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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Pays de la Loire, France

Jul 14, 2012 - Last Day of Cycling!

St. Brevin to Le Croisic The morning began with a cab ride across a 4 km long suspension bridge connecting St. Brevin les Pins with St. Nazaire. The cab was pre-arranged – the winds are ferocious and the tour operator thought it safer for cyclists to cross in a car. Even with the taxi ride, it was a 65 km cycle today. The patisserie stop du jour was at St. Andre des Eaux – one of the best bakeries of the entire trip. Shortly after noon we arrived in Guerande, which has an enormous walled “castle”, giving the centre of town a very medieval...

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Tour de France

Jul 13, 2012 - Colder and Wetter

Nantes to St. Brevin It was a long, cold, wet 70 km ride today. We remained dry for the first couple of hours, but it started raining shortly thereafter and never stopped. After negotiating the streets and trails to exit Nantes we eventually found our way to the small town of Coueron – home of a very old and tall lighthouse, and a house that sits in the middle of the of the river (apparently a work of art). We then travelled along the Loire until the road came to a dead end at Le Pellerin, where we took another “bac” (ferry). But this time...

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Tour de France

Jul 12, 2012 - Cold and Wet

An easy and short 35 km trek today – although it would have been a lot nicer if it wasn’t raining for most of it!!! Almost the entire trail was through an agricultural area bordering the Loire, including a humongous farm that was growing vegetables (mostly onions it seemed) and grape seedlings. Arrived in Nantes around 11:30. It’s a large city – about 800,000 in the metropolitan area. Even before we got off our bikes, the proprietor of our hotel came outside to greet us and show us where to park the bikes. He then brought us inside to dry...

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Tour de France

Jul 11, 2012 - A Leisurely Pace

A very easy, leisurely 42 km ride today. Knowing we had only a short distance to go, we slept in for an extra half hour, had a leisurely breakfast, and then cycled at a bit of a slower pace than our norm. We picked up our lunch and pastries in St. Florent Le Viele, and then cycled through a very agricultural area – mostly cattle and corn. Very few grapes or sunflowers. It was very picturesque, and except for a 20 minute shower the weather was a bit better than it has been in the last few days. We came across a beautiful chapel in Notre Dame...

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Tour de France

Jul 10, 2012 - A Day Without Chateaus

A fairly uneventful 43 km ride today. Weather continues to be cool and breezy, but no rain. We spent almost the entire day following the Loire. Al is riding a new bike – they swapped his old one with broken cranks the evening before. (Al claims the cranks were worn out due to the incredible torque he was applying) We encountered our first “level two” hill – and almost all of us ended up walking our bikes near the end. (Al claims he didn’t.) Highlight of the day was the large market in Chalonnes – 100+ vendors spread out over about 8...

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Tour de France

Jul 9, 2012 - Bac across le Authion

A longer than usual pedal today – 64 km. Enjoyed reasonably good weather (cool and dry) and a well marked route. Drove past a beautiful lake in the middle of the forest, and then a gorgeous park. Our pastry break du jour was in Le Thoureil. (Yesterday we learned a Tour de France cyclist normally consumes 9,000 calories a day, and we are working hard to do the same….) We biked past several fields of flowers, which we assume are grown commercially for florists – marigolds, sweet peas, lavender. Gorgeous! As we approached Angers we noticed...

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Tour de France

Jul 8, 2012 - In Saumur

It was foreboding dark skies for most of the day, but nary a drop during our “fast” 42 km trek. Sunday must be a big market day in this part of France. They were setting up a market in the square when we left and we encountered two or three more during our bike. The biggest was at Montsoreau – in addition to the 20 or so stands selling wine, cheese, bread, fruits and vegetables, there must have been 150 additional tables hawking “antiques”. Enjoyed having at quick look at the “antiques” and will be sending a note to the producers of...

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Tour de France

Jun 30, 2012 - HELPX, Hardanges, France

We arrived at the Train Staion in Evron to be picked up by our english host Jackie. This HELPX is in the region of Mayenne which is just below Normandy. We have our own gite which is attached to the main house. The little farmlet is about 6 acres and was rundown when they bought it 20 years ago. They have since renovated the house and gite beautifully but rustically, and re-roofed the huge barn. We don’t have a TV or washing machine and the sewage system is reed ponds so our toilet paper has to be burned not flushed…..takes some getting...

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Europe 2012

Jun 11, 2012 - Puy du Fou

Hi readers, North west in the Loire valley is Les Epesses, very close to Puy du Fou -a historical fun park. (you can see the shows online to see what it is like, but my advice? Go there!) We stayed in a 2 bedroom cabin. Our first night we had tea, meat that I didn't like, and watched the Euro cup match against the Rose and the Cock (England vs France) on the TV. It was a draw. The next day we went to Puy du Fou, (I have a brochure). We saw Gladiators, Vikings, Musketeers, birds of prey and Knights jousting with Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc)....

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Jun 7, 2012 - France - Nantes & Loire Valley

22nd May- 23 rd 2012 (Bed No 35) We arrived at in Nantes too early to check into our accommodation so we headed into the centre of town for a quick look around and to get all the information from the Tourist Information office ready for the next 2 days activities. The Isle of Nantes is 5 km long, 1 km wide and is surrounded by stretches of the Loire river. For the past 10 years there has been a significant changing landscape under a major urban project in Nantes. Once used for cattle grazing, then an industrial heartland of soap factories,...

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Jun 4, 2012 - Saumur

Today we went for a drive along the Loire River, this is quite a pretty drive and much of the road is on top of the levee that has been built to protect the low lying towns from flooding of the Loire. Some parts of these levees are hundreds of years old and some parts have only been completed in recent years. There are plenty of places to stop along the river and there is a bike path most of the way. We ended up at a place called Saumur, a small historical town and site of a dramatically situated château on top of a hill overlooking the...

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2012 Driving Europe

Jun 3, 2012 - St Sylvain d'Anjou

Market day today. Sunday is the day for the secondhand sales, so after packing up we first headed to Givrand for a brocante (boot sale). This was a fairly small but friendly affair. I had told Vicki she may have to bargain but the first thing she asked the price for was 20 cents! Ok, no need to bargain here. After here we headed to Challans to a "vide grenier". When we had been at the tourist office asking about second hand sales, the girl had pointed up and said what sounded like headache sale - actually it was attic sale. Vide grenier...

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2012 Driving Europe

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