Along the canal to Langres

Today is a real holiday.  I’m cycling slowly along the canal which goes nearly all the way from Chaumont to Langres, counting the herons, and looking for places to swim.  It’s only 25 miles to Langres, and I feel I’ve got all the time in the world.

I divert from the canal every few miles to pedal round a quiet village, admire a church, and a Mairie, and anything else that is admirable.  One of these many villages has a very new shop, with coffee and Post Office, white walls and handmade rustic fittings.  Perfect place to stop, where everyone coming in says Bonjour to everyone already there.

The flatness comes to an abrupt and brutal end.  Langres is set on a hill, 400ft above the Marne canal, the main road, the railway and the Marne itself.  It’s a short road up, so it’s very steep.  It requires two stops.  If the bike were lighter I could get off and push, but you can’t push this great beast up a hill like this.

Langres is utterly beautiful.  A long straight main street is lined with interesting and useful shops.  One has several glossy magazines celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, and several have icecream on the pavement outside.

I’ve parked the bike, bought a brace for this troublesome wrist in one of the several pharmacies, admired the statue of Diderot, eaten an icecream and a few apricots.  Now I’m sitting in the shade watching the world go by at a leisurely pace.

Then suddenly it’s time to go and find my hosts, Elizabeth and Dominique, in an altogether splendid house with long views over the Marne valley.  They designed and built it themselves thirty years ago, and it’s the very definition of perfection.

Half an hour later, Elie is here with his van, to take us all to the concert.  I’ve no idea where it is, or what to expect, but I’m just going with the flow, and hoping the wrist will hold out.

1 thought on “Along the canal to Langres”

  1. Martin Johnstone

    Your journey looks amazing Kenneth. We are near Langres in a campsite by the lake, hoping to cycle to Chaumont and back tomorrow. If you can do it with all that kit on a bike, so can we!! We walked up to Langres today- quaint little town with amazing ramparts and buildings! Love the pink cello case! Our daughter has one from when she played cello up till the end of schooldays. many happy memories of concerts etc.
    Good luck with your travels. Hope you made it through all that unbelievably hot weather last week.
    Best wishes, Martin Johnstone

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