Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France_9-19-14

Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France End of our long journey   97 miles (156 km)-3 days Total so far: 1,785 miles (2,873 km)   World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Bouchemaine  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Nantes  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Paimboeuf  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Saint-Brevin-les-Pins  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net     It took us 3 more days to cycle Bouchemaine-St Brevin to and the Atlantic Ocean, the end of our journey. Our first night we made it to Udon in time to see the marvelous castle. It was a beautiful ride continuing from Udon as far as the outskirts of Nantes. A unique trail through the woods along the Loire was fun and interesting. Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-gravel route Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-gravel route-Loire River     but Nantes was not fun to travel through. It is very industrial and the route was poorly marked and heavy with traffic.   Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-Nantes-center Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-Nantes-center Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-Nantes-center   After crossing the Loire on the ferry from Bac, we rode a good bike trail as far as Paimboeuf. Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France–Bac Ferry Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-Bike trail   After Paimboeuf to St Brevin was not pleasant riding. The route followed the main highway. The road was narrow, rough and heavy with traffic. Ten years ago, a new trail along the Loire was to be finished, but it is still not realized.   St Brevin itself is a wonderful, small tourist enclave on the ocean. In mid-summer, it must be very crowded but in late September, it was very peaceful. There are two large campgrounds. But we found a wonderful Bed and Breakfast right off the beach. Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-St Brevin Hotel Bouchemaine_St Brevin_France-St Brevin Hotel The beach is wide and has a long bike path/walkway...

Les Ponts-de-Ce_Bouchemaine_ France-9-18-14

Les Ponts-de-Ce_Bouchemaine_ France More heavy rain for another short day   8 miles (13 km) Total so far: 1,688 miles (2,717 km) Ascent: +279 ft  (85 m); Descent: -307 ft (94 m) World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Les Ponts-de-Ce  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Bouchemaine  – map     Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   We made sure to check out that the market in Les Ponts-de-Ce was open Sunday morning before we left. We made our purchases for the day in the event that nothing would be open along the route. It was raining in the morning and so we got a late start. Rain again!   We didn’t really have a destination in mind because we have enough days to get to St Nazaire without rushing. The route was prettier than yesterday as it follows along the Loire. As we have seen throughout France, especially in western France, the bicycle paths are in variable conditions of enjoyment. Some are extremely rough. Some are very smooth. Today we had smooth riding, but it did not last long.   We came into Bouchemaine which is an interesting and charming little town and they were having quite a festival for the day on Sunday. As we continued on, the route deteriorated in quality and there was a serious hill to climb. We only made it to La Pointe before Anne’s chain broke on the steep hill. She put too much pressure on the pedals to get up the gradient, which the book described as a slight hill. It was not slight; it was at least 15% and it was long.   At any rate we had no tools to fix...

Gennes-Les Ponts-de-Ce France-9-17-14

Gennes-Les Ponts-de-Ce France Great towns but not such an interesting ride   20 miles (31 km) Total so far: 1,680 miles (2,704 km) Ascent: +317 ft ( 97 m); Descent: -338 ft (103 m) World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Gennes  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Saint-Remy-la-Varenne  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Angers  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Les Ponts-de-Ce  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   It’s a very short ride, but we didn’t find anything that was exciting about the route. St Remy-La-Varenne was a very pretty town along the route so the first part of the day was quite interesting. Gennes-Les Ponts-de-Ce France-St Remy-La_Varenne Gennes-Les Ponts-de-Ce France-St Remy-La_Varenne Gennes-Les Ponts-de-Ce France-St Remy-La_Varenne As soon as we crossed the bridge over the Loire to the right bank, the route took us into the backcountry of France and it was not particularly picturesque. We would’ve enjoyed rather to have followed the Highway D952 which was right on the banks of the Loire. We did not go into Angers. Not only was it a climb into the city but we don’t particularly care for big cities. So we took the alternate route that continued along the Loire and we found a very nice bicycle path after the junction to Angers. Gennes-Les Ponts-de-Ce France-bike path Gennes-Les Ponts-de-Ce France We ended up at Les Ponts-de-Ce for the evening. It’s a magical part of the Loire River where there are many branches of the River and a bridge must go across a very long section of canals and rivers and branches. The campsite was on an island between many of these different River branches. The campsite unfortunately was in the trees back away from the river, but it was...

Savigny-en-Veron-Gennes-9-16-14

Savigny-en-Veron-Gennes Favorite Campsite in Gennes   24 miles (39 km) Total so far: 1,660 miles (2,672 km) Ascent: +337 (103 m);  Descent: -334 ft (102 m)   World > Europe > France > Centre > Savigny-en-veron  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Candes-Saint-Martin  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Montsoreau  – map World > Europe > France > Pays de la Loire > Gennes  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   Our campground in Savigny-en-Veron is closing in two more days. We seem to be just ahead of these campground closures and hope we make it to the end. We do like to have the bathrooms and the power for recharging our electronics if possible. The price of the campgrounds has remained around €10 which is extremely reasonable. The route for the day does not include going to Chinon. That would require the 20 kilometer detour which we did not feel like doing. We have seen some marvelous château’s, castles, abbeys, monasteries, churches and we simply cannot see them all. There will be plenty on the route today on the way to Gennes. We find the bicycle paths in this part of France to be in poor condition. In eastern France, when we entered the country from Switzerland, the bicycle paths were absolutely beautiful. The further west we go, the worse they seem to get. The bicycle paths after leaving our campground in Savigny-en-Veron were bumpy with big potholes and rough. Savigny-en-Veron-Gennes-rough bike path Savigny-en-Veron-Gennes-rough bike path It was 11 km to Candes-St-Martin where we crossed the La Vienne River and rejoined the Loire.     There is a lot to see on this day including the Castle Montsoreau and at least a dozen more châteaus right along the route. The towns are old and seem to...

Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-9-15-14

Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France Sleeping Beauty’s Castle   26 miles (42 km) Total so far: 1,636 miles (2,634 km) Ascent: +597 ft (182 m); Descent: -668 ft (204 m) World > Europe > France > Centre > Savonnieres  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Azay-le-Rideau  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Savigny-en-veron  – map     Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   This is an absolutely beautiful section of riding along the Saone River to the confluence with the Loire and then continuing on to the La Vienne River.   The cycling path is in excellent condition except for about 300 m of cobblestone. Enough to shake all the bolts loose on your bike; it needs to be taken very slowly and patiently. Not particularly our favorite surface by any means, but the rest of the day had a very nice bicycle path and or routes on roads that were well paved.   Most of the day we cycled through small villages.   Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-villages Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-villages Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-villages Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-villages We did not stop at Château Azay-le-Rideau because it required a steep climb. We had tickets instead to Chateau D’Usse or Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. There is only so much time in a day to visit so many points of interest. Château D’Usse was only 1 km off the main route of EV 6. Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle We like it best because it overlooked a large view instead of being hidden in a forest. It had an imposing position on the hill. A grand chapel stood in the woods to the side. Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Savonniers-Savigny-en-Veron-France-D’Usse-Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Also, when you tour inside the Château, they...

Amboise-Savonnieres-France-9-14-14

Amboise-Savonnieres-France Tours: A Big City Indeed   29 miles (47 km) Total so far: 1,610 miles (2,592 km) Ascent: +695 ft  (212 m); Descent: -711 ft (217) World > Europe > France > Centre > Amboise  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Tours  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Savonnieres  – map Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   The route leading out of Amboise, according to the book, is well signed. Yet, we failed to find it and instead followed D751, the main Highway heading west. It was a fine route and there was not too much traffic on it and we stayed alongside the Loire and had a lovely day. It was much faster I’m sure than climbing into the hinterland and up the hills along the Euro Velo 6 route. Amboise-Savonnieres-France-small towns Amboise-Savonnieres-France-small towns Amboise-Savonnieres-France-small towns Amboise-Savonnieres-France-Loire River Tours was a bit of a dilemma. We arrived at the big city and there were signs showing the route out that went right through the middle of the city and out the other side. The problem was, we had to pick up Anne’s medicine at the post office. As always, it’s a dilemma to find specific buildings in a big city. Even though we had located the central post office on the Internet, finding it in real was a little bit more difficult. Tours has many pedestrian streets and winding narrow alleyways. We saw some magnificent buildings as we were searching for the post office. Amboise-Savonnieres-France-Tours Cathedral Amboise-Savonnieres-France-Tours traffic IMG_1452Amboise-Savonnieres-France-Tours Amboise-Savonnieres-France-Tours traffic Still, we knew there was no camping in the area so we had to get out of the city and move along as far as our chosen campsite for the night which was in...

Amboise-Chenonceau-9-13-14

Amboise-Chenonceau Chateau Chenonceau 15 miles (24 km) Total so far: 1,581 miles (2,544 km)   World > Europe > France > Centre > Amboise  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Chenonceaux  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net This was supposed to be a day off. Anne was going to take a bus to visit Chenonceau Castle about 13 km away but the bus tickets were sold out. So both of us decided to cycle there. The route was signed, but perhaps not the most logical as it left Amboise by climbing back up the big hill we came down yesterday. We found a much flatter return route by following our noses! It would be a day without luggage which we thought would be fun and easy. We didn’t realize there would be as many hills as there were to climb on the way there and on the way back. It followed a regular road with a bit of traffic as a bicycle path has not yet been built.Chenonceau is quite fascinating. It is thick with tourists and busloads of people coming in to see the Château. But it is a lovely Château and you do get a tour to see the inside for only €12 which is one of the less expensive Castles that we could visit. The exterior of the chateau:   Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau  The Gardens: Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau The rooms: Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau The kitchen:  Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau  Bedrooms: Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau Amboise-Chenonceau-chateau...

Chaumont-Amboise-France-9-12-14

Chaumont-Amboise-France A Favorite Town 14 miles (23 km) Total so far: 1,566 miles (2,520 km) Ascent: 669 ft  (204 m); Descent: 658 ft (200 m) World > Europe > France > Centre > Chaumont-sur-Loire  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Amboise  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   This is the heart of the Chateau country. We had read about many routes one could ride through the neighboring countryside to see many chateaus. We had decided to do a circular route from a selection called the Pays des Chateaux. We had a small map in the guide book we possessed. But, we could not relate the route to where we were. Our map was too limited. As usual, the tourist offices were closed. With no other map of France, we could not find the route. Such a shame. It seems one must come prepared with all their itineraries as finding maps in the towns has been so difficult. So the day was filled with bicycling along a scenic route. Some of the path was quite rough gravel. This was supposed to be an easy day of only 43 km but the rough surface on the roads in France are so slow that they make a laborious day out of even the flat. There was a climb into the hills onto a very desolate plateau. Chaumont-Amboise-France-high plateau cycling Chaumont-Amboise-France-old towns The arrival to Amboise is very dramatic; the road drops down an extremely steep hill with big potholes and rough surface. One passes by the Château where Leonardo da Vinci lived his last years. And then into the town of Amboise which in our opinion is the nicest town we’ve seen in...

