After our amazing stay in Paris, we hopped on a train headed south (a 200 mph train, mind you) and landed in the little town of Cavaillon. This town is so pretty and located right in beautiful Provence. We spent the next day assembling our bikes and packing up our backpacks, and departed early the next morning. None of us were in good biking shape, but let me tell you, biking 30-40 miles per day with a 20+ pound pack through the hills of southern France will get you there!
Typically, we would get up around 8, grab a croissant, or if we were lucky, something with more substance, and hit the road. After about two hours of seemingly endless riding (and yes, a lot of complaining) we would stop for coffee and then, an hour or two later, lunch. This was either paninis we had packed ourselves, or something from a little café in a town we were passing through. We learned that because we basically spent all day biking, we had to eat ALL THE TIME. Which worked out in the end because my family loves good food. Finally, around 5pm we would roll into whatever little town we had arranged to stay in, and crash into our beds. After showering and napping until around 8pm, we would head out for dinner. Bedtime was generally 11:30 or 12. Before we knew it, we were waking up to start another grueling day.
I feel exhausted just rereading what I wrote, so you can imagine how tiring the entire trip was. In fact, there was one day that, after finally reaching the top of the Gorge de Verdon, which is about 20 miles of climbing, I completely broke down in tears because my body was so tired. Don't worry, most of it wasn't that bad. For the most part, we were all chipper and energetic, which, if you know my family, is exactly how we like to be.
Some highlights of the trip included spending the night on a wild animal preserve (there were wild horses, pigs, bison, and reindeer), eating the best steak and potatoes of my life (also on the animal preserve), finally reaching the ocean and diving straight in, and victoriously biking into Italy (and then turning around and biking back into France because our road was blocked, lol). The entire trip was magical and an adventure I will cherish forever.