Stage 15 Auxerre. I last visited Auxerre about 50 years ago and remember driving up narrow cobbled street. The street are still narrow and cobbled but cars go round the outside. Our journey from Fontsinbleus to Auxerre was a marathon - 125 km - but a relatively smooth one. We were on major roads almost the whole way, a smooth but terrifying ride. Lorries roared past, card whooshed by but we held steady to our course thanks to the brilliantly clear route devised byJulian. Apart from a short break for lunch we just cycled, and cycled and it paid off; we arrived 3hours!! ahead of our admittedly conservative estimate. Only 8 hours on the saddle. The countryside was green and relatively flat but I was gripping my handlebars so tightly, I did not notice too much. Some evidence of flooding certainly - crops under water and a shortcut we had hoped to take impossible because waterlogged. Rather more of the time was spent negotiating the outskirts of towns. French towns are like nuts; a hard, difficult exterior - ugly industrial buildings ( as opposed to the ribbon development of houses seen in the UK). This goes on for ever,but perseverance often leads to a lovely kernel - an attractive town centre, as is the case of Auxerre. However, we cracked it and are at the Hotel Cygne. The evening was spent wandering around old Auxerre - narrow, steep roads many cobbled to find the cathedral. We hope to return tomorrow when it opens. Then a search for food. Unfortunately Thursday evening almost all the restaurants close! Starvation! But no, thanks to the help of a local party enjoying wine outside a bar, we were directed to an excellent restaurant - possibly one we would not have otherwise patronised (price). But it was what was needed and we very much enjoyed it - including being offered a sip of a 1947 Chablis by a wine tasting party that was there as well. The high life, indeed.
Tomorrow we continue south to Saulieu. Let us hope it will be as trouble free.