Articles avec #a bike ride from paris to brittany tag

Publié le 12 Février 2013

Map of the trip

Map of the trip

 

Bannière 2011

 

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes to Brest Canal. Summer 2011  - Day 1.

 

During a 2011 bike-ride from Paris to Brittany I wrote a series of articles describing the route, the scenery and the highlights of my trip. I hope that this English translation will be helpful to those who have a hard time reading French and who would like to discover France in  "slow-motion" mode.

 

Paris - Malesherbes. 90km. (Malesherbes is the end station of the RER D line)

 

I was supposed to leave Paris on the Wednesday but the wind was so strong and the clouds so menacing that I decided to delay till the following day. A late start prevented me from covering the distance that I had scheduled that morning, meaning that I had to pedal longer during the afternoon..

My friend Daniel, with whom I cycled to Prague a couple of months ago, is so right when he says that you should do as much as you can before you stop for lunch. "Afternoon kilometers"  just seem to drag on endlessly !

 

Usual ride down from Buttes Chaumont to Bois de Vincennes, along the cycle path that runs between the Boulevard des Maréchaux and the Périphérique.

Quick ride through St Mandé. River crossed in Charenton-le-Pont at Pont Mandela. Continuation through a number of depressing towns strung along a grey and dull river Seine...   Ivry, Vitry, Choisy, Ablon sur Seine, Athis Mons, Viry Chatillon, Ris Orangis, Evry... and finally Corbeil Essonnes... that I reached after making my way through a succession of cycle paths, tow paths, streets, parking lots, industrial estates, embankments, sand and gravel depots, parks.. enjoying even a couple of kilometres on National road N° 7... 

Exiting Paris by bicycle is a military assault course... (except along the Canal de l'Ourcq that heads North-East).

 

The weather was quite different from the first day of my 2010 expedition to Brittany. Last year, I took off mid-July for a week of solid blue sky and seriously hot Summer temperatures !

 

In Corbeil - Essonnes, first stop was the tourist office for a stamp in my Travel Log and to obtain some indications on how to avoid main roads on my way over to the Essonnes Valley. Most of the time, tourist offices are very helpful.

This one was really super !

 

thCA62S9ZT

The old town is down by the river, meaning a long climb to get out of the Seine Valley. A sudden rain-storm added misery to the exercise. Completely drenched, I decided to stop at the top of the hill and go for a quick "plat du jour" at a local 'Les Routiers' (trucker restaurant). The food was plentiful, cheap but awful ! ... but I did manage to dry up a little...

Finally out of the noisy built-up suburbs, I reached the Essonnes river. Cycling along its meanders is a dream since the ride is mostly flat. I have to admit though that I did have to push the bike when I left Saussay, on my way towards the D31 that leads to La Ferté Alais.

 

Nothing of great interest along this route. Strings of bedroom villages with blocks of sterile, empty houses that all look alike. The only inhabitants seem to be the dogs that are left behind to bark all day, until their owners return from work !  Hard to believe that thirty, forty years ago, this was still very rural and that the villages boiled down to the few stone buildings surrounding the church square, neatly planted with linden trees. 

 

The section after La Ferté Alais, through Guigneville, Jouy, Bouttigny is a pleasant ride.  The narrow road runs through woods, mostly birch and pine trees trying to grow among huge boulders of sand stone.

 

An old cast-iron plate, fixed on the wall of an equally old building, reminds passers-by that "Begging is not permitted in the Seine & Oise district".

Beautiful castle in Bonnevaux.

Malesherbes reached at 17h00 under a very menacing sky.

 

I had planned to camp that night but chickened-out. Instead, I went for the local 'Logis' hotel : "L'Ecu de France". They didn't serve food that evening but recommended the Indian restaurant at the top of the hill. Excellent choice !

Unloaded Rock'n'Roll and locked it up in the hotel garage for the night.

 

Endless suburbs along an uninteresting Seine river + rain, wind and low skies.... Getting out of Paris had not been very pleasant. Tomorrow can only be better !

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0

Publié le 11 Février 2013

 

Bannière 2011

 

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes to Brest canal. Summer 2011. Day 2.

