Amelia’s Magazine | Mini-break to Paris environmental style

This week I needed to look no further than the seat beside me to discover our third Earth Hero of the Week, awarded for an act of environmental bravery. Luisa (aka Art Editor) and her friend Jonangelo decided to go to the Paris to see in the New Year. Fly? Never! They took the zero-carbon- emitting route instead. It took them three days and many hot chocolates along the way, but they arrived leaving only tire marks instead of a carbon footprint (sorry). Bravo!



Was is very very cold?

The BBC told us it would be sunny (no need to pack a raincoat then), and they were mostly right … but yes, December in France is freezing. You’re warm as long as you keep moving, but hands, feet, and noses get cold. I wore ski mittens the whole way, and just got used to having numb feet. I think people thought we were a bit strange when we kept asking to put our socks on the radiators in cafes. Neither of us speak french.



Were you ever tempted to hitch a lift?

The only time I really wanted a way out was the first morning. We’d booked ourselves onto a 12 O’clock ferry from New Haven to Dieppe so we were keen to leave early. We thought the sun would be coming up as we were leaving London, but we misjudged it by about an hour, and suddenly found ourselves on a dual-carriageway with no street lamps, no hard shoulder, and lorries whizzing past a million miles an hour. I’ve never been so scared. Finally we decided to sit in a bush on the side of the road and wait for the sun to come up. We played ping to stay warm.

What kept you going through the tough times?

It wasn’t some kind of terrible struggle, It was fun. I like having life reduced to really simple things like getting from a to b, staying well fed and warm, and then sitting back to watch the world roll by at just the right speed. The roads were really empty because of the time of year so it felt like the days and its sights were for us alone … so beautiful! I’ve got a new found love for winter, everything frosty and eerily lit. We’d passed through ghost town after ghost town, catching only quick glimpses of people tucked away inside, and smell their wood fires burning. But then you get to a big town like Beauvais which is a bit of a smack in the dream-land world of all things quaint and pretty. Suddenly you’re surrounded by massive shopping malls and fast food restaurants, Buffalo Grill in neon red … nice burgers though.
Oh and music kept me going. I listened to Peggy Sue‘s ‘First Aid’ EP for loads of it, I’m a bit obsessed … that, Colombian Cumbia music and Edith Piaf to make it atmospheric.

Was this a drunken bet? How extensively did you prepare for this trip?

Well we left on the 29th, and only decided to do it on the 27th based on a combination of not knowing what to do for New Years/a vague plan to cycle to Chichester some day soon (same direction no?)/wanting to visit a friend in Paris. We booked the ferry, and hostels in Dieppe and Beauvais … we didn’t have maps, but Google gives a surprisingly cohesive route, go to “get directions”, and then select “avoid highways” … it’s my new favorite game. My house to Berlin is 666 miles, just for future reference.

Chaifage or groin strain?

Er no. I don’t think you can get that from three days. But I did John O’Groats to Lands End with some friends two years ago and we made good friends with femme-wipes. My body ached much more from that too, but I think that’s because we were camping, plus Britain is actually really hilly.




Would you do it again?

The day we got back Boris announced an official cycle route between London and Paris, which is great, but makes it feel a little less adventurous. Someday I want to cycle to India but that’s a bit silly at the moment, so for now I’ll look closer, Morocco perhaps?


Categories ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,Bicycle, ,Earth Hero, ,Lucy Jones, ,Paris, ,Travel

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