Arrondissement d’Orléans

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  • Day24

    The Chateaux are Starting

    September 13, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    The crash I suffered yesterday had obviously done something horrible to my left knee. All night whenever I rolled over in bed I was awakened by the pain involved in having to relocate my leg to somethingf approaching a comfortable position. I started to have serious worries about how I would cope with the cycling over the next few days. The problem with this type of trip is that there is no "Plan B" - each day it is our responsibility to get ourselves and our bikes to the next hotel. On the other hand I have discovered that you never really discover what you are capable of until you are put to the test.

    The day began promising enough. A glance at the sky showed that we would be in for another absolutely cloudless day. It is incredible that we have not seen a drop of rain since we arrived in France over three weeks ago. One of the locals explained it like this "We need rain, but we don't want it". A typically French attitude.

    The town of Briare is an absolutely picture perfect treasure. No town has a right to be this beautiful. It makes it impossible to travel more than a few metres without stopping to take a picture. Russell had been chosen as our ride leader for the day, a task he took to with enthusiasm. It was not really his fault that he managed to lead us into a dead end within 5 minutes of leaving the hotel. These sorts of things can happen to even professional cycling guides.

    The undoubted early highlight was the Pont Canal. This ornate iron structure carries the water of the Canal Lateral de la Loire over the top of the Loire itself. For a long time it was the longest such elevated canal bridge in the world, but it has now been exceeded by the new canal bridge in Magdeburg, Germany.

    As we made our way across the pont bridge, my main concern was to avoid falling in the stagnant waters. I was having great difficulty in starting and stopping and had to evolve a completely new (and absolutely unsightly) method for getting my damaged body onto the bike. To my relief I did discover that, once I was underway, I could pedal without too much discomfort.

    Once we found our way out of the town, Russell caught the wind in what was left of his hair and raced ahead. That guy is a real pocket rocket when he decides to be and he was obviously relishing his new job at the front of the peloton. I was also relishing my new role somewhere at the back of the group. It was good to be able to just follow the rider ahead without worrying where we had to go.

    The next amazing sight was the huge medieval city of Gien. Although we did not cross the wide arched bridge to enter the city itself, the view from the opposite bank of the Loire was superb. We also found it to be an ideal place to stop for coffee (actually two, as it was so good). Gordon also found it an ideal place to stage his own crash. Apparently he had been so captivated by the view on the opposite bank, that he missed seeing the curb and performed a slow motion pirouette into the bitumen. A few minutes later, the women had managed to bandage his bleeding elbow and make him look like a cycling leper.

    We then found ourselves riding within clear view of another massive nuclear station. This one had not two, but four huge cooling towers, three of which were belching clouds of white steam into the air.

    Russell somehow managed to find a lovely spot for our picnic lunches, complete with seats and a water view. After lunch we completed the ride along a lovely sealed bike path on an elevated levee bank.

    Our destination for the day was the town of Sully Sur Loire, dominated by the huge Chateau de Sully Sur Loire. It was our first taste of a genuine castle and a great foretaste for the large numbers of such building swe will see over the next week or so.

    After checking into the very comfortable Hotel Burgevin, we had plenty of time to explore the local area and have a closer look at the Chateau. My knee had survived its first real test and I was hoping that things would improve from now on.

    Our evening meal was at the stangely named Aux P'tits Oignons restaurant. It was a tiny place, run by a French couple. He did all the cooking and she did all the serving. Neither of them spoke a single word of English, but the food was sensational. On the way home we walked the silent streets of Sully under a brilliant full moon, It might have been Friday the 13th, but we felt like the luckiest people on the planet.
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  • Day27

    What a Difference Sunshine Makes

    September 16, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    All those who took part in our 2015 ride from Orleans to Le Croisic will never forget the first day on the bikes as we rode out of Orleans. It has been indelibly etched on our memories as one of the coldest, wettest and darkest days we have ever spent on our bikes.

    On that occasion the rain fell continuously from the moment we left the Oceania Hotel in Orleans, the temperature never left single digits and the punctures came in regular bursts (pardon the pun). It was a indeed a bleak day.

    Forur years later to the day, the conditions could not have been more different. The sunshine was unbroken for the entire day (actually it has been unbroken for the entire time we have been in France). The temperature hovered in the mid twenties and as for punctures ? We don't know what punctures are any more - these bikes are unbreakable. All of these factors made for a very enjoyable (and relatively short) ride.

    Our first challenge was to get out of Orleans. I had made the foolish decision to allow the women some shopping time before we got on the bikes. Since most of the shops had been shut yesterday, they were showing definite signs of shopping deprivation. I gave them definite instructions that they would need to be back to start the ride by 10 am. That must have gone straight over their heads as they started to slowly (but happily) drift (or is it doidle ?) back with their bulging bags of treasures.

