Stage 1: Passage du Gois > Mont des Alouettes: 191 km

Le Grand Depart finds us three hours north west of Paris, on the Atlantic coast and in the department of Vendée.

It looks like a lovely spot, with castles, oysters, sandy beaches and cobblestone causeways that are cut by the high tides.  This ensures it will be a scenic beginning to the stage at Passage Du Gois, but – alas! – the area is not really known for its cows.

From a cheese point of view – I can really only point to various goats’ cheeses. The best known is wrapped in the leaves of plane trees so you could replicate that quite easily in Melbourne.  Whilst I’m sure the cheeses are quite lovely… goats are just not cows.

The area is also well known for its mutton which is raised on some salt marshes (still not cows!).

Of course, just because a region is not centred on things bovine, it doesn’t mean we won’t see any cattle at all.  I’m going to be holding out for a Parthenais sighting tonight (and perhaps the next couple of stages), but if you were relying on hunting and gathering, I’d suggest you plump for Saltbush Lamb and goats’ cheese.

Parthenais http://blog.deluxe.fr/trucs-astuces-et-elements-de-choix/bovins-race-parthenaise.html

Stop press! (Or whatever the internet equivalent is): Our fabulous supporters at DiscoverVin have given us hope of spotting the Parthenais.  Here is a shot they have contributed of Parthenais in the Vendée.  Eyes peeled, Team Vaches!

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Share any sightings or stage one cow-related news with us in the comments.

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