10 Days in Picardy

June 4, 2016:

We’ve spent most of our time in France so far in the Picardy region, north and west of Paris. Picardy is a rural part of the country, with few cities. The countryside is made up of gently undulating green hills, cultivated with wheat (our future baguettes), corn, and other produce. The days are long (it doesn’t get fully dark until about 10:30pm); we wake up to a cacophony of birds singing every morning; and everything is verdant, which is quite a switch from the yellows of drought-stricken California.

Wheat fields everywhere
Wheat fields everywhere
Riding along one of the many canals near Amiens
Riding along one of the many canals near Amiens
Bicycle art in the middle of a lush backyard
Bicycle art in the middle of a lush backyard

As long as we manage to stay on paved roads, the cycling is gentle; the drivers are very considerate; and the scenery is bucolic. Which all makes for very enjoyable way to ease into cycling, especially after the (mis)adventure-packed first days of our trip. The rains were tough, but we hope we’re finally past the unseasonable storms.

Here are some photos of our 10 days in the Picardy region:

Trader Joe's in France (the brand, anyway, if not the stores)! Who knew!
Trader Joe’s in France (the brand, anyway, if not the stores)! Who knew!
Enjoying some rare sunshine on our way to Beauvais
Enjoying some rare sunshine on our way to Beauvais
Swans are as popular in Picardy as snails are at Team Lumaca!
Swans are as popular in Picardy as snails are at Team Lumaca!
Camping in Ourcel-Maison
Camping in Oursel-Maison
Duck Crossing!
Duck Crossing!
A rare ray of sunshine makes this little town near Oursel-Maison sparkle
A rare ray of sunshine makes this little town near Oursel-Maison sparkle
Swan in the canal just meters from our tent
Swan in the canal just meters from our tent
Private chapel attached to a small chateau (castle) at the top of a village called Prouzel
Private chapel attached to a small château (castle) at the top of a village called Prouzel
Amiens cathedral
Amiens cathedral
The canal trail is nearly deserted on a grey, rainy weekday
The canal trail is nearly deserted on a grey, rainy weekday
Go Team Lumaca!
Go Team Lumaca!
Postal delivery bike. The "training wheels" on the front are used as a kickstand.
Postal delivery bike. The “training wheels” on the front are used as a kickstand.
Mark riding the canal trail near Abbeville
Mark riding the canal trail near Abbeville
We reached the coast! Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, in the Baie de Somme.
We reached the coast! Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, in the Baie de Somme.
Beautiful homes and backyards that front the Saint-Valery-sur-Somme boardwalk
Stately homes and well-tended backyards that front the Saint-Valery-sur-Somme boardwalk
Cowboy Cooking: pot pie stew on a cold, rainy evening. Yum!
Cowboy Cooking: pot pie stew on a cold, rainy evening. Yum!
Our bicycles getting soaked in camp. Unfortunately for them, they can't crawl into the tent to stay dry.
Our bicycles getting soaked in camp. Unfortunately for them, they can’t crawl into the tent to stay dry.
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9 thoughts on “10 Days in Picardy”

  1. Great to hear you guys are getting into the “groove” and things are going much better. Beautiful pictures!! It looks like this your entire trip may expand into another year or two to complete. What fun!!

  2. Sieti bravi! Sono colpito come fate i conti con la lingua francese. È stato facile o no? I migliori auguri e buona fortuna. Roberto

    1. Grazie Roberto! No, non e’ stato facile affatto provare a comunicare con i francesi con solamente l’italiano o l’inglese alla mia disposizione! Purtroppo, l’italiano mi aiuta solamente un po’ – leggere, per lo più’, non parlare. (L’accento francese e’ cosi’ diverso dall’italiano che non capisco quasi niente quando ascolto al francese.) Ma, andiamo avanti! Adesso stiamo in Belgio, dove tanta gente parla l’inglese. Per fortuna!!!

  3. Love your photos! Good over-all slice of your adventure. So green and lush—obviously they don’t have drought concerns like we still do. Even your mascot, the lumaca, is beautiful(sigh)……

  4. Hello! Thanks for the latest update. It looks like beautiful countryside, and I like your wildlife spotting of swans and snails. It’s funny you spotted TJ’S products in France…Certainly not something I would have expected you to come across. This past week we did a bit of gentle cycling around South Lake Tahoe. We towed our son in a kiddie trailer and I wondered if something like that would come in handy for you guys since they hold a lot of stuff and keep things dry…Maybe that’s a totally ridiculous idea, but just thought I’d throw that out there.

    1. Your SLT trip sounds great! Thanks for brainstorming on our behalf! We considered a trailer when building our bikes and selecting our gear, and decided against it. A trailer makes the bike so much longer that it becomes even more unwieldy than hauling panniers. We also knew there would be a good chance we’d be taking a train at least once during our trip, and a trailer would complicate train travel, too. Our panniers are excellent (Ortlieb), and keep everything dry – so long as we button everything up tight. Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way. 😉

  5. Julie and Mark,

    I am really enjoying your updates and photos on the blog. What an adventure! You have had rain and we have triple digits and the smell of forest fire is in the air today. The landscape is beautiful where you have been and it sounds like the people are welcoming. Keep on pedaling :-).

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