    As least the women were happy, but their husbands almost certainly won't be when they get the credit card statements. Sometime around 10.30 we were finally ready to leave the city. Maggie had said that she knew a good way to reach the bike path, so I handed her control of the peloton. To my surprise, her route actually worked and we were soon all safely back on the Loire a Velo bike path.

    As we made our way along the bike path it felt good to be back on somewhat familiar territory. I had ridden this part twice before - in 2013 and 2015. It felt even better to be able to enjoy it in perfect conditions. The kilometres quickly slipped by. The riders happily chatted together as they rode along. After our rest day in Orleans it actually felt good to be back on the bikes and resuming our ride along the Loire.

    I guess the only somewhat sad note to the ride is the low level of the water in the river. It is painfully obvious that the lack of rain has severely reduced the flow of water and the usually majestic Loire River is only a much reduced version of its normal self.

    Since we had a short ride, our plan had been to stop in Meung Sur Loire for morning tea and then continue to Beaugency for a late lunch. The only problem was then we arrived in Meung, most of the shops were closed for Monday. (Yes Monday is a bit like a second Sunday here). We searched for coffee in vain. Just as we were about to give up, we were spied by an elderly lady who asked in very broken English what we were looking for. Apparently she had not spoken English since she had been in school, but she did reasonably well.

    When she realised that we were looking for coffee, she explained that she knew a place. We were instructed to follow her. So off we went.

    "It's about 100 metres", she explained. (That was a lie). We went up and down hills, through narrow alleyways, around roundabouts, etc, etc. We looked at each other, wondering just where she was taking us, I just hoped that she wasn't the famous poisoning Frenchwoman who was leading us all back to her house.

    "You will have to forgive me, I am very old" , she explained. I thought that she must be at least 90 or so to be making such slow progress, but she went on to add "Yes I am 71 years old ". Crikey at that rate she would have been one of the youngest in the Ghostriders. We shuffled on and on. I was just glad that Maggie and I had both updated our wills before this trip started.

    Just when we were all about to give up, she finally led us around a blind corner and VOILA, there was a cafe. Although we were told that they had no milk at first, all came good in the end and we were able to enjoy our cappucinos after all. Crisis averted and another wonderful insight into the French psyche. It will be recorded in our memories as one of the highlights of the ride.

    Our home for this evening is the L'Ecu de Bretagne" Hotel. It is the same place I had stayed in twice previously, although it was the first time I had the doubtful privelege of having a room on the top floor. With no lifts in the place, scoring a top floor room is like being allocated a poison chalice. After dragging our suitcases up the narrow winding staircase I felt like the mythical Sisyphus who was condemned to spend all eternity rolling a massive stone to the top of a huge hill, only to see it roll down to the bottom again every night.

    In the evening we all shared what will surely become the most memorable dinner of the trip. The restaurant had set up a huge outdoor table for us in the central part of the town. We watched the sky change colour from blue to pink to purple as we ate and chatted together. The food was amazing, buit it was the location that was pure magic.
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  • Day25

    In the City of St Jeanne d'Arc

    September 14, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Ever since we first arrived in France, over three weeks ago, one of the main topics of conversation has been the lack of rain . Paris has had no rain for almost a month and large areas of the country are suffering water restrictions. In a country where floods are far more common than droughts, this has created some degree of anxiety among the locals.

    The lack of rain might not be so good for the people of France, but it has certainly made our cycling easier. We have not had a single wet day, and it is looking like there will be no rain for at least the next week. This is a huge contrast to the last time that the Ghostriders were in this region, back in 2015.

    On that ride we endured one of the toughest days in the saddle that the Ghostriders have ever suffered. The rain started before we rode out of our hotel in Orleans and continued unabated for the entire day. The temperature was in the single digits, meaning that we were all in danger of severe hypothermia. I remember that David Yate's face and hands had turned an interesting shade of blue and we all began to wonder whether he would actually survive the day.

    The most memorable event occured when we were gathered in an open cornfield, trying to repair one of the many punctures that were also part of that incredible day. We heard a noise coming towards us like the sound of a hundred speeding locomotives. It was a most dramatic squall that was cutting its way through the field and heading straight for us. We were already as wet as we could possibly be and about as cold as a mountain climber on the summit of Everest, but the approaching storm filled us with dread.

