Our hostel in Verangéville wasn’t exactly enticing us to stay, and the smell of stale smoke didn’t make for a particularly tasty breakfast, so we left early with Monsieur wishing us at least a bonne route. We had a fantastic first few hours on beautifully quiet roads, despite a wrong turning in Laneuveville, and even found a cycle path which led us comfortably down to the Moselle.

At one point, Zara’s pannier bag caused a bit of bother, and she stopped to fix it; a passing French woman then yelled on to Joanne that her daughter (WHAT?) had a problem!! We found a hilly road through pretty forests up into Toul, with a final scenic descent, and anxious to avoid problems with lack of water and lack of coffee, we paused briefly at a brasserie to grab un petit cafe and fill up two of the 1.5L bottles.

A few spots of rain threatened to dampen us as we curved north above the motorway, but within minutes it had gone from a cool cloudy sky to a brillant blue and very hot day indeed. One day we’ll have to find a small pocket thermometer to take with us!!

Lunch was by Vacon, just after Void-Vacon, and we were again running low on water. Fortunately we passed a village where the fountain didn’t have that annoying ‘eau non potable‘ and after checking with the locals that it was really potable, we drank, refilled and splashed around merrily! 

It was a surprisingly hilly day; good roads with generally little traffic and usually with tarmac, but our route did seem to wind round every hill and ridge in the area. We stopped for our final food break at ‘the J place’ (Juvigny sur Meuse or something like that) about 20km away from Saint Dizier, and then cycled onwards along some D-roads into the town.

Saint Dizier is on another canal system, and traffic-wise has implemented a lot of one-way streets which Strava didn’t warn us about! Nevertheless, our hotel for the night wasn’t too hard to find and it was far better than yesterdays! After locking our bikes to gas canisters we checked in! It seems to be a feature of cheap French hostels that the shower/sink/toilet is crammed into a corner of the room and separated just by a curtain…
Despite Joanne not feeling hungry at lunch, we found a restaurant in Saint Dizier and both ordered pasta carbonara, which then wasn’t filling enough so we both got another pizza each. The waiters were very amused; to my embarrassment Zara began dozing after the pizzas took so long to come and then couldn’t finish hers, so we wrapped it up and took it back for breakfast!

Right, enough eating and resting and back to cycling! About 100km to Provins!