 

Malesherbes - Olivet (Orléans). 83 km.

via Ondreville, Grangermont, Givraines, Boynes, Bouilly en Gâtinais, Sully sur Loire, Fay aux Loges, the Orleans canal, Combleux, Orléans, Olivet "Camping municipal du Pont Bouchet.

 

Grey skies, no rain to start with; strong wind from South-West. Sunny in the afternoon and evening !

 

I thought that the serious warm-up exiting Malesherbes up a long, steep hill would be the only hurdle of the day....

After all, the countryside both sides of Pithiviers, is desperately flat and obstacle- free.

I'd forgotten that the wind loves such places since it can blow, uninterrupted, over the vast, endless wheat-fields....Mes-Images-6 1149

When I reached the top of the hill it suddenly hit me, full blast. As all cyclists know too well, nine times out of ten,  one's fate will be "headwinds"; very seldom "tailwinds"... For me, the day started with a double Whammy.

 

Mes-Images-6 1152

Just outside Boynes, I crossed the "Méridienne verte", (Green meridian), a crazy year- 2000 project. The idea was to plant a thick row of trees along the Paris Meridian from Dunkirk to Barcelona. (Deep down, geographers in France have never really accepted Greenwich ....). It never got finished. So there's very little chance that, in 50 years or so, it shows up on satellite pictures as a long green line running North-South across the country.

Fortunately, an hour later, the forest that extends North of Orleans, served as a wind-breaker making the ride a lot easier.

The road heading South-West wove through hectares and hectares of  beautiful pine trees, beech, birch and oak trees.

 

Mes-Images-6 1153

Reaching Sully sur Loire at midday I decided the place was OK for a quick lunch break on the town square, just opposite the City Hall. (Mairie).

A few kilometers down the road, at Fay aux Loges, I hit the tow path that runs along the Orleans canal.

 

Mes-Images-6 1154

From there it was a smooth ride  to Combleux where the canal meets the Loire river.

 

Mes-Images-6 1159

The boats here are quite different from the standard river boats: long and narrow, they are designed to navigate on the shallow waters of the Loire. Some of them are equipped with what looks like a garden shed. Those that I saw were all painted dark brown or black. Some had masts.

 

Mes-Images-6 1161

From that point, the canal runs parallel to the Loire all the way to Orléans, for a few kilometers. It is no longer used since most of it is either dried up or filled with water lilies and other aquatic plants.

 

Mes-Images-6 1164

In Orléans, a short section of the canal had been walled at both ends to hold enough water for an upcoming river-boat festival, the largest river-boat event according to the brochure !

Continuation along the very pleasant embankment towards Pont Royal, the 'Royal bridge'. Olivet, my destination for the day, is located in the Southern outskirts of the city.

The municipal camp grounds are run by a very active, pleasant and helpful family.

 

Mes-Images-6 1168

In addition to providing visitors with the usual tourist info, they run a small shop, organize wine and local produce tasting-events and even have a pizza truck visit every evening for those who don't feel like cooking.

 

Mes-Images-6 1172

The place is beautiful.

 

After a pizza and a couple of beers, the cyclist retired to his quarters for a well deserved rest in the little green tent pitched on the bank of the Loiret river that flows through the camp grounds at a snail's pace.

 

Mes-Images-6 1189

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0

Publié le 10 Février 2013

 

 

Bannière 2011

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes - Brest Canal. Summer 2011 - Day 3

 

Olivet (Orléans) - Amboise.   107 km, beautiful hot weather ! 

 

Very easy cycling: flat all the way. One just has to follow the river !

 

Departure from Olivet around 8.30 for a pleasant ride through the South-West suburbs of Orléans. The cycle path weaves its way through orchards, soja fields, small clusters of trees and finally ends up at the mouth of the Loiret river, where it joins up with the Loire..

 

Mes-Images-6 1195

 

The road then follows the river, running on top of dikes that have been built to handle the very unpredictable moods of the waters below.  "La Loire à Vélo" (The Loire by bicycle) is the name of this superb ride that is part of the EV6, starting on the Atlantic coast and running all the way to the Black Sea.

 

Mes-Images-6 1197

 

The sign-posting is excellent, except maybe when approaching Blois and  through Tours.

