OUR "TOUR DE FRANCE"
ON OUR FIRST day it was raining at Victoria, but the weather was clear at Newhaven. We had a roughish crossing to Dieppe, and fortunately only one of our party was sick.
Having arrived at Dieppe, we climbed several hills out of the town, then settled down on a long, straight road through the flat, hedgeless countryside of wheat and clover fields.
We reached St. Valery in the evening, and were glad to turn in after a meal and a ride round the town. We wakened next morning at cock's crow, after a restless night on crude apologies for beds.
The days run was to Louviers, with its contrasting modern hostel, and we stopped at Rouen and visited the Cathedral.
The next day we saw the Seine, and passing through Les Andelys, reached Mantes, where we had an amusing experience with a rather droll Frenchman who paid for an eighty-franc bottle of wine in one-franc bits.
From Mantes we cycled to Paris. In the evening, walking along the famous Champs-Elysées, we saw the Arc de Triomphe, gleaming white in the beams of the arc-lamps, and at its foot the eternal flame and the unknown soldier's tomb. We also saw the Place de la Concorde, with the Obelisk, and visited the Eiffel Tower.
We made several trips on the Parisien Metro, which is not as good as our "tube," but has a sensible "all-the-same-price," "two-journey" ticket system.
A trip on the Seine on one of the "bateaux-mouches" afforded those of us with cameras fine shots of Notre Dame while we circled the Ile de la Cité.
I thought Paris a very cosmopolitan town, with its gay cafés, colourful sights and whirling traffic.
Leaving Paris we went to Ergal. visiting en route the Palace at Versailles, famed for its fine paintings, the Hall of Mirrors, and the beautiful gardens. I was most struck by the wall-sized battle paintings in which the smoke and flame of the cannons and the dust from the horses' hooves were most realistic.
From Ergal, we continued to Evreux, swimming in the Eure at Ivry, and enjoying a beautiful run through a forest area. From Evreux we went to Lisieux, from Lisieux struck the coast again at Honfleur, and pushing on to the ferry which took us across the Seine estuary, we soon reached the "Auberge" in the Forêt de Montgeon, le Havre.
We were amused the next morning by the local Sunday morning six-a-side football match, which "antics" also amused a large crowd. We left for Yport, a small coastal town, and from there returned to Dieppe, swimming on the coast at our old acquaintance, St. Valery-en-Caux. At Dieppe we bought last-minute bottles of wine, and made an uneventful return journey. Perry and Roney had made a start in tegestology, collecting beer cards, and Taffy Wright had collected umpteen punctures.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour, and all our thanks must go to Mr. Shakeshaft for organising such an exciting, memorable holiday for us.
M. WORT (VA)