Blois-Chaumont-France-9-11-14

Blois-Chaumont-France Chateau Chaumont   16 miles (27 km) Total so far: 1,552 miles (2,497 km) Ascent: +458 ft (140 m); Descent: -422 ft (129 m) World > Europe > France > Centre > Blois  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Cande-sur-Beuvron  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Chaumont-sur-Loire  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   We rode out of Blois with great views of the city. Blois-Chaumont-France-Blois Blois-Chaumont-France-Blois Blois-Chaumont-France-Blois Blois-Chaumont-France-Blois It’s Sunday. Therefore, the most important thing we have to do is find a market that’s opened this morning because they will all be closed by noon. So from the Blois campground we decided to ride back uphill to Vineuil where we went to the market last night. The market in the city itself was too far away and up to many hills. So it took us about an hour to get to the market, do our shopping and get on our way. The market was jammed with last minute Sunday shoppers. Hard to get used to everything closing down. The route followed the Loire River for a ways and then turned inland towards the Château of Chaumont. We passed through very pretty towns on the way. Blois-Chaumont-France-Blois-cobblestone Blois-Chaumont-France-dedicated bike path Blois-Chaumont-France-country road The inland route goes through several small villages, the prettiest is Cande-Sur-Beuvron. It was a steep climb and very steep descent to the village. After Cande-Sur-Beauvron, a dedicated bike path follows the river through very pretty woods. There are numerous picnic areas. The town of Chaumont is very nice to explore. It sits right on the banks of the Loire The Château requires a €16 entrance fee per person so we just decided not to go in. Unfortunately, you can’t even see...

Beaugency-Blois-France-9-10-14

Beaugency-Blois-France Chateau Chambord   28 miles (45 km) Total so far: 1,535 miles (2,471 km) Ascent: +723 ft  (220 m); Descent: -895 ft (273 m) World > Europe > France > Centre > Beaugency  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Saint-Dye-sur-Loire  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Chambord  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Blois  – map     Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   This is some of the best bicycle path that we have had on the entire trip. We cruised at 15 mph along the smoothest paving along the levy of the Loire River. We rode through medieval towns that look so old it’s amazing anyone could be living in any of the buildings. They were not heavily touristic towns and very small in size. Muides-sur-Loire and St Dye-sur-Loire were particularly fascinating. We took the route towards Chambord. It is one of the classic château’s in the region. They have created a new bicycle path to take you to the château and although some parts of that path were gravel it was really quite an easy ride. The château itself is huge. There are cafés and restaurants in the park nearby with use of the château. You can buy tickets to enter into the château, but we figured it would take at least three hours just to go through the building itself it was so huge. Beaugency-Blois-France-Chateau Chambord Beaugency-Blois-France-Chateau Chambord From Chambord we followed the Highway D33 to Blois. The bicycle path showed numerous sections of gravel and the Highway was right nearby and not very crowded. Arriving on the edge of Blois, we needed to find a market which is a daily task. In Vineuil,, we saw signs for Intermarche, a big market chain we have seen throughout...

Jargeau-Beaugency-France-9-9-14

Jargeau-Beaugency-France Medieval Towns 33 mi (53 km) Total so far: 1,508 miles (2,426 km) Ascent: 504 ft  (154 m); Descent: 804 ft (245 m)   World > Europe > France > Centre > Jargeau  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Meung-sur-Loire  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Beaugency  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net       The scenery and towns are more interesting as we approach Orleans, France. We are at the edge of the magnificent chateaux country of the Loire. The ride from Jargeau to Orleans was about 12 miles of baby smooth pavement. We bucked tradition and even had a tail wind! The flaw was getting around Orleans. The town itself held little interest for us. Much of its historical sections were destroyed by bombing in 1940. The massive cathedral remains standing defiant, but there is much that is modern surrounding it. The approach to Orleans from the East goes through a very lovely area of lakes and parks right alongside the river. There was confusion, however, as to where to go as construction had made things difficult. It took us an hour to go 5 kilometers and get through the other side of the city. EV 6 crosses two bridges, one into and one back out of Orleans. It should have been easier to stay on the south bank and just follow the local roads. After Orleans, the route winds through some very small French towns. There was an absurd hill to climb. We have found quite often that EV 6 will route bicycles out of a short section of traffic on the most absurd pathways. Once that was done with, we had another levee ride on superb surface to Meung Sur...

