Rémi Le Calvez and Victoria Berni. Photo: Capitaine Remi/Facebook
Rémi Le Calvez and Victoria Berni arrived in the pretty port town of Honfleur at the weekend after a dramatic final sprint during which they had to battle strong winds, waves and fatigue from 12 days of pedalling.
“Port authorities told us it (the final 18 kilometres) was too dangerous without an escort so we put out a post on Facebook and miraculously a fireman who had a boat offered to help,” Le Calvez said.
With the escort boat sailing alongside them ready to fish them out of the water if they capsized, they finally arrived at Honfleur at around 9 pm on Friday and found a small welcoming committee of locals who had followed their progress on social media and had champagne on hand to celebrate.
Château Gaillard in Les Andelys. Capitaine Remi/Facebook
Le Calvez, 30, who describes himself as a travel blogger, and Berni, a 26-year-old civil servant, had this summer entered into a PACS, the French term for a civil union, and wanted to celebrate it by going on a romantic honeymoon.
“We're from Paris and we see the Seine every day,” a panting Rémi Le Calvez told The Local by telephone last week as he pedalled on the river about 20km upstream from the city of Rouen.
“So we said to ourselves that it would be fantastic to follow it all the way to the sea,” he said.
The couple slept in a tent for three of the nights on their trip, and spent some nights in a hotel but the rest of the time were offered a bed by generous locals impressed by their endeavour.
Le Calvez admitted that things got a bit tense for a while during the trip, especially when there were huge cargo ships on the river sending out huge waves that rocked their flimsy pedalboat.
And there was a moment when the adventure almost came to a premature end when river police at Rouen hauled them out of the water, saying pedalboats were not allowed in that part of the river But when they explained that they had all the necessary permits they were allowed to continue.
“On the whole it was an amazing trip, and the scenery between Paris and Rouen was truly magnificent,” he said on Tuesday, as he enjoyed a well-deserved rest.
Their exploits were recorded by local and national newspapers, and national television station France 3 devoted a report to their trip (see below).
The pedal boat trip comes a year after the pair hitch-hiked from Paris to Lapland dressed in Santa Claus outfits.
For their next adventure they hope to tour Sri Lanka in a tuk tuk.