Archive for the ‘Chartres’ Tag

Chartres to Orleans – a good day’s ride   2 comments

[This is post #4 of my recollections of a cycle tour through the Loire Valley and Normandy in France. The story starts here)

It was a morning in mid-May a few years ago, that we loaded up our bikes to begin day 2 of our ride from Paris to the Loire Valley, this day from Chartres to Orleans. We didn’t hit the road until after we had stopped off for breakfast at a local boulangerie. It would be pretty typical for me to start the day with a croissant and perhaps a pain au chocolat (and quite likely pick up a baguette for the road – to be snacked on, with a big bar of dark chocolate).

A Flat Tire in the French Countryside

The riding this day was very much a continuation of  the riding from the day before – quiet, flat country roads. The weather to was again very comfortable – warm without being hot and sunny with a bit of cloud (particularly building in the afternoon).

On these peaceful roads there was not much in the way of hazards or debris but of course flat tires sometimes just happen. This is what happened on this day – Frank was the unlucky one.

Fortunately we were well equipped with spares and patches so while I snuck into the field to get a photo, the others took care of business and got us back on the road.

A Rest Stop on the Road to Orleans

The rest of the day’s ride was uneventful – just a beautiful ride in the french countryside. After arriving in Orleans that afternoon,we set up at a local campground then set out to centre ville for dinner.

At dinner, I recall I made a classic faux pas. It seemed like a steak and french fries would be  a good dinner choice – satisfying and one which I could easily understand on the French menu: Steak Tartare et Frites. I did not know what Steak Tartare was. I would normally have a steak cooked “well done”. Well, needless to say I had a bit of a shock when they brought the dish out. Thankfully Chuck, who had the best french of our group, explained the situation and they took it back and cooked it for me.

Also while in the centre of Orleans we came across a local cycling race. That of course meant some more photo opportunities before we headed back to camp. Our anticipation was high because the next day we would be starting what we had came there for – to cycle down the Loire Valley and see the historic chateaus.

Cycle Race in Orleans

Orleans Racers

Posted May 15, 2011 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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Paris to Chartres   1 comment

[This is my 3rd installment of my memoir of  my first cycle tour in France. This ride with 3 friends was focused on the Loire Valley and Normandy]

It was early on a Sunday morning in May that the four of us left our small hotel on Boulevard de Magenta and cycled out way out of Paris. We were headed south and our route took us down streets we wouldn’t have dreamed of cycling upon during most times of the day and week. We rolled down the Rue de Rivoli and even went part of the way around Place de la Concorde. Beyond that our route out of Paris is a blur. I do recall there were short stretches of cobblestone streets that we had to ride and that it was a very rough an challenging ride with fully loaded bikes.

Before long we were out of Paris, into the countryside and some smaller villages. We came upon this boulangerie in one of those village and the scene just screamed “FRANCE” to me:

Sunday Morning in France

– a crowd lined up outside the local bakery, a guy on a bike and older gentleman in a beret – cliches perhaps but wow, I felt like I was in the right place!

The exact route we took that day from Paris to Chartres is lost to me but I know it was something like 80K of cycling and virtually all on small, flat departmental roads. The weather was great, the riding was easy – what a great start.

Between Paris and Chartres

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of photos from this first cycling day in France. I guess I was just too blown away by the beauty and the magic of actually being there. Another factor might have been that since this was in the era before digital photography, every press of the shutter was precious and I was probably subconsciously saving my film for the chateaus of the Loire .

My Apollo in the Grass

The destination for the day was the town of  Chartres. The Chartres Cathedral is a marvel of 12th Century gothic architecture. We spent what was left of our afternoon exploring this structure and taking lots of photos.

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral detail

Chartres Cathedral Tower

The next day we would continue our ride south, to Orleans, the start of the prime destination of our tour – the Loire Valley.

Posted May 11, 2011 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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