Gien-Jargeau-France-9-8-14

Gien-Jargeau-France Chateau Country   33 miles (53 km) Total so far: 1,475 miles (2,373 km) Ascent: +950 ft (289 m);  Descent: -1158 ft (353 m) World > Europe > France > Centre > Gien  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Sully-sur-Loire  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Jargeau  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   There are two routes for Euro Velo 6 after you leave Gien. One follows the Loire River and the other goes into the hillside country just south of the Loire. We intended to follow the flat route along the Loire, but the turn was not signed and so we followed the longer route through the hilly countryside. It was a pretty route to St Florent which is an interesting and charming little town. But it took a lot of energy to do that route as opposed to the one along the Loire. The highlight of the day is Sully-sur-Loire. There is a château in the middle of a moat and a lake which is so incredibly picturesque. We took an hour to do a tour of the château and see the interior decorations. The château is a medieval castle, one of few remaining. Although many of the artifacts inside were from the 17th and 18th century. Going on from there was a straightforward ride towards Orléans. There were several sections of very bad gravel that we avoided by staying on the highway instead. It is surprising that these gravel sections even exist on Euro Velo 6. They almost looked as if no one had ever used them. If they want to keep us off the highways, they need to improve these trails. They are overgrown with grass and have rough...

Cosne-Cours-Sur-Loire-Gien-France-9-7-14

Cosne-Cours-Sur-Loire-Gien-France Lots of Variety   34 miles (54 km) Total so far: 1,442 miles (2,321 km) Ascent: 1107 (337 m);  Descent: 1292 ft (394 m) World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Cosne-sur-Loire  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Belleville  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Bonny-sur-Loire  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Briare  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Gien  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   Today we had a large variety of towns to visit, a variety of trails and roads, a variety of scenic value, and some hills which made the day more interesting than in the past where we had been watching the canal go by for days. When we left Cosne Cours, we were on good bicycle paths all the way to Belleville which is where the nuclear plants are. It started out with ordinary scenery and the nuclear plants didn’t add much natural interest, but they were fascinating in that the bicycle path went right around the very perimeter of the nuclear plant. You wouldn’t get within 5 miles of one in America. After the nuclear plant, things began to change and we had quite a bit more variety in the day. The scenery improved but the paving became worse; some of it was gravel. Cosne-Cours-Sur-Loire-Gien-France-small towns Cosne-Cours-Sur-Loire-Gien-France-bike path One of the prettiest parts of the day was going into Bonny-Sur-Loire. It is a charming, tiny little town on a hillside. To get there, you must choose to cross to the right bank instead of following the canal lateral route. We cross the river and went into the town of Bonny and up the hill to the old church. There’s a sign on the old church that says St. Joan of Arc led King Charles troops to...

La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-9-6-14

La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France Charming Towns 22 miles (35 km) Total so far: 1,409 miles (2,267 km) Ascent: 561 ft (171 m);  Descent: 612 ft (186 m) World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > La Charite  – map World > Europe > France > Centre > Sancerre  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Cosne-sur-Loire  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   We are beginning to see the Loire Valley and its more interesting towns. La Charite, like so many French Medieval towns, has a particular charm. The buildings speak of endurance, age, grandeur. They are not elegant in the same way as the Chateaus of the Loire Valley; they are poorly maintained, yet each is a treasure of historical interest. The signed Euro Velo 6 route took us along the Loire River with frequent views of its sand bars and shifting channels. The paving varied from baby smooth to rough chip seal, yet nothing was unpleasant. La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-sharing the road La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-bike path La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-ponies We meandered through a nature park to the town of Sancerre, a hilltop fortification well worth a visit if you have the time and energy. It is a 5 kilometer climb to the town; a gain of about 300 feet. We had hoped there would be some kind of bus service, but none to be found. La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-Sancerre La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-Sancerre castle A planned lunch in the town of Sancerre at the bottom of the hill was thwarted by the outrageous prices…ranging from a Plat du Jour at 15 Euros, to a restaurant meal of 40 Euros! We still have not eaten a French meal in a French restaurant! La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-below Sancerre La Charite-Cosne-Cours-Sur Loire-France-expensive menu Not willing to climb...

Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France-9-5-14

Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France Canal Above a River!   28 miles (45 km) Total so far: 1,387 miles (2,232 km) Ascent: 522 ft (159 m);  Descent: 645 ft (197 m) World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Nevers  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > La Charite  – map     Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net We rode into Nevers in hopes of finding the next map in the route to the Atlantic. Nevers is the halfway point crossing France and our current book stopped here. We were lucky to find a book in English, even though it is a different publication from the Bikeline Maps we had been using. Published by Bike Guide: The Complete Loire A Velo Trail Nevers and Orleans to the Ocean. The tourist office was in the main square next to a magnificent cathedral and palace. Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France–Nevers cathedral Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France–Nevers Palace Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France–Nevers cathedral The bike path that leaves Nevers and heads west towards Orleans is in terrible condition as far as the Pont Du Canal. It is old chip seal that is broken and rough. It follows the Canal La Loire and is very slow going. We labored to keep 8 mph when normally, on a good smooth surface, we could easily sail along at 15 mph. Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France-Canal loire-rough paving Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France-Canal loire-rough paving The canal crosses the Allier River on a bridge. It is truly fascinating, the engineering it took to support water and boats high in the air above a fast moving river. Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France-Canal Loire–over Allier River Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France-Canal Loire–over Allier River Nevers-La Charite Sur Loire-France-Canal Loire–over Allier...

