To avoid any awkward conversations with campground staff, we left early – very early. The girls slept in their clothes for the next day and we had packed most things the night before for a swift exit. It was cold and misty again. Realising that we couldn’t use the route I had planned and which we had attempted the previous night, I re-routed. The map contours in the area were very close together! To avoid riding on the main road out of Houyet though, we took a side unsealed road. It was a pretty rude way to start the day with about 35 minutes of gravel road at up to 10% gradient. We spent a good deal of time pushing the bikes before getting back onto the sealed road. After a couple more nice hills we had a 25 min freezing cold descent through quirky little towns and past old mills, along the Fonds de Leffe which is a tributary to the Meuse, into Dinant.
In Dinant we had some beautiful views along the river and of the citadel which overlooks the city.
To warm up a little we stopped a little cafe for a coffee and some pastries, just opposite the Maison Leffe. Thanks to the early start it was only 10:30 am and we had already done 25 km and pretty much all of the 598 m of ascent we would do for the day.
Feeling warmer, we headed out to follow the Meuse River south for the day. Out of Dinant we had to negotiate a few locks and river crossings. We crossed 2 locks and the Isle de Moniant, to do so we had to get the girls out of the trailer and lift it over the barriers (twice). The cycle gates were not even big enough for a single touring bike to pass with the packs on – let alone the trailer.
Once out of Dinant and on the western side of the river we had to cycle on the shoulder of the road to Waulsort. The road was narrow but the traffic gave us plenty of room along this really beautiful stretch. Immediately after Waulsort we crossed the river again by the locks and then joined the cycleway/haulage path. With the girls asleep in the trailer we stopped about 20 km out of Dinant when we saw a little riverside friterie for our last taste of Belgian fries. We ate them all and didn’t share – “you snooze, you lose”.
We then followed the very scenic cycleway along the Meuse to Givet. As we entered Givet we realised that we had returned to France, which began to herald the final stages of our tour. In the centre of Givet we crossed the river by bridge and had fantastic views of the Citadel which overlooks the town. We stopped and assessed our options for a campground, having had difficulties the night before. All of the closest campgrounds had closed for the season, which meant we had no choice but to do a slightly longer day than we had anticipated and push on to Fumay.
The cycleway was a joy to ride on. We passed though the little town of Chooz, with its nuclear power station billowing water vapour and crossed the river a couple of times more before pulling into the Fumay campground. The campsite literally overlooks the riverside bikepath and we were glad we would be able to get straight back on it again in the morning, without any lengthy backtracking. Here the gentleman behind the counter took quite a shine to Emilie – she is always too friendly – and he made sure to give him his fashion label business card and request that they become Facebook friends (they did not as far as I am aware).
To see the route, elevation profile, etc., click the link to Ride with GPS below (it should be able to be embedded but WordPress does not allow this).