15 to 24/10 : the Tour de France comes to an end…

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After our wonderfull stau at the Cabanes des Grands Lacs, we spent some quality time at Fabienne and Yves’ place, where we discovered with great pleasure the transition initiatives. Then Nancy and its Stanislas place, Fère-en-Tardenois and its castel, its hobbits, and its huts, the Thierache region and an immersion in the Gyspys’ world,  a come back to the city in Valenciennes then Lille, and finally … a change o f plan !

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At Fabienne and Yves’, everything seems softer. We contacted them from Colette and Bruno, from Le Chant de l’Eau, where we have stayed few weeks ago. They said yes with closed eyes. Their “Gîte Panda” being full, it’s in their own house that we settle in for a few days, in their daughter’s room, who recently took off from the familial nest.

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We exchanged a few emails before our arrival, and Fabienne seems especially involved in her valley. She already invited us to a tour at the resourcery and to a meeting on the reintroduction of hitchiking within the valley via TransiStop (a local initiative). What a program, we are delighted !

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It’s after a brief visit of Belfort then Colmar that we arrive in Breitenbach, right in the Munster Valley. We are welcome at Fabienne and Yves’ as old friends. Fabienne and Yves are a really nice couple, full of wisdom and softness, with whom exchanging is a real pleasure.

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Thus, we discovered :

  • Transition’s movements : behind this initiative, the oil peak and a need to learn how to live differently,  without dependency to the black gold. Since, the transition’s movements widened to a more global problem due to climate change : move forward a more resilient society, meaning a society capable of resisting to economic and ecologic crisis.
  • Transi stop : The Vallée de Munster en transition is willing to bring up to date hitchiking by creating a network of users to break down the barriers and the fears. Thus, drivers and hitchikers receive an orange thumb, testifying their membership.

[box type=”note” ]For all those reasons, we extended our stay, because at Fabienne and Yves’, we simply feel good :)…[/box]

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But we had to hit the road again and as fate seems to exist, Yves’ boss was going to Nancy, our destination, the day of our departure ! Things are well done :) !

In Nancy, we are crashing at Martin’s place, whom we have met via TWAM (what, you don’t what TWAM is? Well, lucky you, everything is explained here) and whom kindly offered us a bed !

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014. We arrive at Fère-en-Tardenois, where we have reserved a night in a five star hotel (we’ll explain…), Green Key labelized. The castle’s ruins are stunning, the buidling is splendid, the surroundings are idyllic. However, desillusion, the commitment to sustainable tourism is not really their priority. We were really glad to see how the approach could be implemented in a such high standard accomodation … well, we won’t discover it this time ! The next day, Valerie (owner of our next step), advises us to stop by the Nid dans Les Bruyères located in the same village. Well, we shoulf have stayed in that place instead !

Funny hobbits’ huts, huts on stilts with stairs “drawbridge” and a extremly warming and welcoming team !

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Our stop this time was too brief, but we would love to come back !

It’s after this too short visit, that is Agathe, one of the main partner of the Nid dans Les Bruyères, takes us for a little ride. We then begin our driving through Aisne and Thierache regions. Disused factories, half empty villages, the desindustrialization of this little part of France is coming right into our faces. However, the countryside is beautiful, and people are really nice, so we arrive in Prisches without any problem, where we will sleep at Valerie’s, at La Cense Lignière. After a short coffee break in the café des sports, we start walking the few kilometers that separate us from our destination.

Valerie and Bernard welcome us with open arms and install us in our gyspy trailer. A real journey. This trailer has been elaborated in Romania before being brought back in the north of France. All equiped, bathroom et kitchen included, it’s a real little appartment with a bed area deliciously cozy.

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[box type=”note” ]After a rich in exchange on sustainable tourim diner, we curled up in our trailer, and as neighbour Violette the donkey and the sheeps.[/box]

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A copious breakfast later, Bernard brings us to Landrecies where we easily find another driver. Hitchiking this morning were especially effective ! Thanks to Edith, Denis and Lucile, we arrive in Valenciennes for lunch. Valorie, a nice local student, advises us to lunch at L’endroit, a cheap place with delicious burgers. So it is sated that we hit the road to Lille with Caroline, who was passing by, where we were visiting an old Mahery’s flatemate, back when he was in business school in Angers (we will keep quiet the number of years that separate us from that legendary Angevin collocation …).

But let’s go back a few hours earlier. We faced a big problem : it’s the “all saints day holiday” ! The Tour de France is ending up with the Baie de Somme, which is a top-destination at this period. All the accomodations are fully booked. They all accepted to receive us for an interview but unfortunatly cannot host us this time since they have no room left !

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What should we do ? Furthermore, we have to admit that we are a bit tired (ok, we are totally exhausted…) so we are less effective in our works and probably a bit less interesting in our meetings. So we act that the wisest sollution would be to come back to Paris from Lille and go back to the Baie de Somme after a good sleep and out of the holiday period.

Friday, October 24th 2014. We therefor leave Lille with a carpooling to arrive in Paris mid-afternoon. And… it feels weird ! You know this feeling when you come back from a long (or short) absence and you feel you left 10 years ago. And in the same time it feels like you left yesterday… Well, after 4 months around France, we don’t really know where is our head, where are our feet…

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[box type=”note” ]It is therefor after 4 days of holidays during which rest, family, and I-don’t-do-anything times that we are back on tracks, more motivated than ever ! Program : Baie de Somme, a symposium in Bordeaux, a webdocumentary, a conference in Brussel and a mission in Brittany.[/box]

And for 2015, we’ll let you know… :)!

 

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