Archive for the ‘Orleans’ Tag

Cycling the Loire Valley – Chaumont and Amboise   Leave a comment

[This is part 5 of my story of my first bicycle tour in France. Click here to see the previous post]

Our Camp in Orleans

This May day was the start of the prime reason we had come to cycle in France – to see the famed Chateaus of the Loire Valley. There are many monumental building through this valley and our goal was to visit two or three each day as we cycled 80 to 100 Km.

Bridge Across the Loire

From our campsite in Orleans, we packed up our tents, loaded our panniers and hit the road. There is a main highway that runs along the North side of the Loire River but we chose to cycle the smaller, quieter roads on  the south side for the most part. while most of the sites were on the Loire  itself we did visit one chateau on the Cher, a tributary of the Loire.

The first stop was a couple of hours ride from Orleans at Chaumont-sur-Loire, with it’s cylindrical fairy-tale turrets.

Chaumont-sur-Loire

As we were to discover, the attraction of the chateau is not only their magnificent architecture, and inspiring  gardens but most allow visitor to see the interiors with historical artifacts.

Window from the interior of Chaumont

Back on the bikes and another hour or a so down the valley, we turned a corner to see an imposing structure:

First view of Chateau d'Amboise

We toured the inside of this the Chateau d’Amboise, which interestingly enough is the site of the tomb of Leonardo de Vinci.

Inside the Chateau d'Amboise

There was a great view of the town of Amboise and surrounding countryside from the top of this chateau.

View from Chateau d'Amboise

We camped this night right in Amboise  at a campground right on the Loire river. It was the most amazing setting I have ever camped in. Our tents were set up facing the magnificent castle which was lit up at night. Although not a great photo, this one shows what I saw as I laid in my sleeping bag to go to sleep.

Chateau d'Amboise - View from the Tent

The view not withstanding (and the inability to keep my eyes open while sleeping), sleep was needed because we’d had one good day of cycling and there would be more road to ride and more chateau to visit the next morning.

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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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