Jurassic wake-up and Château sleep

Jurassic wake up and Chateau sleep

Very pretty!” said Gandalf. […] “I am look­ing for someone to share an adven­ture that I am arran­ging, and it’s very dif­fi­cult to find anyone!”

I should think so – in these parts! We are plain quite folk and have no use for adven­tures. Nasty dis­turb­ing uncom­fort­able things! Make you late for din­ner! I can­’t think what any­body sees in them.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

So, dear read­er, why have I decided to start this post with an English-authored quote about an adven­ture? Of course I have also been pushed into a trip by a ven­er­able bearded man (have you ever looked at a photo of Nelson?), I share the same fond­ness as Mr. Baggins for punc­tu­al din­ners, and the spe­cial rela­tion­ship between British and Loire people is suf­fi­ciently well known (just think about Jeanne d’Arc and Anne de Bretagne), but the reas­on is simply the city where we decided to begin our bike trip: Nantes, the birth­place of Jules Verne (also of Fouché, but let’s be more peace­ful pour l’instant).

There, with no few­er extra­vag­ant machines than those devised by Verne (from the air­plane which ini­tially refused to carry our bikes to bio­mech­an­ic­al anim­als like the cous­in of Aragog dis­played below), we began our odys­sey in the his­tor­ic­al French har­bour. The city and the first 120 km were crossed fast and effi­ciently by our dear bikes, with the minor incon­veni­ence of a loose handle­bar and the great joy of meet­ing our first host, the mar­vel­lous Giulia.

Aragog in Nantes
Aragog Spider in Nantes

The second step of the jour­ney, Angers, and the third one, Saumur, were sim­il­arly straight­for­ward and very enjoy­able. We had extremely nice hosts – Fréd et sa famille, and Adèle -, won­der­ful wine and cheese, cute little castles, and of course the lovely tender yells of ser­geant Nelson order­ing me to go faster and faster (the inter­ested read­er may see below the outcome).

Dead Jorge

However, the most spe­cial day was without any doubt yes­ter­day. Everything seemed so bucol­ic and pla­cid (just ima­gine a French ver­sion of the open­ing of Lynch’s Blue Velvet, but without the heart stroke and the severed ear… well maybe it’s bet­ter without any­thing), and we only had to do 50 km from Saumur to Tours passing by Azay-le-Rideau. Nevertheless, the queen of bike routes – Eurovelo no. 6 – was tak­ing a small detour, so why not to try good old region­al French roads? So there were we, misled by Google maps into a not so old, not so region­al, but def­in­itely very French high­way with cars driv­ing at more than 100 km/h. And then? Well, we fol­lowed our Rousseaunian con­vic­tions to lost our­self in a nice Jurassic forest in the middle of nowhere, then we fol­lowed some lum­ber­jacks“ “intim­ate and nat­ur­al” tiny roads, vis­ited Azay-le-Rideau… And voilà! We ended up our day being hos­ted in a beau­ti­ful 13th-cen­tury Loire château with one entire wing of the palace for ourselves, and with a full exquis­ite din­ner hav­ing been pre­pared for us (you can see below the out­side of our mod­est livingroom.

Saumur castle loire
Saumur pan­or­ama from the Loire
A modest livingroom
A mod­est livingroom

However, today it’s July 14th, the price of crêpes keeps rising, les grands sei­gneurs des châteaux de la Loire receive too much money from us – poor peas­ant cyc­lists – in the form of tithe (sorry, tick­ets), and one sans-(bike)-culotte (Nelson) and one avec-culotte (me) have to reach Paris to storm the Bastille, so… On se revoit sur le prochain post!

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