The path takes the cyclist along narrow roads -some of which are shared with the odd car or tractor-  through small forests and passes near beautiful sights, all the time running on asphalt or compacted sand and gravel tracks.

 

Mes-Images-6 1200

 

Very often, the trees give way to lovely views of the lazy river, to the many sand banks, the fauna, flora and to the riverside areas of some of the extraordinary towns sprinkled along the Loire.

 

Mes-Images-6 1202

 

Short stop in Meung sur Loire for a quick visit of the town and a stamp in my log book and continuation on the right bank to Beaugency, under very blue skies and a very hot sun !

Interesting "variable arch" bridge. Lovely town with its huge square tower called "Caesar's tower".

 

Mes-Images-6 1204

Mes-Images-6 1207

 

Magic little chapel on the edge of the road, just after Tavers on the outskirts of Lestiou.

 

Mes-Images-6 1209

 

Avaray: A sign mentions the local grocery/restaurant. The very idea of being able to sit in the shade and enjoy a beer steered the bike right up to the village center where the bistro is located. Regardless of the proximity of the Saint-Laurent atomic power station, a steak and fries still seemed more appealing than canned tuna-fish sandwiches !

 

Mes-Images-6 1210

Mes-Images-6 1214

 

The afternoon was spent on various paths and other tracks. In Muides sur Loire, it is possible to cross the river for a diversion to Chambord via the left bank. I chose to stay on the right bank and continued along paths that, at one stage, became pretty poorly signposted.

In Ménars, I ended up on National Road 152, (N152).  The remaining kilometers to Blois were terribly unpleasant due to the very dense traffic, the heat, and the ugliness of the outskirts of Blois.

 

After crossing the river there, I was about to continue on the left bank when I was suddenly brought down by the indications read on the "Loire à Vélo" sign. It read:  Amboise 42 km !!! 

 

Mes-Images-6 1218

Just couldn't believe it. And the wind had started picking up...

 

Aeolus was now wide awake and full of hot headwind... and the cyclist's legs were shot !

Kilometer after kilometer I reached Candé sur Beuvron after having to accept a long detour because of a local Summer fair in a remote village between Chailles and Candé. They'd closed the road to ALL vehicles, including bicycles, and there was no preferential treatment for anyone! Bull-headed bastards !!

 

Mes-Images-6 1222

 

After downing a Coke outside a bakery and filling the water bottles, I got back on the bike and hit the road for the remaining kilometers. I finally reached Amboise at 7.00PM after cycling 7h and 20 minutes.... Totally stupid !!

 

The castle on the hillside was magnificent in the late afternoon light, but not enough to stop me for pictures. I just wanted to get to the camp grounds located on the "Ile d'Or" an island in the middle of the river.Pictures would have to wait for the morning...

 

The welcome office staff were very pleasant but the campground itself was pretty dreary with its alignments of trees, so close together and shady that there was hardly any grass underneath... Definitely not an experience to repeat !

 

Tent installed; shower, shower, shower.... Couldn't be bothered to cook anything. It was already getting dark.

After an "evening meal" consisting of apple sauce, a yoghourt, a coke and a bottle of water, I finally collapsed in the tent for what I hoped would be a good night's sleep.

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0

Publié le 9 Février 2013

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes-Brest Canal. Day 4

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes - Brest Canal. Summer 2011.  Day 4

 

Amboise - Saumur 97 km.

Torrential rains during the morning. Clear to sunny in the afternoon.

 

Poor sleep due to non-stop rain on the tent and to very noisy English youngsters who'd obvioulsy taken a liking to some of the local wines. The cherry on the cake was a loud band celebrating the 10-year Anniversary of the local canoe club, on the other side of the river..

 

Fortunately, around 8.00 AM the rain stopped long enough to fold the wet tent and put eveything away.  Quick visit to the Carrefour Market on the way out of Ambroise to buy some food for the day. More rain....

Breakfast stop: an attempt to park the bike under the awning of a café next door to the little supermarket ended in a shouting session with the owner who had decided that I should leave it elswhere.

Screw you, fascist pig ! I'll spend my breakfast money somewhere else !

By then, the heavens had split wide open: the rain was torrential.

