Day 2 began with some cycling decision-making as to what route we would take to our major stop for the day, the Chateau at Chaumont-sur-Loire. We decided to take the longer route as indicated by the map on the right below. It was a beautiful day to be cycling through the wheat fields and vineyards of France and our first stop for a breather was in the lovely village of Autreche. Our ‘Cycling’ information sheet told us that there is “Wildlife Park in the grounds of the Chateau de Beaumarchais where a little train takes you through the reserve to see the animals roaming free. There are bison, wild boar, stags, deer and their fawns, as well as ostriches.” We had a quick look at the village Church (St Martins) and then rode through the centre of the village where the flowers climbed the walls of the houses and escaped through the fences.
The ride to the village of Mesland was quite the eye-opener for us. As Australians, we are familiar with the symbol of the red-poppy that people wear in remembrance of the loss of lives on the Western Front during World War 1. Unfortunately, in Australia, these poppies are generally made from paper. Here we were in the Loire valley riding past fields of the real flowers.
Mesland itself we decided had to be one of the most beautiful villages we passed through on our ride. We stopped in the centre of town and checked out how the locals slowed the pace of water flowing through their town with a series of ‘locks’. It was a town that clearly valued their architecture and the landscape that was an impressive background to their daily lives.
Our next stop was Chaumont sur Loire but before we arrived at the chateau, we made the first major map-reading mistake of our trip. Instead of continuing on over the two rivers ahead of us, we turned left after Mesland and rode east along the River Cisse with a lovely wind at our backs. After a couple of kilometres we realised the Chateau wasn’t appearing as we expected. Investigating the map again, we decided we needed to turn around and head back the way we came. The problem now was that we were riding against the wind and we were an exhausted couple by the time we found the road across the two rivers and reached our destination. We just had to stop along the way at the edge of one of the many vineyards in the area and take the photos below of the robotic grape pickers and the gorgeous spirit of the grape-vines.
Our report on our visit to the Chateau at Chaumont Sue Loire can be found here.
The ride from Chaumont to the village of Cande sur Beauvron was one of our most delightful rides of this trip. We started out along the Loire river before we turned right and rode alongside the banks of the River Beauvron. The image on the left below gives and indication of the quality of the scenery as we approached Cande sur Beauvron. The bridge is in the distance in this picture and the image on the right shows what we found on our arrival… an ancient stone bridge covered in flowers.
We spent some time resting in this village of around 1000 citizens, soaking in the ambience, before it was time for the last leg of our ride to Chitenay. It was a 10Km ride to our overnight stay so were fairly tired by the time we passed the Notre Dame Church on the right and found our hotel, the ‘Auberge du Centre’ in Rue de Selommes in Chitenay.