• Day19

    Illiers Combray to Nogent le Rotrou

    September 8, 2017 in France ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    I have discovered when travelling that it is the unexpected events that are often the most magical. This was true when we reached the little town of Thiron-Gardais and went in search of a place for lunch.

    David decided to ride ahead (as he often does) and we rode after him (about a kilometre behind). None of us had any idea of what was ahead, but we somehow found ourselves outside an obviously ancient church. The garden was overgrown and the walls looked like they were on the verge of collapse. It was just my sort of place.

    We left the bikes and walked around the outside wall, looking for a way to get inside. Once inside, we were fascinated by the antiquity of the place. Ancient wooden pews had obviously been sat on by untold thousands of worshippers over the centuries. Overhead we looked up to see the crumbling timbers that were doing their best to stop the entire roof from collapsing down on us. A rickety ladder led up to the ceiling space, although it looked like it must have been a very long time since anyone would have been game enough to make that journey. You could feel the history in every nook and cranny of the place. It was a delightful, serendipitous discovery that was the highlight of the day's ride.

    We arrived at the town of Nogent le Rotrou and found that the imposing castle was locked and bolted. There was no option but to continue to our hotel.

    Our evening meal was at the L'Alambic Restaurant. This turned out to be too far from our hotel to walk, so we organised a taxi to drive back and forth to ferry us all there. After our less than happy experience at the previous evening's restaurant, this one will be remembered for all the right reasons.

    The food was superb, the waitresses were even choreographed in their movements as they served each course and the young owners were delightful. Everything about the place was amazing. It was easily the best meal of our entire time in France.
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