Route Blog Stage 18. Moutiers – Bourg en Bresse. 186km

Between December and June, we’re going to blog, one stage at a time, about the 2023 Tour de France route. You’ll find stage descriptions for every stage on our Route page.

The highlight of this morning will be the road that divides the Bauges and Chartreuses hills (without actually going over them), followed by a few kilometres alongside Lac du Bourget. It’s the deepest lake in France (145m) and sits right at the southern end of the Jura mountains. In French it’s also referred to as “Lac Gris” which doesn’t refer to the colour (which is blue as blue can be) but to the fact that it’s “meromictic”…

In ordinary, holomictic lakes, at least once a year the deep waters mix with the surface waters – but in a meromictic lake, this never happens so the water stays in layers.

To continue our discussion of Lac du Bourget, it’s worth mentioning that it’s the subject of a very famous French poem written in 1820 by Lamartine called “Le Lac”. Here are a couple of our favourite verses (from a total of 16):

“Pause in your trek O Time! Pause in your flight,
Favorable hours, and stay!
Let us enjoy the transient delight
That fills our fairest day.

In vain I pray the hours to linger on
And Time slips into flight.
I tell this night: “Be slower!” and the dawn
Undoes the raveled night.”

The stage continues back through the Ain department (strapline “Ici, c’est l’Ain” – remember stage 13?) towards Bourg en Bresse. The area is famous for a grape variety called Altesse which is quite yellow (or straw coloured as the French would say) and makes for a regionally interesting wine with a high mineral content.

The other culinary point of note are the chickens, known as “poulet de Bresse” and appreciated throughout France as a superior quality of poultry.

This stage is part of the following Loops: Second half & Grand Loop.

Don’t just watch it; Ride it!

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