I hope les agriculteurs are taking note of this field art... although it might not be helicopter-friendly.

Stage 2: Saint-Lô > Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

Stage 2 vache alert! Correspondent Marj is cycling in Normandy at the moment and has a hot tip – she spotted this at about 50km to go:

According to Marj, it is possible that this is mobile, so eyes peeled, #TeamVaches!

According to Marj, it is possible that this is mobile, so eyes peeled, #TeamVaches!

Anyway, yes, I have an earworm courtesy of the stage finish (and who knew Nana Mouskouri recorded a version of Je ne pourrai jamais vivre sans toi?). That aside, we have a 183km undulating stage with an uphill finish that should drop the sprinters and churn that yellow jersey like some Normandy butter.

Speaking of… yes, we’re still in Normandy so once again it’s butter, cheese, apples and all those lovely apple-y things (think tarts, cider, Calvados). But there’s more! Are you aware of the Carrot Festival*? I thought not. It began in 1990 and apparently attracts 25,000 visitors a year, so it’s probably wise that it doesn’t coincide with today’s stage (it’s on the second Saturday in August, so you’ve still got time to make travel plans**). There are some fabulous photos on this post, when the Carrot Museum visited the festival in 2009 (you know about the Carrot Museum, of course). Of course, Carrot Festivals do have their pitfalls…

From "French Kisses" by George East

From “French Kisses” by George East

I hope les agriculteurs are taking note of this field art... although it might not be helicopter-friendly.

I hope les agriculteurs are taking note of this field art… although it might not be helicopter-friendly.

Image: World Carrot Museum

Now, before you close this tab in a huff, thinking “what’s all this got to do with cows?”, here’s tonight’s recipe: boeuf carrottes à la normande . Yes, the recette is en français, but it is apparently très facile so hopefully that makes it worth the google translate cut-and-paste. Cheesy comestibles? More of those Normandy delights: Pont l’Évêque if you want something robust for your cider, or perhaps a nice, ripe camembert. If it’s not ripe, you can always go all 70s – pop it in the fryer and serve with redcurrant sauce. Ahem.

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* I’m astonished to learn that the carrot festival in Créances is not even the only carrot festival in France

** If you are planning a food-festival-related tour of Normandy, there are some beauties listed here.

Stage 7: Livarot > Fougères

Stage seven gets the climbing points over early – the Cat 4 Côte de Canapville at 12.5km – and then undulates for another 178km towards a downhill finish at Fougères. Is this the last chance for the Etixx train to sort themselves out? The Griller will certainly be turning the heat up, as from here the fast guys will be turning their minds to calculating cut-off times.

If it undulates there’ll be ungulates… hopefully! Bienvenue to the home of the Normande!

Un jeune vache normande

Une jeune vache normande

Image: Eponimm

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