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by Riley Wolff
July 18, 2015
Photography by Chris Riordan & Riley Wolff
Our “Ultimate Job” competition winners, Riley and Chris (courtesy of Exodus Travel), have made their way to the small town of Seyne. Follow their journey via the #UltimateJob hashtag on Instagram and see all the posts here.
We’ve been based for the first few days of our trip in a small town in the French Alps named Seyne-les-Alpes. It’s a remarkably beautiful village perched on the side of a mountain, filled with all of the cliche’s you’ve come to love and expect from years of watching subtitled French movies and countless editions of Le Tour de France.
They’ve got a little boulangerie, single lane country roads, and a fort. Yep, a fort.
Despite the stunning setting, the town has unfortunately been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. Seyne was the closest town to the Germanwings crash site, where a passenger plane crashed suddenly into the French Alps. While the event was already months ago it’s easy to understand the effect this still has on the community. With a population of only 1,000 people, Seyne was not equipped for the large influx of emergency services and authorities that came through in the aftermath of the crash; locals speak not with pride but with duty that they put up beds in their own houses to cater for the masses. In an incident so tragic, this was their way of helping.
We chatted further with locals about their day-to-day lives. We weren’t expecting it, but the big issue on their plates are wolves. When farmers neglect their land, a forest grows. A rich forest brings wildlife, and wolves quickly follow. With no natural predators, their numbers are thriving. Earlier this year a pack of wolves made light work of 21 sheep on one nearby property. You can imagine the impact this can have on a small community.
For us however, Seyne has been a truly picture postcard-worthy town and a base surrounded in cyclist friendly qualities. You can pick any number of roads through the town and over the mountain, but whichever one you pick is sure to feature nasty 12% switchbacks… with loose stones. There are flowing descents from the village out through the nearby valleys, and the local food options are outstanding.
At the end of a solid day on the bike, there’s nothing more welcoming than a traditional 4 course French meal (including a course of fromage), and a bottle of red wine to help you unwind. No dining experience would be complete without a view of the sun setting on the Alps, a truly breathtaking spectacle. In the peak of summer it doesn’t get dark until around 10 p.m., so those afternoon rides can be as long as you like!