Stage one: round-up

As suspected, we didn’t get a lot of cow action during the opening stage.  The few sightings were brief and very much in the background, with the exception of the display put on by the Agriculteurs de Vendée at the 94km mark.  Their cow was, however, sculptural.

Despite the effort these farmers had gone to with their display, Phil and Paul were less than impressed.  They felt that the use of the vehicles animating the wheels of the bike undermined the Tour’s green credentials. Sheesh – lighten up, guys!

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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

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