Friday, July 17, 2009

Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile: another marathon

There is an official marathon in Noirmoutier, le Marathon de l'Epine. An interesting one, one during which you need to outrun the sea to get to the finish. Noirmoutier is an island with two links: one bridge and one submersible levee called Le Gois. The marathon finishes in Noirmoutier and you need to be fast enough to get on the island before the sea covers Le Gois! Or you are disqualified...This Tuesday, on Bastille Day, I stayed on the island for a tour of the North part. Not the official Noirmoutier marathon route. Our friends have a vacation house in Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile, near the harbor. From there, I followed the bike path most of the way, counter-clockwise. See my Picasa album for pictures of the beaches, woods, windmills, churches, harbors, horses, salt evaporation ponds, ...The only trick from a navigational standpoint is not to miss the entrance of the beach of Luzéronde after going through L’Herbaudière at the North West end of the island. I did miss it and ended up getting lost into the Marais la Violence before finding a way to get back on the beach through the Bois de Luzéronde.
After La Pointe du Devin on the West side, I also missed l’Allée Forestière and ended up at La Pointe de la Loire, a wonderful 270-degree view on the Atlantic Ocean but a dead-end for all traffic.
Apart from these two “extras” which provided additional sightseeing opportunities, the bike path is quite easy to follow. My tour ended up righ on 26.2 miles on my Garmin GPS. Although most of the bike path is shared with cars, there are many bikers in the summer making the car drivers attentive and careful. That said, I did not see any other runner during my 4-hour tour, making this run my very own and private marathon. Hope others will follow this path though, this is indeed a very nice and quiet environment to put some miles in while enjoying nature and a variety of views on each side of the island.
Our previous stop was in Granville, the land of my family on Mom's side, where I did a short run but spent more time on the sea, including a very nice trip to the nearby Chausey islands.
Our next stop will be in the center of France: Crozant where I spent most of my holidays when I was a kid, and Clermont-Ferrand for 36 hours. With all these miles around France, I have very limited and spotty connectivity hence my missing of last weekend's weekly post. Talk to you later form beautiful France, then (below is La Granvillaise, the Bisquine from Granville, in the harbor of Granville, with Notre-Dame church in the background)!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Très interessée par la visite de cette ile qui parait belle et variée dans ses paysages;