An important question, not just because it’s nice to have a glass of something after a long day on the bike, but also because the regions of France and their produce are part of the scenery that make up each stage.
In Belgium it’s all about the beer: You pass little bars and street-side cafes in almost every village advertising their local beer with coloured signs hanging from the red brick buildings. The frites vans, chocolate shops and waffle supplies are important too. But really, in Belgium, it all starts with the beer…
As if moving on through the perfect meal, it looks like the next stop might be the Champagne region. Imagine kilometers of vineyards with perfectly straight rows of vines and perfectly tarmacked roads winding through them. This is a lovely area of France to cycle through – it would be shame not to finish the stage with a glass!
Heading on south we’ll be passing through or close to Burgundy and on to the Rhone Valley so that’s at least 5 stages of back to back excellent red! The roads we cycle will become more rolling (read: hilly), the earth will be redder and dryer and you’ll see small co-operatives and wine distributers dotted around the countryside.
And for those of you interested in wine, it’s worth the wait. If we hang around the Toulouse area for a while (a rest day close by?), we’ll have a chance to sample the fruits of the new wave of French wine producers. Apparently, Toulouse is the new Bordeaux: rare grape varieties, younger and more experimental vineyard owners and consequently more interesting and appealing wine. Don’t take our word for it – come and see/taste/cycle for yourselves.
Don’t just watch it. Ride it!
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