THE MOSELLE CYCLE ROUTE
Author: Mike Wells
Published by: Cicerone
Softback, 204 pages
Mike Wells knows this area well. Inspired to explore it and write a guide whilst researching his book on the Rhine Cycle Route (also published by Cicerone), he has replicated the high standards one has come to expect.
As Mike points out, the Moselle Cycle Route is not yet completed. Development of the route in France rests at the Departement level and some are slower than others. This isn’t a problem necessarily; the author states quite clearly where the going gets rough and offers alternatives, should you decide that a better surface is for you. Does this mean that one should wait for a second edition before purchasing? Not really; who knows when the surfaces and signage will be installed in places where they are currently missing (Allez Meurthe et Moselle! – come on folks, shake a leg). In any case, each Cicerone guide has a webpage where updates are posted – indeed travellers are encouraged to inform the publisher of developments. Let’s face it; all routes – even well-established ones – are liable to change.
In any case, in the best traditions of cycle touring the author does not stick slavishly to the banks of the river. He diverts into Nancy, suggests short diversions, describes a link route into Luxembourg City and entices us to explore the Saar Cycleway by offering a day excursion into the lower valley above the confluence of Saar and Mosel.
Mosel or Moselle? Depends where one is cycling. In some ways this guide offers a more culturally diverse experience than many. The river rises in the Vosges and flows through Lorraine – a disputed land if ever there was one – and remains defiantly French until it forms the border between Luxembourg and Germany, becoming solidly German before ending up at an icon of the German nation, Deutches Eck (near Koblenz) where it adds to the mighty waters of the Rhine. It runs through - Germany and beer-producing France – an exaggeration, but not totally unreasonable.
Reviewed by Steve Dyster
ALSO FROM CICERONE
In terms of scenery and history there is also incredible variety; the Vosges mountains, the great defensive lines built by the French military trying to keep the Germans out, ancient Trier with its roman sites and memories of Karl Marx, the famed gorge between the Hunsruck and Eifel mountains, charming French villages and cities and chocolate box German towns. Gastronomy is likely to be catered for at least as well as matters of the mind.
Am I tempted? Well, yes. This is not an area I know awfully well. Who better to take me there than Mike Wells and Cicerone?
If you have not seen a Cicerone guide before read on. The guides follow a consistent pattern. There are sections on general information including how to get to the start and how to get home, the route in general, food, cycle infrastructure, places to stay and places of interest. Then there are detailed route descriptions and maps. Interspersed with these appear more detailed sections on particular places or areas. Needless to say, to make the guide a practical size it is not possible to cover every spot along the way; equally it is unlikely that a cyclist will stop everywhere. That is one reason we want a guide to show us places as well as the route. There are of course contact details for tourist information and other potentially useful organisations. I have used Cicerone guides for many years and have never been disappointed. The information and mapping reflect the fact that Cicerone authors know their regions very well. In my experience a Cicerone guide is a grand companion on a cycle tour and a pleasant friend in the lounge.
REVIEW FIRST PUBLISHED 2014