2017 E5 walk, day 53: Les Caves to Muzy

Section 12, Day 53
low 55 °F
high 72 °F
42,920 steps
16.1 miles

I headed out of town, stopping for pastries at Fournil Saint-Rémy, but took a longer route back up to the trail (to avoid the narrow road I’d walked down the previous afternoon).

In a bus shelter, we see a large McDonald’s ad, reading “New York Street Food — Big Hot Dog”, followed by fine print explaining “big”, “street food”, and an admonishment to not eat too much fat, sugar, or salt.  The sidewalk is packed, gravelly dirt.  A couple blocks ahead, to the west, we see a highway overpass crossing the road.
This bus stop ad somehow captures the overall feeling I got from Saint-Rémy.

Along the way, I stopped for some fruit at la Halle de Nonancourt1 (“the market hall of Nonancourt”, basically a roadside fruit market), and then wound up some side streets to get back to les Caves. The trail headed up over a rise, before dropping back down to a stream valley.

A stone wall with a brick-framed door (closed) leads under a small, presumably artificial hill.  The hill is covered and surrounded with weeds and scrappy grass, though a dirt trail runs up to the top, perhaps made by bicycles.  Behind to the southeast, the sun shines through trees.
The trail passed this thing that looked like a bunker, but I had just passed by some aqueduct infrastructure, so I wonder if there might have been some underground equipment or access here.

The trail then descended back to the eastern out­skirts of Saint-Rémy — it wasn’t a route that anybody would have taken who wasn’t focused on walking (almost) every foot of it. (I walked maybe four or five miles to get to and then follow the trail, compared to maybe a mile and a half if I’d gone straight through town.)

I crossed the Avre for the third time so far that day (not counting leaving the campground’s island), and continued following the trail downstream to the east. Soon after noon, it headed back down to cross the Avre a fourth (and final) time, passing through clearly-marked private property.2

The ground is covered by straw and weeds.  Three pale rocks are in the middle of the picture; on the largest one is a small, pale blue butterfly.  Its wings show dark lines running from the body to the outer edges.
Somewhere near the private property — either in it or just after — the trail went through a field that had scores of butterflies flitting about. The underside of the wings was tan with a scattering of eye-like spots.

After crossing to the south bank one last time, the trail continued east to the village of Muzy, where it turned to head south up a valley road towards the large town of Dreux. (I hadn’t been able to find a better place to stay for the night, so I was aiming for a cheap motel on the edge of town.) Just after the trail turned up a dirt path into a woods, I left it and continued south through the woods and some fields, to the town’s industrial northern out­skirts, and to the Hôtel Stars.3

The hotel wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t especially great — it felt a little like the French equivalent of a Holiday Inn. (In hindsight, it might have been better to just continue walking and camp on the side of the trail.) I didn’t spend much time in the room; I chose to escape and head up into Dreux proper.

Atop a rise to the south is an elaborate, round, domed building, topped by a cross.  One side has a smaller, auxiliary domed structure attached, with its own small steeple and cross.  Below the building is a hedge, a slope with ground cover, and (at the base) a concrete retaining wall.  To the left, a stone bridge crosses what must be a road in front of us, with the far end touching close to the building.  To the right of the building is a large tree; overhead, the sky is mostly cloudy.
The Chapelle royale de Dreux has a bunch of dead Orléans nobles, but I didn’t stop to visit them.

Dinner was döner kebab again, this time at Delice Kebab. Aside from the industrial out­skirts, Dreux felt a little like Avranches — a non-touristy town that was doing its own thing, unrelated to the GR 22 trail a couple miles outside of town. Most of the half-hour walk back to the hotel was nice, though the last few minutes and the hotel itself were kind of a drag.

Map of the day’s route.

  1. Saint-Lubin-des-Joncherets (the town I’d stopped in the previous afternoon) and Saint-Rémy, along with the towns of Nonancourt and la-Madeleine-de-Nonancourt, formed a weird demiurban agglomeration. ↩︎

  2. I’m sure various stretches of trail crossed through private property — just for one example, there was the pasture on day 2 — but this had what seemed like an excessive number of signs to the effect of “please be respectful and don’t leave a mess”. ↩︎

  3. It now appears to be an Hôtel Kyriad Direct; hopefully they have a less-bleak operation. ↩︎