Decize-Nevers-France-9-4-14

Decize-Nevers-France Straight and Flat   24 miles (39 km) Total so far: 1,359 miles (2,186 km) Ascent: 469 ft (143 m); Descent: 508 ft (155 m) World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Decize  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Nevers  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   Although a short day in miles, the beginning of the route from Decize is along a very old bike path on the canal Lateral a La Loire. The pavement is harsh chip seal that requires work to keep up momentum. It is a rather straight route and has little of interest along the way to see. It is a lonely section without amenities.   Nevers is about 3 kilometers off the bike trail to the north and follows and auxiliary canal. Tree roots have grown up under the paving and made serious bumps. We hit too many of them before we took the hint and slowed down. Remember the route as when you leave Nevers, you come back to the Canal La Loire. There is a very popular campsite in Nevers that must be completely full during the high season. It is right on the Loire and has a fine view of the old city across the river. The camp has a Wi-Fi room with tables and chairs and Ethernet chord so you really do get Wi-Fi! There is also a bar that sells some snacks and drinks, but no restaurant. Once again, take your own toilet paper! Decize-Nevers-France-Nevers campground Decize-Nevers-France-Nevers campground   Cross the Loire on the long Nevers bridge and climb a steep hill if you want to go into the town. There is a big cathedral in the...

Diou-Decize-France-9-3-14

Diou-Decize-France Detour Not Particularly Scenic 28 miles (45 km) Total so far: 1,334 miles (2,148 km) Ascent: 583 ft (178 m); Descent: 638 ft (194 m) World > Europe > France > Auvergne > Diou  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Decize  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   Our grocery store that was close yesterday was open this morning so we were able to buy breakfast food before leaving.   After Digoin, EV 6 switches from Canal du Centre to Canal Lateral a La Loire. This canal goes 196 km from Digoin to Briare. We rode along side this canal a short distance before turning off. We are taking a different route from Euro Velo 6 route. The Euro Velo 6 route goes north of the Loire River and travels through the countryside in a very circuitous route. There are a lot of hills to climb and a few towns of interest but we did not want to do a lot of climbing. You do not see the Loire River except at one point. To avoid the hills, we picked up the Highway D 15 all the way straight West to Decize. It’s basically a flat route; the scenery is cows and corn; not our favorite scenic choice. There was very little traffic on the road, but it was slow going because of the chip seal. We did not particularly enjoy the route. Diou-Decize-France-Hwy D-15 Diou-Decize-France-Hwy D-15 Diou-Decize-France-Hwy D-15 Diou-Decize-France-old building   Decize is a lovely town and has a wonderful campsite on the Loire. Instead of blocking the views of the river with hedges and fences which so many sites have done, you can camp right on the river’s edge...

Palinges-Diou-France-9-2-14

Palinges-Diou-France The Loire River   35 miles (56 km) Total so far: 1,306 miles (2,102 km) Ascent: 626 ft (191 m); Descent: 857 ft (261 m) World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Palinges  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Paray-le-Monial  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Digoin  – map World > Europe > France > Auvergne > Diou  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net     We are getting closer to the Loire River. We are beginning to see some of the historical architecture that has made this river valley famous. We stop first in Paray-Le-Monial to photograph the fabulous  Basilique du Sacre Coeur. Today we saw our first château. It was the château Digoine. It’s high on a hill overlooking the canal. It costs €12 per person to go inside the grounds, but we had a fine view of the château just looking inside from the gate. It was rather plain, the very same brownstone that we see in the villages, certainly not fancy. But obviously, some family enjoyed living there in absolute luxury. Palinges-Diou-France-Chateau Digoine Palinges-Diou-France-Chateau Digoine The Euro Velo 6 route follows paved roads through the countryside. Our hosts at the campground in Palinge suggested that we simply follow the road along the canal. This we did; it was flat except for the ramps that require going up and over the locks. The paving was rough chip seal as have been many of the roads here in France. The scenery was quite pleasant and as we progressed it just got better and better. Then, we picked up a very beautiful bicycle path that was right along the canal. The paving was excellent smooth and a lot of fun to ride. Lamoni looks like a very nice town; we were...

St Leger-Sur-Dheune-Palinges-France-9-1-14

St Leger-Sur-Dheune-Palinges-France Lots of Hills 35 miles (56 km) Total so far: 1,271 miles (2,046 km)   World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Saint-Leger-sur-Dheune  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Saint-Julien-sur-Dheune  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Montchanin  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Montceau-les-Mines  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Palinges  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net We had no power to recharge our GPS so we could not record today’s data. The mileage is a guess.We left camp in a hurry this morning because there were no toilets at the campsite and we need to find ourselves a piece of forest.   Problem here is that the Euro Velo route 6 now decides to go through the French countryside rather than follow the canal du centre. That meant some climbs and as the wind was very strong from the Northeast that also meant going against the wind on several occasions.   The route went south and west then north and west and then south again and continued on through some more hills so there was a total of about seven climbs and they were very steep.   We decided instead to take the Highway 974. It was heavy with traffic as we left St. Leger, with trucks, with cars, and there was no shoulder, not even a white line. It was also chip seal instead of nice smooth pavement so it was an arduous ride. We did ride all the way to where we could pick up the canal du centre again on a bicycle path at St. Julien-Sur-Dheune. St Leger-Sur-Dheune-Palinges-France-rough paving St Leger-Sur-Dheune-Palinges-France-nuclear plant Once again, we find no cafés along the route except perhaps in the towns, and no public toilets along the route, nor gas stations, the reliable...

