair priced, we highly recommend if your passing through.

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No shoulder but great road and well behaved drivers.

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And this is the area where they torture poor animals just so can have a certain dish. SHAME!

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Looking Southeast at the Parc naturel regional du Vercors in the distance. Click to view larger.

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Taking a break in the shade and also check out our map.

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Some dark clouds building over the Rhone next to the camping.

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The spot we had 3 months ago was taken so we ended up here.

Day 109 – Tuesday 10/08
Tain L’Hermitage – Rest day

Did pretty much nothing today. We made our final plans for this tour got some supplies, got the information we needed and drank lots of beer.

The big change of plans is as follows:
Instead of cycling to southern France, Spain and Portugal as was originally planned, we are now going to get on the Loire and follow it down river to the Atlantic at Nantes, checking out as many chateaus as possible along the way.
From Nantes we head North hugging Brest and then finding the North Sea Cycling route and heading West visiting the war memorials and museums along the way.
And finally heading home once in Belgium or there about.
There are a few reasons for this change and the main one is that after leaving home on our bikes, we like the romance of returning home on our bikes after so many months on the road.
We thought also that the heat of cycling inland Spain in September would not be much fun besides we both wanted to visit some French Chateaus along the Loire, the Northwestern corner of France and the war memorials in Normandy.
Finally we think it would be much better to cycle around Spain and Portugal in a separate tour, its a big area and we think cycling parts of it on a very long tour would not do it justice.

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Only one picture today. We caught mom feeding her little one outside McDonald’s were we went to check our e-mails.

Day 110 – Wednesday 11/01
Tain L’Hermitage to St.Clair-Sur-Rhone – 669kms Total 5572kms

We had been this way a few months ago and knew the route pretty well. The first time we had taken a cycling route for part of the way but this time we opted for the D86 which turned to the D1086 later on.
The ride was for the most part boring with the exception of raiding the local Apricot, peach and nectorine orchards along the way. To the point of bursting I might add 🙂
The camping here is OK, there are about 90% Dutch here.
Later that evening we met John from Ireland, great guy and we had a nice chat. He’s been around some and this time going south.

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Looking back East across the Rhone at Tain L’Hermitage.

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A monument we saw along the way.

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It felt strange to be riding along the same road we took several months ago.

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The D820 bridge over the Rhone at Serrires. Click to view larger.

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Entering the Ardeche region.

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John from Ireland, great guy we enjoyed our chat.

This section of our tour was very nice and easier then some of the previous ones. We really want to come back and check out the Vercors and the French Alps in general. One thing for sure this part of France hasn’t seen the last of us 🙂

Continue on to part two of this section, from Saint-Clair-du-Rhone to Blois.