While most of France's electricity comes from nuclear power plants, there's a different kind of energy generator on display along the road from Paris to the northern coast. Everywhere you look giant wind turbines dot the horizon. You can generally see them in small clusters of five or six at a time, spinning gracefully away in the breeze. There were even some along the coast, and considering the gale force winds that threatened to throw me off my wobbly bike, it's not a bad place for them to be.
Now, some people think wind turbines are an eyesore. They say they've ruined the beautiful landscape; that they're too big and unsightly. I see it in a different way. While driving past the city of Amiens, you can just make out the famous Gothic cathedral that has stood there since the 13th century. It's quite an impressive sight, and I'm sure I'm not alone when I marvel at how 13th century people managed to build it with only their 13th century tools. I think the wind turbines are a little like that soaring church - a stunning example of human creativity and ingenuity. When viewed in succession, the two structures provide an almost poetic visual representation of just how much history resides in France. You can literally see the progression of human creation spread out before your very eyes; all without having to exit the A16 autoroute.
Who knows, maybe some day in the distant future people will fly by the same landscape in their little automated pods and think "Those 21st century wind turbines sure are amazing - can you believe that people back then were able to build those things with only their basic 21st century tools?"