Days 3 & 4: Thorette to Fourmies

Very quick update on the last couple of days!

Day 3: Thorette to Guise (53 miles)

It was supposed to be an ‘easy’ day – bright sunshine, flat route along a cycle path, so we loaded up on planned miles. Things started well as we made great progress past Noyon and up to Chauny. Giant barges rolled down the river, Sam merrily entertained by looking for boats and ducks.

But as we made our way further north the landscape became more sparse. Factories dotted the waterside and we cycled for miles at a time without seeing anyone else. The wind got up. The rain came down. And the cycle path gave way for extremely hilly roads as we trundled toward Guise. We were struggling, but Sam was blissfully unaware, and used the time to practice singing the Paw Patrol theme tune.

Matters were made worse by a map reading error that couldn’t have happened at a worse moment – adding additional miles when we were so close to our destination. The final hill in the dark and rain on a busy road almost broke us!

The town of Guise was almost asleep when we arrived around 830pm and there were no restaurants open whatsoever (we’ve been through so many boarded up French towns it’s crazy!). So we grabbed a couple of takeaway pizzas and crashed out in our AirBnB.

Day 4: Guise to Fourmies (34 miles)

After a long day the previous day, we recalibrated our route a bit to give ourselves a bit of a lie in and a shorter day.

EuroVelo 3 route restarted along a formed railway line East towards the town of Hirson. Beautiful rolling countryside, bright sunshine (but shaded by trees lining the cycle path), plenty to look at from old train stations to beautiful churches. We had emerged from the run down industrial area of yesterday to somewhere a whole lot more upbeat. We passed lots more cyclists, runners and walkers, all happy to share a cheery ‘bonjour’.

A late lunch at Hirson at a little park gave Sam some running around time and us time to refuel in the sunshine.

The end of the day gave us a few more miles of more hilly terrain, but by early evening we were checked into an Ibis on the edge of town and on the edge of a lake. Ice cream, wine and a hearty meal rounded off a great day! France redeemed itself at the last minute!