Today our trip shifted gear, away from the city and on the road again. We left paris from the Gare Austerlitz, which feels like it has been under reconstruction for 15 years. I can’t believe how much concrete must have been poured to create the podium that is spanning over the platforms. I wonder if attitudes to using concrete are shifting in France like they are shifting in the UK?

It’s a short ride to Orléans from Paris in one of those old intercity trains like the ones I’d see go humming past on the railway line below my grandmother’s house. There’s plenty of space for bicycles, albeit after you have lifted them up the high steps. On the way I spotted the remains of a test track for an aborted hover train project, a competitor to the British schemes being tested in Ely in the 1970s, neither of which came to fruition.

After a few days in city it feels a relief to reach the Loire, which stretched out before us left and right as we ate our picnic lunch on the banks. We now have six days of cycling down it’s wide cycle paths atop flood dykes.

First nuclear power station of the trip

Last night we drank in a packed street bar in Paris, today our beers are in a riverside campsite ganguette. I am enjoying the change.