 

Mes-Images-6 1223

 

I pushed Rock'n'roll into a nearby bus stop and unpacked the full rain gear. Dressed in waterproof jacket, pants and rain shoes I got back on the road, heading West alongside the river.

 

The day was truly miserable. The water came from all directions: from above mainly, but also from the left each time a car or truck passed me. Arriving in Montlouis sur Loire, I spotted a road-side café and decided that breakfast was long overdue.

The owner thought that I had just surfaced from the depths of the river... Couldn't believe that someone would be mad enough to be out riding on a bike in such weather. His coffee and 'tartines' hit the right spot. After stamping my log book, he wished me good luck ... he had seen the weather forecast, not me !

The rain came down non-stop right through the morning and into the early afternoon. All types of rain: drizzle, showers, downpours... All of it nice and wet and cold.

 

Depressing transit through Tours where I managed to get lost due to some confusion in the signposting. On the West side of the city I nearly ended-up entering a 4-lane and had to do some tricky back-tracking to find the way onwards. Continuation on the left bank via Savonnières and Villandry.

 

Mes-Images-6 1224

 

Bréhémont, 2.10 PM: the Flood !  No room under the tarp roof of the arbour opposite the village restaurant, already packed with other unfortunate cyclists. Desperate to find a dry place, I managed to squeeze bike and rider right up against the church door that offered very basic protection against the elements. Everything was wet and dripping. The rain had even soaked the maps inside the plastic sleeve on my handlebar bag..

After a while it turned into drizzle, allowing all of us to resume our respective journeys, the 'arbour gang' heading Eastward and me Westward to Saumur.

Approaching Chinon, I had no real desire to visit the city so I just continued along the river.

The chosen route led me past the big pressure-cookers of the Chinon atomic power plant. Two doses a few days apart: no better way to end up with your teeth glowing at night.

 

The weather finally got its act together, with the sun even coming out. Passed through Candes St Martin and Montsoreau : two small cities well worth a visit.

 

Mes-Images-6 1225

 

At this stage, the official  "Loire à Vélo" route climbs up into the vinyards that overlook the river, making its way to Saumur in bucolic surroundings. I chose to stay below and continue on the direct road.

Just before reaching Beaulieu on the East side of Saumur, a large sign mentioned the Greenwich Meridian : Longitude 0°. The locals don't seem to be as sectarian as the motorway people to whom I had written some time before, asking them why this important geographic feature could not be signposted on their network.

They wrote back saying that it was the ministry of transport that made the decision on what was allowed... The truth, as far as I'm concerned, is that it is probably just another rear-guard battle of the "Paris Meridian" lobby. (cf. la Meridienne Verte...)

 

Mes-Images-6 1226

 

In Beaulieu, I discovered the most incredible 'Chambre d'hôte' ! A former château that Mary and Connor, its delightful Irish owners have completely refurbished. I was offered the Louis XIIth suite, three rooms furnished with exquisite taste.

 

Rock'n'roll had his own room: the owners' garage which was rapidly turned into a drying room: the tent, rain clothes, bags and other soaking equipment spread all over the place, in an attempt to get everything dry before morning.

 

Mes-Images-6 1236

 

Ok, the price was € 100 for the night with breakfast, but I just could not see myself setting up the wet tent and having to sleep in the damp bag...  and, it was Sunday.... if I needed another justification...

 

Other clothes ended up hanging to dry from the various window knobs and the shower rails. My shoes, packed with kleenex, enjoyed the last rays of afternoon sunshine, sitting on the window sill.

 

The 'table d'hôte' dinner was superb and pleasantly accompanied by the many stories that Mary and Connor shared with their guests.

 

After wishing everybody "good night", I finally retired to my sleeping quarters, happy to spend the night in my dry, four-poster bed !

 

Mes-Images-6 1228

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0

Publié le 8 Février 2013

 

Bannière 2011

 

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes-Brest Canal. Day 5

Saumur - Ingrandes 92km

 

Slow start in the morning since everything had to be folded and packed. The tent was just about dry, the over-shoes not quite.

By 9.30AM Rock'n'Roll was finally on the road, heading West towards the center of Saumur.

