Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 11: Barcelonette to Briancon


The plan for today was to climb Col du Vars, but Arjan told us the day before that if he had to choose, he'd rather ride Vallouise Valley. Between our worn out state from yesterday and the need to get to Briancon today since I had unfinished business with the Gallibier, we decided to try his suggestion.

The day was warm as we got started. I set a cut off time so we'd make it to Briancon with enough time to enjoy the day. By the time the cut off happened we were in a shaded climb and it was such a pity to stop, but stop we did for lunch and then drove on to Briancon, which was in such a crowded state that we parked illegally in the free parking lot. It turned out that we arrived in Briancon during its medieval weekend!

From Tour of the Alps 2011
From Tour of the Alps 2011
From Tour of the Alps 2011

"In the US, all the Renaissance fairs look fake because the context is wrong. But here in the castle town, it's actually appropriate and looks right!" said Phil. Indeed, the streets were strewn with hay, horses and fire breathers walking around didn't feel wrong, and the general mood was festival. There were even pretend street beggars, so you didn't just get the sanitized view of the middle ages. And yes, with horses around, the streets stank!
From Tour of the Alps 2011


The question became could we find lodging? This being a Sunday, that turned out to be no problem. We ended up with a 3 person room at the Auberg De La Paix, the same place Mike & I stayed at in 2005.

Since we had the entire afternoon free, we enjoyed walking around gawking at the medieval fair, and also scouted all the restaurants in town before finding Duck Confit at Le Gavroche. The restaurant was decorated with bicycles, and the food was the best of the trip.
From Tour of the Alps 2011
From Tour of the Alps 2011

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