Monday, July 16, 2007

Tour de France 2007, Stage 1: London to Troyes - 7 July 2007

TroyesIn a most unusual move, the Tour de France 2007 began in London on 7 July. Our Tour de France also left London on 7 July and visited a number of places on the real Tour route, either before or after the cyclists, skilfully managing to miss the travelling circus that is "Le Tour".

TroyesAn early start was required in order to make our check-in time of 9:15 at the Dover ferry. Whisked across to Calais, we filled the tank with cheap French diesel, got a few provisions from the supermarket and headed along the A26. The motorway was surprisingly empty and 3.5 hours and €27 in tolls later, we were in Troyes.

TroyesWhat an absolutely delightful town. The old centre is street after street with building after building in 16th century half-timbered design. There are one or two towns and villages in England that have a 'Tudor, half-timbered' look, like Stratford-upon-Avon or Lavenham or the black and white villages of Hereford but frankly they don't even begin to think about approaching the scale and beauty of Troyes.

TroyesTroyes is extremely fortunate that it escaped not only the ravages of two world wars but also the ministrations of the Victorians, with their tins of black and white paint. The colours in Troyes are quite delightful; all manner of pastel tints and contrasting highlights on the timbers.

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