 

Mes-Images-6 1238

 

Quick stop at the Tourist office located near the bridge for a stamp in my log book and to purchase a couple of "Eurovelo 6" maps, mine having been ruined by the rain yesterday.

 

The "cycle path" passed through many villages along the river, some very neat, others in pretty poor condition. Lots of houses built using tufa, a low grade limestone dug out of the cliffs overhanging the Loire in the area. The resulting excavations are now used as restaurants or cellars where tourists can come and try the wines produced by local wine growers.

 

The rain started mid morning as a very penetrating drizzle. On leaving Saint Mathurin sur Loire it got worse, compelling me to find shelter under two very big sequoia trees that were stuck in the middle of nowhere.

 

Mes-Images-6 1242

A cyclist from Switzerland joined me. He was on his way back to Zurich. The wretched weather was the same for the two of us, but he at least enjoyed tail winds.

 

After a while we realized that there would not be any immediate improvement so we decided to move on. Soon the rain got worse. In La Dagueunière it got so bad that I ended up sheltering in a phone booth for over half an hour. Just opposite, a stela commemorated a national plowing contest that had put the village on the map.

Big deal on a rainy day !!

For me there would be no picnic today. A worker's lunch (menu ouvrier) in the local café was a far better option.

The weather forecast on the TV was depressing: no improvement foreseen for the time being !

 

Mes-Images-6 1244

 

Back on the road heading West into the rain and wind: Angers, Bouchemaine, Savennières, La Possonnière, Le Port Girault.... Just had to follow the river... At one stage I even passed by Saint Germain des Prés !

 

Mes-Images-6 1249

 

In Montjean sur Loire the cycle path changed sides and continued on top of the dike on a narrow road shared with the occasional car or tractor.

 

Mes-Images-6 1251

Rain and wind were in full control of the skies.

 

Mes-Images-6 1245

The target for the day was Ancenis but I'd had enough and decided to stop in Ingrandes sur Loire, twenty kilometers up-stream from the initial destination.

I'd just have to do better tomorrow !

 

Mes-Images-6 1243

 

The Loire was grey and depressing. Tied here and there, a few flat barges topped with their dark deck-huts added another sinister note to the low skies of the late afternoon.

 

Mes-Images-6 1241

No camping tonight ! Too wet !

Just opposite Ingrandes, The Logis de France hotel was full but the owner found me a Bed and Breakfast on the other side of the river, in Ingrandes proper. 

Lovely guest house run by Madame Lamour who is accredited by the "Loire à Vélo" organization. Make sure to book in advance ! (lamourdelaloire@free.fr).

Rock'n'Roll was parked in the basement near two large heating-oil tanks that were chained to the wall. My Landlady explained to me that some time ago, the Loire flooded her basement and floated the two half-empty tanks down the river. Now that they were tied to the wall it should'nt happen again ! 

All my soaking gear was unpacked and hung to dry. Madame Lamour even ran a load in  her washing-machine, promising that everything would be dry by the time I took off in the morning ! (no extra charge !)

The room was superb; so was the balcony view over the river. Pity that the weather was so awful !

 

Mes-Images-6 1253

There was no 'table d'hôte' at the guest house. The only option was a restaurant somewhere down town or the Logis de France on the other side of the river.

 

Mes-Images-6 1257

The owner of the latter had been kind enough to find a room for me so I decided that his "Poisson d'Argent" restaurant had to be the obvious choice.

The rain had finally stopped.

It took me 10 minutes to walk the 540m bridge to the restaurant but only 2 minutes to run back, trying to minimize another demonstration of Mother Nature's unlimited powers....

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0

Publié le 7 Février 2013

 

Bannière 2011

 

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes-Brest Canal. Day 6

Ingrandes - Le Cramezeul (on the Nantes-Brest Canal). 90 km.

 

Extraordinary breakfast ! French toast, crêpes, croissants, fresh fruit juice, fruit, dates etc... Definitely, this is a place that I strongly recommend to fellow cyclists on the 'Loire à Velo' trail. While talking with Mrs Lamour, we discovered that we had common acquaintances: former colleagues at Poclain !  The world is a very small place indeed ! (this was reconfirmed in October 2012, when I stayed at l'Antre de Brocéliande in Courtils).

