Mid-Loire

Thursday, May 26 Blois to Beaugancy

We rolled out of Blois on a beautiful sunny morning heading East. We took a diversion of about 15 Km to see the chateau at Chambord, King Louis XIV’s gigantic hunting chateau that he only visited twice.   What a setting.07-IMG_7519We walked around the outside of the chateau and took pictures . 12-IMG_753413-IMG_7535

We were not the only bicycle tourists at Chambord (Misspelled in picture above)

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We spent the remainder of the day riding to the small city of Beaugency where we visited it’s church.

Friday May 27  Beaugency –Orleans

We left Beaugency with a wave from the son of our hotel owners and in the morning fog. 01-IMG_767502-IMG_7676After riding  10 kms. we stopped to see the castle at Meung-sur-Loire. It is imposing.62-IMG_757860-IMG_757651-IMG_756350-IMG_756253-IMG_756749-IMG_756148-IMG_7560

There was no audioguide, but the plaques  in English were short and informative. The rooms were furnished from different periods of its occupation. The castle is more than 3 stories high plus a dungeon about 20′ below ground level that was cold, dark, dank and actually used on at least one person. No torture except the torture of loneliness , and cold.

There is a paucity of “Tebacs” where you can get a coffee or coke and eat your own sandwich (unlike cafes and restaurants that frown on your bringing food in.) We had our lunch of sandwiches with cheese left over from last night’s picnic in the courtyard of an old and very fancy hotel.

As we have ridden further inland, the Loire has increased in size most likely as France has seen quite a bit of rain. Despite its size it is no longer a vehicle of commerce, having been replaced by the railroad and trucks. We have not seen a commercial boat on either the river or the canals that are fed by the river.

We rode into Orleans in mid-afternoon. Despite its size and association with Jean d’Arc, there is not much for the tourist in Orleans.There is a statue of Jean d’Arc 68-IMG_7584

and ,of course,  a very large church.

1-IMG_761372-IMG_758976-IMG_759459-IMG_7575there was another fairly big church near our hotel that we visited before leaving in the morning. We took a picture of the statue and visited the basilica. It stands apart and is dramatic as it sits at the end of a wide boulevard that is lined with colorful flags that appear to be royal crests.

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The main plaza had a farmers market with loads of great breads, cheeses, and home made and wonderful smelling foods for sale.  Great tastings!

 

We found a felafal place owned by a man from Lebanon who has a doctorate in engineering and married to a woman who is getting her doctorate in physics. He owns and operates the restaurant because he loves it. The sandwiches were the best felafal we have had.

Saturday May 28 Orleans-St Benoit sur Loire

A beautiful, warm day no wind.

When we stopped for coffee and lunch in a small town,we heard drums 14-IMG_7629and  happened on a little street festival where they were selling tickets to play games such as bowling and knocking over wooden bottles with a ball in order to raise money to send a representative to this town’s sister city in GB. We met another touring couple from Switzerland on the walking street and exchanged stories for 15 minutes before we each rode our opposite directions down the EuroVelo route #6.

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Mid-afternoon we visited perhaps the oldest church in France, built in 808 and still standing. Relatively plan on the inside except for some of the original mosaics which were discovered and restored with in the last 2 centuries.

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We pulled into St. Benoit in time to visit its Benedictine Abbey dating to the 10th century. It is dedicated to St. Benedict whose relics are kept in the crypt. The Benedictine Order was so named because of him and his piety….very important person to Catholics.

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Sunday, May 29 St. Benoit sur Loire-Gien. Very overcast all day, but no rain

We left St. Benoit with a wave and a fond good bye from the child of our hotel hosts.32-WP_20160529_09_54_26_Pro (1)

We rode about 10 kms. to Chateau de Chamerolles built primarily in the 15th Century which has undergone many changes and restorations over the years. It is surrounded by water as the result of diverting the nearby river which added to the effect of a defensive castle, but which was never utilized in that way, however, it does make for great pictures. 10-IMG_769205-IMG_7680The castle has 3 very large rooms, one on top of the other.07-IMG_7683 It has been re-furnished in the style of the various centuries since it was built and remodeled. Although the chateau did not come with an audio guide, the written plaques in each room were in English as was the film that describes the progression of construction, reconstruction and remodel.

From there we continued on to Gien which is a much larger town than St. Benoit. The castle was closed for renovation. The very old church was largely destroyed in 1940 with only the original bell tower surviving.  Both sit on a hill overlooking the river and town.

Monday, May 30 Gien-Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire     Rain, Rain and More Rain and a little bit of a tail wind.

It was raining last night when we went to bed and continued all day today without  a break. Very cool, but not cold. Left our hotel about 10:30 after visiting with two British couples who had stayed in the same hotel and who were touring the opposite direction and headed to Orleans. One of the couples had two girls, 9 and 8. None of their party had rain pants, and some had no rain jacket. They noticed our stylish helmet covers, i.e. shower caps. When we told them they were available at our hotel they made a beeline back upstairs and got some for themselves and for the children, but still no rain pants for any of them. No train going to Orleans either. Ed suggested that they try to hitch-hike but they took off on their bikes. Those are two tough kids.

At our coffee stop we dried out and were joined by a British couple touring on a tandem who also did not have rain pants. In all cases they felt that the weather in France would be good (?) so why bring rain pants. They were a retired(78) British Air pilot and a retired teacher. We asked the couple about the upcoming vote in GB about leaving the EU. They are in favor of it because of the lack of decision making process and the lack of any real effective voting power. Very nice people and a great dry out stop for all of us.

We bought cheesy bread at the bakery next store and put it inside our panniers to keep it dry. We stopped for lunch under an office canopy another 12 Km down the road.

Despite the rain, we stopped at the canal which crosses the Loire River. The canal bridge was constructed between 1892 and 1896 and is about 40’ above the river. Both were used for commerce  so the need to have them criss-cross. It was quite a feat of engineering.

2-IMG_77014-IMG_7703We pulled into Cosne-Cours sur Loire about 3:30 p.m. found a place to stay. Took everything that was wet out of our trunks and handlebar bags and dried them and warmed ourselves with a hair dryer. Changed into dry clothes and walked a few minutes into the center of town to get yogurt for breakfast and returned to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel prepared just for us. Despite the rain, it was a good day. Tomorrow we expect more of the same weather but a slightly shorter ride.

FINALLY CAUGHT UP  WITH THE BLOG. WILL DO BETTER IN DAYS TO COME.

 

 

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