Monday 24th July, Saumur, 55 km
More pretty Loire Valley countryside, and small towns and villages. Again, nothing spectacular but a nice gentle feel to it all. We stopped at a church, Église Saint-Aubin. The high stone ceiling and arches were similar to those of Église Saint-Symphorean that we’d seen the previous day.
Later, in the afternoon, we had a quick look at a village church. It was mainly an excuse to rest legs and get out of the chilly wind for a while. This church, to me, had a more oppressive feel to it. Without the soaring architecture, the message was a bit lost on me.
The Loire is still wide, tree-lined with expanses of exposed, and traditional black fishing boats moored along the banks.
Following the wrong sign, we ended up on the wrong (north) side of the river. The map showed a route along single- and double-track paths to our destination for the day. It was fun, more interesting than the tarmac we had been riding on.
Tuesday 25th July, Saumur, 9 km
A day in town, touring a wine cellar and visiting Saumur Chateau. The wine, all sparkling, was not to my taste. And sparkling red is definitely a concept I’m not ready for.
A million bottles a year! And all of it fizzy :(
(Too be fair, it was only Grenelle Winery’s caverns in town that we toured, and that was all sparkling. Their regular wines were at another location.)
Wednesday 26th July, Beaumont-en-Veron, 30.6 km
It started to rain before we packed up the tent so it went in the bag wet. Despite the rest day in Saumur, I seemed to have leaden legs. Slow progress despite easy trails.
In the late afternoon, having just passed a potential campground, we stopped for a 4:00 pm lunch – intending to push on to Ussé where there was camping and a chateau to look at. But I happened to check on nearby hotels and found that we were only a few km from a very appealing hotel that was reasonably priced. It looked even better in the real than it did on bookings.com. Beautiful building, beautiful setting, beautiful room, spotlessly clean, good bike storage that would allow us to dry out the tent… Dinner was superb, washed down with a bottle of local rosé. Life is good.
Thursday 27th July, Beaumont-en-Veron, 15.1 km
‘Rest’ day, an easy decision. The forecast predicted rain, we were in a beautiful hotel, and we could do a day trip to Chinon to look at the chateau and the town. A great day. We’d stay at the hotel for another day if they weren’t full for the weekend…