 

Late start at 9.30 AM. since all my gear was either hanging to dry or scattered all over  Mme Lamour's basement, it took  some time to re-pack and reload Rock'n'Roll.

Over the bridge again and continuation along the left bank.

 

Mes-Images-6 1264 

Half an hour of dry weather then it started raining again ! Heavy drizzle, rain, wind the full Monty ! In Ancenis the track crossed the bridge and travelled along the right bank.

 

Mes-Images-6 1260

 

The weather suddenly became so miserable that I had to stop for 30 minutes under the concrete canopy of the Ancenis Municipal theatre.

After a while, the rain finally stopped allowing the cyclist to resume the journey West. River crossed once again in Oudon. Picnic in La Varenne between two more showers.

 

Mes-Images-6 1262

Last leg to Thouaré sur Loire where I had decided to catch the D37 to Carquefou and Sucé sur Erdre.

After getting a stamp in my logbook at the Post Office in Thouaré, I spent another 30 minutes sheltering under the trees in the middle of a roundabout in Carquefou.

The weather finally cleared and the sun came out ! What a change to see blue sky and puffy cumulus clouds. The front was on its way East and the bonus for the rider was a change of winds ...

The Tourist office in Sucé sur Erdre was closed. 

 

Mes-Images-6 1267

 

A sign on the door indicated that the nearest one was located in Nort sur Erdre, 13 km up the road. The lady there found a B&B for me, located on the road to Blain, near Le Cramezeul lock, on the Nantes-Brest Canal. Quick stop at the Super U to do some food shopping and final run to the very nice guesthouse operated by Mr and Mrs Lethiec (therese.lethiec@orange.fr)

 

Mes-Images-6 1271

 

In the evening, quick call to Daniel to confirm that I'd be in Malestroit the next day ! "La Joie de Vivre" was back !

 

My "room" in the B&B was the whole top floor of a converted "Longère" (a long, 'low-profile' farm house, often found in villages in Brittany). The owners had put a lot of work into their property that was even equipped with a swimming-pool (thank you very much for suggesting a dip but I'd had my share of cold water in the last couple of days !...).

 

Mes-Images-6 1272

 

Once again the family clothe-lines were taken over. Everything was hung to dry in the late afternoon sun.

 

Rock'n'Roll was parked for the night in a small shed that housed a traditional bread oven. It was used once a year during the village Fair.

After a solid meal and some rearranging of the bags, the rider hit the pad for a session of serious snoring !

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0

Publié le 6 Février 2013

 

Bannière 2011

 

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes - Brest Canal. Day 7

Le Cramezeul - Malestroit. 102km. Super weather !

 

Woke up at the usual time after an OK night except for a long hooting session, courtesy of a couple of local owls !

Excellent Chambre d'Hôte breakfast !

Rock'n'Roll carefully loaded. I didn't want Daniel to think that the lessons he taught me during our three-week trip to Prague last year were already forgotten! 

Blue sky and lots of sunshine !

 

Mes-Images-6 1279

 

At 9.00 AM I was on my way down the lane leading to the towpath, one kilometer away, for a 102 kms of pure happiness along the canal.

 

Mes-Images-6 1282

Apart from a few dull sections, most of the ride was magic ! The morning mist hovering above the water quickly disappeared giving way to all sorts of colours and reflexions.

 

Mes-Images-6 1280

 

The tow path was lined with meadows, tall poplar trees and hedges hanging down from uneven banks. The canal wove its way through the country-side, passing through small woods or farmland.

 

Mes-Images-6 1284

Each lock came with its distinctive features and many seemed to be competing in a gardening contest !

 

Mes-Images-6 1328

 

The flowers, the birds, the frogs and all sorts of other gifts from Mother Nature were suddenly awake, brought to life by the sun that had finally come !

 

Mes-Images-6 1304

 

No wind, a nice flat ride,  beautiful scenery:  Ideal cycling. Serious picnic at Pont Miny.

 

Mes-Images-6 1292

 

Further along, an angler had just caught a pike. He was busy measuring it, making sure it was above the minimum 50cm. Lucky man, it was ! I could smell the quenelles !

