Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Off the beaten tracks thanks to "rails to trails" programs - Cycling on a former railroad corridor north of Nancy, France

                       Typical view of the non-asphalt trail on the former railroad line north of Nancy

Let us assume you are riding your bicycle in Nancy, France, and you have sufficiently indulged in the beautiful sights of the city.  Your time has come to ask where to go on a nice bicycle tour in the country side, with villages, soft hills, a green valley, a picknic area, with  bushes full of twittering birds and a bicycle lane that is so easy to ride that even the  younger members of the family will be able to enjoy the ride.  In other words,  you are  looking for the 13 kilometer long trail north of Nancy,  from Custine to Moivrons.
When we visited our friends Christian and Marie Jo, residents in Faulx,  they showed us the trail which was inaugurated in 2010.  We did the trail and we enjoyed it immensely.

Thanks to the excellent blog called Bahntrassenradeln" (Full title: Bahntrassenradeln – Verzeichnis der Bahntrassenwege Deutschland - Europa  -  weltweit")  by Dr. Achim Bartoschek it is easy to identify the trail.  Click "Europa" and you will see  a map with a table underneath, listing countries with trails on abandoned and converted railroad lines.

We learnt that France and Germany are the countries with the largest trail system of this kind in Europe,   4000 and 2400 km respectively.  The USA has the longest network of such trails.
(Very informative is the homepage of the Rails to Trails Conservancy Foundation.)

Click "France" and "Nancy" and you will find our trail from Custines to Faulx, Leyr and Moivrons.  The former railroad was in operation from 1882 to 1980, almost 100 years!  
This line, that once enabled the villagers in the valley to connect, to do business and to commute, is now inviting us to take a new look at transport and communication: We are invited to enjoy the landscape and to meet the people in the valley who are doing their best to promote our ecologically correct kind of movement, which is cycling or hiking.

At Villers-les-Moivrons the community has created a  very nice picknick area with a pond.  They are taking pride in this accomplishment as can  be seen on a blog that is dedicated to the activities of this community.
You may click a picture showing the entrance to this pleasant recreational area.

On the former railroad line to Faulx (North of Nancy)

Once in this part of France, which is called Lorraine, and more precise, in the administrative departement of Meurthe et  Moselle, don`t miss a visit of the little medieval mountain city of  Liverdun, overlooking the Moselle valley. This little city, once the seat of a bishop, is internationally known for a medieval festival in July. - Thank you Christian for taking us there in your car!

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