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

Jun 23, 2013 - Sunday at Le Mans

After another night sleeping in earplugs we were up early to get back to the circuit. We stopped at the Pommery Champagne tent and ended up consuming a couple of bottles while listening to the commentary on Radio Le Mans. We walked around some more of the circuit before heading back to the grandstands to watch the finish of the race. We finished the day with a BBQ back at the 'hotel' and got packed up for our big day driving south tomorrow.

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Jun 22, 2013 - Saturday at Le Mans

After a bad nights sleep we were ready for the start of the race. After another bacon buttie and coffee to get us going, we made our way back into the circuit early on to watch the classic race as well as the Ferrari Challenge race with 458 race cars. After that it was back to the room for a little nap before heading out to watch the start of the race. It goes without saying that the tragic events of the Aston crash in the first 10 minutes of the race took the edge off the race and brought home the dangers of motorsport. As night drew on we...

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Jun 21, 2013 - Friday at Le Mans

After a good night's sleep we refreshed ourselves with a bacon buttie before heading to the circuit. Friday is a rest day for the drivers, so all of the activity was with stationary cars. The pit lane was open and we had a good walk down the full length watching the mechanics working on the cars. They had also put on a display of various winning cars from previous years, and it was great to see the Mazda 787 from 1991 - the last time I had been to Le Mans with my Father. We then headed into Le Mans on the tram to see the Drivers parade. Ash...

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Jun 20, 2013 - Arrived at Le Mans

The big day arrived! We headed out on convoy to the motorway and down to the Channel Tunnel. As expected there was a large contingent of UK cars heading down to Le Mans, most of which had been 'stickered' up, with some very interesting driver names... We tool a little detour to find a place for lunch that had been recommended, but when we arrived it was closed, so an orangina and pastry in the local town had to suffice. When we arrived at Le Mans the traffic was backed up a few miles out of the circuit, which generated the novel game of...

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Aug 30, 2012 - Saumur, Chinon and Azry le Rideau

This morning we spent a bit of time working out what we wanted to do, so we decided to go for a drive upstream, and do some chateau spotting. When we went downstairs, Frederik mentioned that we should take the highway to Saumur and then return via the river, as it was a prettier drive. So, we picked out a couple of places to go see, and then grabbed the GPS and set out on our way. The highway (tollway) got us again, but it wasn't quite as expensive as I'd thought. We paid 2euros to go about 70km, and got off near the exit for Azry le...

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Jul 15, 2012 - Au Revoir

For the last blog of the trip we present Lessons Learned over the last 15 days: • Cycle with your mouth shut – unless you like eating bugs • If there are two rooms with an ocean view, and one with a dumpster view, the single guy isn’t getting the ocean view… • When you come to a complete stop, make sure your bike shoes are unclipped. • When it starts to rain, the number one priority is keeping your pastry dry. • Don’t pass by a patisserie without at least looking in the window • You can’t find bad wine in France • There is an 80% chance...

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Tour de 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

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