 

Mes-Images-6 1306

 

Redon: quick stop at the Tourist Info Office for a stamp in my Log book. Beautiful Compostela Pilgrim stamp in the shape of a scallop shell. The city is quite unique. It straddles three "départements": Ille et Vilaine, Morbihan and Loire-Atlantique that join up at the confluence of the Vilaine and Oust rivers that flow through the city. This medieval city is well worth a stop.

 

Mes-Images-6 1289

 

Continuation along the canal towards l' Ile aux Pies, a very beautiful area where the Oust flows below high granit cliffs topped with pine trees. Incredible tree-top climbing set-up St Vincent sur Oust.

 

Mes-Images-6 1320

Cables ran from one tree to another, 10 - 15m above ground-level. The kids up there seemed to be enjoying the 'ride' !

 

Mes-Images-6 1321

 

The path along the canal remained excellent even if in some places, the fine gravel topping was a bit of a pain.

 

P1130695

 

St Congard. Surprise !  Daniel was there, waiting for me with "Mout Mout" his faithful 'Breton Steel Donkey'. The last ten kilometers were spent discussing the trip. 

A welcome shower, a few beers and a quick visit to the beautiful neighboring town of Rochefort en Terre...

Dinner...  2012 plans...  More beer and to bed at 23.30 after a beautiful day of blue sky and sunshine.

Truly magic canal: early morning mist, herons, ducks, moorhens, tall white daisies, cliffs and pines....the cherry on the cake being the lovely welcome by Daniel and his wife !

 

Mes-Images-6 1314

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0

Publié le 5 Février 2013

A bike ride from Paris to Brittany, along the Seine, the Loire and the Nantes-Brest Canal. 8th and 9th day.

 

Malestroit - Kerpot. 76 km

 

Slept like a log at Daniel's place. Up at 7.00 AM for breakfast. Once again, my aluminium donkey was loaded and readied, this time for the last leg of the 2011 Breton run.

Daniel took me along the misty canal, throught the center of his lovely medieval city, all the way to 'La Née'. During that short ride we discussed 2012 options and plans: Belgium, Holland, Denmark and beyond...  or a section of the EV6 to the Black Sea ?? Still quite a lot of thinking to do.

 

Mes-Images-6 1343

 

The winds were favorable on a very quiet road. Ups and downs, non-stop.

 

Mes-Images-6 1349

 

Some shopping in Sérent and 2 bars of pressure added to the tyres at an MOT garage. The 1914-1918 war memorial was a dramatic reminder of the price paid by Breton villages during WWI and II. It was hard to believe that such a small place could have lost over 200 of its children !

 

Mes-Images-6 1350

 

No tourist office in St Jean Brévelay. So I got my 'transit stamp' at the local post office.

 

No picnic tables in Pluvigner. On the way out of town, a low wall, in the shade of the entrance of a large estate, was conveniently turned into an ideal lunch table.

 

Mes-Images-6 1352

 

Just the right height and plenty of space to prepare the midday feast, washed down with half a bottle of Bordeaux wine. No way was I going to fail so close to the finishing post !

Back on the ups and downs of the road with a little tail wind all the way to Languidic.

 

Mes-Images-6 1355

 

Quick stop at the town hall for another stamp in the log book. The final kilometers to Kerpot were covered in slow motion as if to make the trip last a little longer.

At 15:20 Rock'n'Roll passed the finish line after a beautiful day of sunshine, small white puffy Cumulus clouds and a gentle breeze that had pushed the metal donkey and its rider along the final 76 km of "Kerpot 2011"

 

Mes-Images-6 1358

 

Within minutes, the tent, tarp, over shoes and other damp belongings were hanging on the clothes line to catch the hot rays of the mid-afternoon sun.

 

The trip, that seemed to have started ages ago, was now over, but there was no sadness felt. Other trips, not yet well defined, were already in the making, like the edges of a 1,000 - piece jigsaw puzzle just out of the box.

 

Day 9 - Auray - Paris by TGV No. 8730.

One week to get there. 3h30mins back....

 

Mes-Images-6 1472 v2

Caution ! Rock'n'Roll is fast getting used to luxury !

Voir les commentaires

Rédigé par johnsbikingtrips

Publié dans #A bike ride from Paris to Brittany

Repost0