With a little extra sleep and a homemade breakfast in our tummies, we headed out for an unhurried day of châteaux-ing. My plan was to spend an easy 39 km in our saddles, stopping wherever our wheels fancied. It took Superman a little time to adjust to this plan, as an American, he likes to set a goal, and go, go, go.
When I suggested we stop a mere 10 km into the ride in the charming village of Savonnières, he was less than enthusiastic. That’s when I decided that our motto of the day (the trip?) would be: “What would the French girls do?” Obviously we stopped…although not for a coffee, and looked around. And so the day unfolded with numerous stops and a slow meander through the stunning gardens of Villandry.
We meandered so slowly, that we almost missed lunch, which set Superman’s heart aflutter and resulted in a surprising stop at l’Etape Gourmande. From then, we were goners, and the day became all about lunch. From lunch it was all downhill to Azay-le-Rideau, an attractive town with a handsome boutique hotel, but disappointingly, the château itself is under extensive renovation. While it looked like this on our first visit years ago: It looks like this today, and will, until 2017. My advice: Château de l’Islette, A-l-R’s little sister, and just 3 km away… We ended our day with a final 20 km ride and picnic on the riverbank of a picturesque hamlet called Bréhémont.
Yesterdays we followed the ‘pays des châteaux’ cycling tracks from Blois to Chaumont-sur-Loire where the impressive château oversees the happenings of the tiny village, then continued on to Amboise and visited her marvelous majestic château, then crossed through the uniform vineyards of Montiouis, and 78 km later, arrived in Tours just in the nick-of-time to get Kitcat on her train back to Paris, and we hoped on to London. (Mais malheureusement, the Chunnel was closed due to a strike, so it appears she is stuck in Paris for the day…although there are certainly worst places one could be marooned.)
In any case, the day was filled with blue skies, beautiful scenery, tranquil moments, unexpected hills, friendly packs of cyclists, and a wonderfully warm reception from our delightful host at la Maison aux couleurs—who smiled and laughed with us, despite our rusty, basic French.
The highlights for me were:
- cycling with my free-wheeling, happy daughter who is always up for a challenge and even a few steep hills,
- a lunch of crêpes and cidre,
- a quick mother-daughter stroll through the château Royal d’Amboise,
- a golden, thirst quenching beer in Tours,
- a surprise meeting with Amy L. from Paris,
- and watching the late afternoon sun light up the vineyards and sparkle on the water.
And now after eating too much ‘vrai’ pain perdu loving whipped up by our host, we are off to Azay le Rideau in the Indre Valley via Villandry.
Bye for now…à tout à l’heure!