Verdun-St Leger-France-8-31-14

Verdun-St Leger-France Lack of EV 6 Signs finding the Canal du Centre   42 miles (68 km) Total so far: 1,236 miles (1,990 km) Ascent: 1414 ft Descent: 1160 ft World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Verdun-sur-le-Doubs  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Chalon-sur-Saone  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Saint-Leger-sur-Dheune  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net   We left Verdun-Sur-Le-Doubs and followed a torturous route North, West, and South every direction but East. The bike path returned to chip seal and was a rougher surface and not as easy to ride. There were some gravel sections. In some places the route signs were missing and so we took the wrong route in a couple places.   Chalon-Sur-Saone, where we hoped to see some of the sites in the city, proved to be our undoing. When we got to the outskirts of the city, all the signs for Euro Velo 6 disappeared and we got completely lost. We spent two hours asking directions and getting lost and getting on freeways and highways before we finally found the Canal du Centre. The canal goes all the way to Paris. EV 6 uses the canal route to Digoin and connects the Soane River to the Loire River. It’s a good thing Anne spoke some French because we have not met many people who speak any English or are willing to speak English. Still the directions were so complicated to find the Canal du Centre and the signs were obviously confusing that it was a difficult task to achieve. So good luck getting in and out of Chalon-Sur-Saone. When we came to this farm house, we finally saw the Canal du Centre sign.   Once we got...

Dole-Verdun-Sur-Le-Doubs-France-8-30-14

Dole-Verdun-Sur-Le-Doubs-France Riding through History 38 miles (61 km) Total so far: 1,194 miles (1,922 km) Ascent: 866 ft (264 m);  Descent: 1054 ft (321 m) World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Dole  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Saint-Jean-de-Losne  – map World > Europe > France > Bourgogne > Verdun-sur-le-Doubs  – map     Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net     Today we rode along the Doubs River and came to the Soane River. For the rest of the day we rode along the Soane and back to the Doubs and back to the Soane. It was a beautiful ride on beautifully paved bicycle paths. The best part of the day was that we had a strong tail wind. Dole-Verdun-sur-le-Doubs-France-Le Doubs River Dole-Verdun-sur-le-Doubs-France-Soane River The towns along the route were small and looked like so many of the other towns that we have seen already. The stone is a brownstone; the buildings look old and in disrepair but stately and defiant.       Once again, there were no restaurants or cafés along the route until we got to St-Jean-de-Losne. There we stopped at a café for lunch. We stopped for the night at Verdun. Historically it is a place that has been overwhelmed with war and terrible fighting. Now it stands proudly on the banks of the Soane River. Dole-Verdun-sur-le-Doubs-France-Verdun   Today we sit on the edge of the Soane River at a camping place in a peaceful town. There are memorials to those who died defending it from the German advance. There is a lovely campsite in the town of Verdun and there is a wonderful market where we can buy supplies. There is no restaurant or amenities at the campground. Dole-Verdun-sur-le-Doubs-France-Verdun camping Dole-Verdun-sur-le-Doubs-France-Verdun camping-floor...

Ranchot-Dole-France

Ranchot-Dole-France Historic Town 15 miles (24 km) Total so far: 1,156 miles (1,861 km)   World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Ranchot  – map World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Dole  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net We rode a very short distance today, only 15 miles to Dole. We had no supper the night before, no breakfast, and no stores were open because it’s Sunday. This has become a constant dilemma for us; we somehow seem to fail at planning properly for this. So we were pretty hungry when we set off in the morning and had decided not to cycle far, but to find a place to eat and refresh ourselves. We rode along canal Du Rhone Au Rhin and Le Doubs River, through pretty countryside and past old buildings that stood against time. Ranchot-Dole-France-le Doubs River Ranchot-Dole-France-Canal Du Rhone Au Rhin Ranchot-Dole-France-bike path Ranchot-Dole-France-bike path Ranchot-Dole-France-unknown ruins Ranchot-Dole-France-Dole As it happened, it was a 60% day of rain;  we made it to Dole with enough time to see the sites of the old city before the rains hit. Dole is interesting. It has a huge cathedral that looks like it was built 1000 years ago. The town is old and not restored completely and yet has a stature that says I’m still here. Anyway, we went to the campground in Dole and set up quite early in the morning about 11 o’clock. The ground was so wet; it looked like a rain forest in Costa Rica. Sections are closed off for flooding. But we found a high spot on a piece of grass with a picnic table and set up camp. Everything looked closed down. Everything looked like tourists...

Baume Les Dames-Ranchot-France-8-28-14

Baume Les Dames-Ranchot-France Superb Bicycle Paths 45 miles (72 km) Total so far: 1,141 miles (1,837 km) Ascent: 1308 ft (399 m); Descent: 1230 ft (375 m) World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Baume-les-Dames  – map World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Ranchot  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net     Today, we had our dream cycling day. After a cloudy morning, a sunny day, no wind, and mostly level or slightly downhill. The 90% rain did not come. The bicycle path between Baume les Dames and our destination for the day which turned out to be Ranchot was as smooth as butter. We sailed along the bicycle path that followed the Doubs River and the canal. Sometimes the Doubs was on one side of the path and the canal was on the other side of the path. The Doubs is a lovely River. It’s interesting to note, that they have built weirs at all the places where rapids used to be. By doing this, they are able to build a lock along one side of the river for boats to cruise up and down. There are many rapids therefore many such weirs and locks. Baumes Les Dames-Ranchot-France-Le Doubs River Baumes Les Dames-Ranchot-France-Canal Du Rhon Au Rhin Baumes Les Dames-Ranchot-France-Canal Du Rhon Au Rhin This was a cycling day. There are few towns along the route and all must be accessed by leaving the route. But cycling was so much fun; we didn’t want to leave the bike path. The French people have been incredibly friendly. Everyone along the bike path whether they are bicycling or walking their dog or walking with their children says Bonjour. We have seen many cyclists...

Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France-8-27-14

Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France Along the Doubs River 39 miles (63 km) Total so far: 1,096 miles (1,764 km) Ascent: 1185 ft (361 m); Descent: 1345 ft (410 m) World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Montbeliard  – map World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Baume-les-Dames  – map   Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net Today we have a beautiful sunny morning. Tomorrow the forecast is for 90% rain so we will bicycle as far as we can and enjoy this beautiful day. We are still following the Canal Du Rhone Au Rhin. But we have entered a new part of France called Le Doubs which is a very pretty river through hilly countryside. Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France-Canal Du Rhone Au Rhin Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France-Canal Du Rhone Au Rhin Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France–Le Doubs River Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France–Le Doubs River Our first project for the day was to bicycle to the next town and get Anne’s cable fixed. We were lucky there were no hills between our hotel and the bicycle shop as Anne had only one gear. The store was very efficient at fixing the cable and replacing it and the charge was $50. We paid $3 in Albania! They had a lot of innovative bikes including electric, but their stock was mainly racing bikes which is what we see most of here in France. Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France-Montbeliard bike shop Montbeliard-Baume Les Dames-France-Montbeliard bike shop There are two giant hills that we must climb and descend today. The first was easy to bypass by following the highway for 5 kilometers. The second hill, after Clerval, was ridiculously steep both up and down. All the rest of the day we have the beautiful bike path along the...

Mulhouse-Montbeliard-France-8-26-14

Mulhouse-Montbeliard-France A Change in Scenery 36 miles (57 km) Total so far: 1,057 miles (1,702 km) Ascent: 1252 ft (381 m); Descent: 1119 ft (341 m) World > Europe > France > Alsace > Mulhouse  – map World > Europe > France > Alsace > Montreux-Jeune  – map World > Europe > France > Franche-Comte > Montbeliard  – map Route 2,978,920 – powered by www.bikemap.net From Mulhouse, we rode along the Canal Du Rhone Au Rhin. It was a beautifully paved route alongside a canal. The beginning of the route from Mulhouse is uphill. As you progress towards Montreux, the locks get more and more frequent and therefore, the ramps leading up to the top of a lock get steeper and steeper as you progress. We had a strong headwind again today, but the paving was lovely and we didn’t get lost. Mulhouse-Montbeliard-France-canal Du Rhone Au Rhin Mulhouse-Montbeliard-France-canal Du Rhone Au Rhin After Montreux, the canal goes downhill so instead of ascending each ramp to a lock, we descended. Never did figure out the geology of that! Our map did not show any camping until L’isle-Sur-le-Doubs which was 85 kilometers away. At a lunch spot along the canal, the restaurant owner told us there was camping in Montbeliard. It was not marked on our map, but we were hopeful he knew it was there as that was a reasonable distance for us to make. By the time we got to Montbeliard, it was 5 pm, but there was no camping anywhere. It was too late in the day to continue on primarily because Anne’s shifters were giving her problems. Actually, one of the cables had frayed so she was unable to shift gears at all. We were very lucky, after stopping at an intersection for a...

Bad Sackingen-Germany-Mulhouse-France-8-25-14

Bad Sackingen-Germany-Mulhouse-France Took the Train-On to France! World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Bad Sackingen  – map World > Europe > France > Alsace > Mulhouse  – map We cheated! Another heavy rain day when we awoke prompted a train ride through Basel to Mulhouse, France. We did not mind skipping the ride to Basel as industry was becoming more prominent in the towns along the route.We boarded the train on the Swiss side as that allowed us to make a connection to France from the same train terminal in Basel. The Swiss trains are amazing. Speed, comfort, and a bicycle compartment in every car. Roll your bike right onto the train from the platform. No steps to lift up over. The train rides covered about 80 kilometers distance and only took about an hour each. We laughed as the rain continued to pour down on the windows! Our weather research showed Mulhouse was a bit warmer and rain would let up sooner.   When we arrived in Mulhouse, the sun poked out and we had a chance to enjoy this magical town. And change to French language which always takes a youthful mind to do! But, it was business for us. We had to find the Euro Velo map for France, and get a SIM card for the Tablet so we would have internet while in France. We found the map book that went as far as Nevers, France. The SIM card took most of the day. Getting the correct one that can be initiated on the spot took more effort than we thought. We finally went to the provider directly, instead of the electronics store because the provider got all the settings and everything...

Lienheim-Bad Sackingen-Germany-8-24-14

Lienheim-Bad Sackingen-Germany Long, gentle downhills Busy industrial towns and old charming ones 34 miles (54 km) Total so far: 1,022 miles (1,644 km) Ascent: 1372 ft (418 m); Descent: 1595 ft (486 m) World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Lienheim  – map World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Waldshut  – map World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Laufenburg  – map World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Bad Sackingen  – map Route 2,965,678 – powered by www.bikemap.net Today we got our downhill cruise. We stayed on the German side and had all the way to Waldshut excellent bicycle path and a lot of nice downhill with an easy gradient. It’s perhaps not as attractive as the route going through Switzerland, but it sure is fun to cycle. Waldshut was a mess. It is a bigger town with congested traffic. Construction of roads had the bikeways closed and the roads closed and the signs down. It must’ve taken us an hour to work our way through the town and out the other side. There have been a lot of sections with heavy traffic. But for the most part, we’ve had a very nice bike path right next to the main Highway. We are following Euro Velo route 15. Many times there are no 15 signs, just a green bicycle with an arrow pointing in a certain direction. We did have one longer section of gravel, but it was packed and small in size compared to the gravel on the Swiss side the day before. After Waldshut, there’s quite a bit more industry along the route on the German side. Of course we don’t know anything about the Swiss side. The nicest town after that is Laufenburg on both sides of the River. On the Swiss side, it’s an old walled...

Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Leinheim-Germany-8-23-14

Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lienheim-Germany Enough of Switzerland-Back to Germany 27 miles (44 km) Total so far: 988 miles (1,591 km) Ascent: 1616 ft (493 m); Descent: 1834 ft (559 m) World > Europe > Switzerland > Unknown > Schaffhausen  – map World > Europe > Switzerland > Unknown > Eglisau  – map World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Hohentengen  – map World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Lienheim  – map Route 2,965,678 – powered by www.bikemap.net Fantasies of an easy downhill crashed. The route for Euro Velo 6 goes through Switzerland right on the border with Germany along the Rhine River. Why they chose to run the route through Switzerland is anyone’s guess, but it does not suit the character of Euro Velo 6 which is supposed to be the easiest cross Europe route.   The scenery through Switzerland was absolutely delicious. The houses, the gardens, the flowers, the landscaping, the scenic vistas were all superb. But the effort to see them was almost too much for us. At one point we were thinking of getting on the train to Basel as we passed by the train station.   Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lienheim-Germany-pretty towns Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lienheim-Germany-pretty towns Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lienheim-Germany-pretty towns Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lienheim-Germany-pretty towns But going through Switzerland on Euro Velo 6, we climbed and we dropped, and we climbed and we dropped and we climbed. Several sections were course rough gravel that required pushing the bikes. Some of the paved sections required pushing the bikes because they were so steep. It seemed the trails in Switzerland are hiking trails with heavy gravel on them. They are not suitable for touring bikes with luggage. Although of course, we saw a few other touring bikes with luggage riding the same route, we found the gravel sections extremely unpleasant and difficult and a few of the paved sections a bit insane for loaded...

Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland-8-23-14

Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland Switzerland_Steep hills, rough gravel 32 miles (51 km) Total so far: 961 miles (1,547 km) Ascent: 1552 ft (473 m); Descent: 1546 ft (471 m) World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Markelfingen  – map World > Europe > Switzerland > Unknown > Stein am Rhein  – map World > Europe > Switzerland > Unknown > Diessenhofen  – map World > Europe > Switzerland > Unknown > Schaffhausen  – map Route 2,965,678 – powered by www.bikemap.net   Welcome to Switzerland. We left Germany this morning from Lake of Konstanz and rode around the shore into Switzerland. We had no idea when we crossed into Switzerland possibly at Stein am Rhein The EV 6 was well marked and it was quite easy bicycling until after Moos when we encountered quite a few hills. The route was hilly most the day after Moos; some of the hills we had to push because they were too steep. Other cyclists also pushed up these hills. There were quite a few people on electric bikes. Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lake of Konstanz Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lake of Konstanz Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland-Lake of Konstanz-small villages Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland-traditional homes Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland-cafes Markelfingen-Germany- Schaffhausen-Switzerland-electric cars The highlight of the day is Stein am Rhine. It is a beautiful small town with a stone gate entrance at both ends. All of the buildings inside the town were painted with elaborate murals as if looking up at the Sistine Chapel. It was almost too much to take in. The next town was of Diessenhofen had a covered bridge. The covered bridge was like one you might see in northeastern United States. Flowers bedecked the little peepholes. In the background was church and steeples and half timber framed houses. One could cross the bridge and enjoy a tour through the town, but as always, we needed to press on to get a...

Orsingen-Markelfingen-Germany-8-21-14

Orsingen-Markelfingen-Germany The Rhine River 13 mi (22 km) Total so far: 930 miles (1,496 km) Ascent: 638 ft (194 m);  Descent: 827 ft (252 m) World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Orsingen-Nenzingen  – map World > Europe > Germany > Baden-Wurttemberg > Markelfingen  – map Route 2,965,678 – powered by www.bikemap.net It’s a short ride to Lake of Konstanz and the route is not too hilly. We reached Lake of Konstanz. It’s a very large lake and it is a source of the Rhine River. So we have reached our plateau and starting from here, we will be going down river rather than up river. It is a landmark achievement for us. We are exhausted. Although we went a very short distance today, it was more than enough. Our legs are burned out and we are going to take a rest day here and not bicycle at all. We found the campground in Markelfingen on Lake of Konstanz and have a view of the lake right from our tent. It is a big campground park full of motor homes and large tents, but it is very lovely here. Ever since we bought our raincoats, we have not had more than one day of serious rain to ride through. So now we are in this sunshine and the warmth of the lower elevation at the lake. It’s as if we flew magically on a carpet from the North Pole to the tropics. Suddenly we have summer again. We hope it lasts.     8-22-14 We spent a rest day off by taking the commuter train into Konstanz. There were more bicycles in the town that in all the Wal-Mart stores around the world!   From here, we...
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