After reaching the outskirts of Paris we exited from the main road and tried to find a hotel. The jokers responsible for the GPS POI databases in France were doing their best to confound us, as half of the hotels listed as being near the exit either didn't exist at all or had obviously ceased business a great many years ago. Of those hotels which actually existed, many of them were the same facility listed multiple times under different names and none had any vacancies. Most didn't even have an open door with anyone in the lobby who might have offered a suggestion where else to try. It seems that hotels in this area are all unmanned late at night, with a door-key vending system outside.
We carried on to the next exit and tried again - with similar results. Thanks to bad GPS data, we visited at least a couple of empty lots down obscure back roads. By this time it was after 1:00am and the temperature was falling rapidly from the balmy T-shirt comfort of central Paris. "OK, let's go another 30 or 40 miles and try again." At about 2:00am, we pulled over in a layby to add layers and strategize - We were already doing the only thing reasonably possible but every time we exited to look for hotels, it ate up another 30 minutes that could have been spent moving further from Paris, where (we assumed) the chance of finding an open hotel with vacancies would increase. Our string of good fortune just looking for places to stay wherever we found ourselves had definitely come to an end.
It got progressively colder and damper, with patches of ugly mist drifting across the road for miles at a time. We visited several nameless French towns, investigating numerous dead ends and a few comfortable looking hotels with no available rooms. Finally, a hundred miles or so from Paris, at around 4:00am, tired and cold, with the first hints of dawn in the East, we came upon a place in Lisieux with several rooms available. The vending machine outside the front door accepted my credit card and spat out a string of door access codes. I don't remember locking up the bikes, carrying gear to my room, removing my riding gear or falling into bed.
slartidbartfast screwed with this post 12-05-2010 at 12:09 PM