Sens, Yonne, sat June 23rd 2017
In 1903 , the first Tour de France started from a café called ” Le réveil matin” In Montgeron , 25 Kms south of Paris. These tough guys on their heavy bikes headed to Lyon, first layover. 450 Kms southward. We are not that ambitious- or masochist-. “We” is Eurocycle, a bike club that rides every year end of June about 1000kms in a week somewhere in Europe. The group of 25 to 30 riders has a German team, a French one, a Andorran one, and some Brits and Americans , depending on the year. This year we are riding from Montgeron to Nice, in 7 days, about 150 Kms a day on backroads. Nostalgia was the moto of the day: all along the road that follows the Seine river, posh bourgeois houses are abandoned, run down, forlorn, nostalgic witnesses of a time, the end of the 19th century, when well off bourgeois families from Paris would build summer houses along the river. Nowadays nobody wants to put their money in such big houses that require servants and large families to fill them up. Only a few of them are renovated for corporate seminars and conferences, or as senior care homes. Further south, villages and town center in Burgundy are often dead. People buy on internet and in malls, pop and mom stores are gone. Nostalgia. Better admire 12 th century cathedrals and cloisters. They are everywhere in France, and even if they are empty on sundays because no one goes to church anymore, they are witness of an age, the roman and gothic age, that Internet will not destroy, on the contrary: modern technology makes it possible to see the cathedral painted as they were in their heydays.