Today being a French holiday, we didn’t know what to expect. Would markets be open to buy food? Would the roads be busy or quiet? Would we be able to find a spot at the municipal campground in Vesoul? What do the French do on a holiday?

As the sun set at our campground, children played on the beach along the river.
As the sun set at our campground, children played on the beach along the river.

We again left early in the morning to get to our destination before the sun was out in full force. Lucky for us Neufchâteau had a bakery open in the morning so we could buy a couple of baguettes and some breakfast pastries. We’ve learned that anything you buy at a bakery should be consumed soon thereafter. There are no preservatives in the products, so their freshness rapidly deteriorates. The great news is that the bread and pastries are so good that there’s no chance we’d let them live in our panniers for long.

For lunch and dinner we’ve been eating baguettes with mayo and Dijon mustard, a French cheese du jour, tomatoes, and a dash of salt. We’ll also add a salad and some fruit and sneak in some chocolate for good measure. I’m tempted to send our cook kit home so there’s more room for all the fresh goodies available.

Riding through the villages toward Vesoul, we saw plenty of people gathering for picnics. The French are definitely people who enjoy being outdoors. Perhaps it’s the lack of air conditioning. Most likely it’s because the countryside is just so darn pleasant.

There was very little traffic on the small roads we chose, mainly I think because we were out so early. We managed to squeeze in about 50 miles of riding by 11:30am. That’s got to be a record for us.

When we reached Vesoul we found everyone at the municipal swimming pool. It was hot. Next to the pool was our campground, and a little bar on a small strip of beach along the river. As sun set children played on the beach while the adults drank and smoked. The French are still very into smoking. I wonder they enjoy rich food so much because their taste buds have been dulled by their cigarettes.

At night we were treated to some fireworks on the beach while tried to sleep. It’s surprisingly tough to sleep when fireworks are popping.

View all posts in Europe