It's good to have active friends.
Otherwise, it would have never occurred to me to hop a train and spend the day biking in the countryside.
Which is what we did, Saturday, my active friends and I.
After city-biking to Gare du Nord, we took the train to a little village 40 km north of Paris. Bikes are allowed on all regional TER trains during non-rush hours for no charge (more info here). On board, bikes can simply be laid to the side if there isn't a special train car for them.
Descending to the platform at Luzarches, we rode away in search of country roads and fresh air. What we got, instead, was incredibly humid air and highway riding. That's right: the active friends' guide to train/bike adventure had us peddling down the interstate for at least 1/3 of the way.
All was certainly not lost. The ride, most of the time, looked like this, and was punctuated by a well-deserved stop at the Royaumont Abbey. Founded in 1228 by King cum Saint Louis, the Abbey was occupied by Cisturcian monks until the Revolution when it was partially-destroyed and turned into a cotton mill. Today, it's a cultural center and a site for fancy wedding parties like this.
We stopped for beers at their pretty cafe and Bernhard gave us a history lesson about monks and architecture. A friend who is active and historically-inclined? Le Meg wins.
At the end of the ride, we stopped for dinner at Le Saint Come (26 rue Cygne) in Luzarches, and I indulged in an apéro of kir pèche before a menu of 1) Salade Auvergnate and 2) Steak Haché avec Bleu d'Auvergne. We also shared some cheese and a thin slice of apple tart.
Did I mention it was air conditioned? It's amazing how the appetite can return when one isn't sweating to death.
We returned home on the last train to Paris and I landed in bed just before midnight, ready for the best-ever sleep of the dead.
- Round-trip train ticket Paris-Luzarches: 7 euros
- Entry to the Royaumont Abbey: 5 euros
- Beer at the Abbey café: 2.50 euros
- Dinner at Le Saint Come: 16.50 euros
- Pole dance and karaoke performance by Andreia on the train ride home: priceless
In total, ten wonderful hours for 31 euros. Thanks Bernhard & Andreia!