Having made our plans to take the train from Charleville-Mezières to Reims the day before, we had plenty of time for a leisurely morning before heading into the city across the river and to the train station. At the station, we had to deal with the usual French railway (SNCF) issue of not being able to know the platform from which the train will leave until 20 min before departure. Once the information came up on the screen (even though the train had been at the platform for some time) we were able to shuffle our bikes and trailer across the platforms using the lifts. However, since the train was starting in Charleville-Mézières and was configured so that we could wheel the bikes straight on, the normal high stress race to get bikes, packs and trailer up stairs was absent. Such a relief.
The train took just under an hour to pull into Reims. We didn’t have too much of a plan of what to see in Reims but I had wanted to see the Roman city gate, which is very close to the train station in the park opposite. However, it was covered in scaffolding for renovation. We cycled into the city centre, picked up some food and then headed for the famed cathedral, where we stopped for lunch.
Trying to get out Reims and onto the canal de l’Aisne à la Marne, which we would follow out of the city, proved to be quite difficult. From the city side of the canal, we had to ride on a very busy main road for about 3 km before we could find an opportunity to cross the canal and reach the haulage path. Once we did, we followed the canal south east for 20 km towards our destination at the municipal campground of Val de Vesle. The canal and the ride out of Reims proved to be a bit of a let down in scenic terms, however, perhaps we had had our expectations raised to unfair levels by the month we had just spent on the Rhine and the Meuse.
The campground and staff were very nice. The girls love it when someone pays them some attention, especially in the form of sweets. We went out for a little stroll in the small town, had a wander around the Eglise de Courmelois but there wasn’t much to do.
We did the usual tasks of washing clothes and cooking food on the little gas cooker, for the last time of the trip. Even the shadow of the bikes on the tent seemed to remind us that the trip was coming to an end. Just one more day of riding to go.
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).