    Riders huddled together, trying to find protection from the sleet and freezing wind, as the storm front roared right over our heads. It was something we will never forget. When we arrived at our hotel, we all sought any means possible to restore some warmth to our bodies - sit in the bathtub, stand under the shower, cuddle the radiator, etc, etc.

    It is clearly obvious as we ride alongside the, greatly reduced, Loire River, that we are are in no imminent danger of saturation or frostbite on this ride. The fields are much browner than usual and each day the sun shines from a cloudless sky. Any form of rain seems a very remote possibility.

    Yesterday we rode from our overnight stay at Sully to arrive at the major city of Orleans. Although it was long ride, the favourable weather conditions made it not as tiring as it should have been . The day was also notable for the fact that I made the bold decision to put the leadership duties in the hands of two women - Sam and Kay. I would have to say that they actually did a great job, and we found that we got lost no more frequently than we did when a man was leading.

    Carol and Maggie took on the role of "tail end Charlies" and seemed to spend most of the ride laughing together and taking pictures. They did observe that Vicki was the best behaved rider when riding in heavy traffic. She was awarded a special "safe rider" award at the evening meal.

    Orleans is a large city of around 400,000 people. It is most famous for being the home of the famous Joan of Arc. Nowadays her name and image is everywhere throughout the city. This is where we will also have our first rest day during our Loire Ride. I have well learned how p[opular and vital these rest days are to restore morale and energy during extended rides.

    In the evening we dined at the L'Ardoise Restaurant. We had been allocated an upstairs room, presumably to stop us disturbing the other diners. Our waitress was a lively young lady who was wearing a very short skirt which amply revealed a pair of very long shapely legs. The men folk all began wishing they were fifty or so years younger. That was until we heard the way she regularly yelled strings of obscenities at her hidden husband in the kitchen. She also spent the entire evening running up and down the long narrow staircase, carrying dishes to our 16 diners and also to the 30 or so downstairs patrons as well. It was a herculean effort in anyone's language.

    Dining in France is always something of a theatrical experience. You cannot apply the same assessment criteria that you would in Australia. Sometimes it is best to just relax and learn to live by their rules and customs. After all, that is why we came to this country in the first place. The food itself was superb, but it was the entertaining performance of the waitress that we will all remember, long after the trip is over.
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  • Day26

    Enjoying our Day of Rest in Orleans

    September 15, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Even in a large cosmopolitan city like Orleans, Sundays are quite different from every other day of the week. We have become so accustomed to shops being open 7 days a week, that there is something refreshing about a country that still has enough self belief to put family life ahead of non stop commerce.

    Our rest day in Orleans happened to coincide with the traditional "day of rest" in France. As we walked the streets near our hotel, we found them almost deserted. Most of the shops were shut and shuttered. It even looked like the huge articulated trams that had been passing back and forth every few minutes on the previous day, had also stopped running. In fact we did not see a single tram all day.

    Fortunately the coin laundry was open and we made good use of its facilities to catch up on all our laundry backlog. This is always a very important survival skill when you are undertaking an extended bike ride. We returned to our hotel with our laundry bags full fo freshly laundered clothes and a feeling of relief that we would be able to cope for the next few days at least.

    We did not have any ambitious plans for the remainder of our time in this city. While some choose to frantically rush hither and fro, looking at every major historical site, we are not that type of tourist. I even avoid those well known "hop on, hop off" bus services, as I really hate being crammed together with a crowd of people, all wearing those dreadful headphones. I would much rather spend my time wandering the place to get my own feeling for the city.

    The most obvious thing we found was that the entire city was in the process of getting ready for a Festival of the Loire, due to start in three day's time. Along the river a long line of marquis were being erected. Banners were hung along all the main streets and the spectacular floral displays looked to be in full bloom. It was a bit of a shame that we would not be here for the festivities, but we have a schedule to keep downriver.

    Although I had been here twice previously, on those occasions we did not have any spare time at all. Today we were able to walk the central part of the town and make our own discoveries. Unfortunately the hot sun also meant that it soon became uncomfortably hot for exploring and so we returned to the relative comfort of our hotel room. It was there we discovered that somehow a mistake had been made in the room reservations. Although we all staying here for two nights, a change in the hotel management had somehow changed the booking to one night only. This could have been a disaster, but fortunately they had enough spare capacity to make sure that no one had to spend the second night in the bike garage.

    Tomorrow we resume our cycling along the Loire as we ride to the nearby city of Beaugency.
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  • Day2


    August 26, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Trotz 8 Stunden Schlaf kamen wir nur mühsam aus dem Bett und suchten uns zuerst einen Supermarkt, um etwas fürs Frühstück zu holen. Gut gesättigt ging es zuerst in die Cathedrale Sainte-Croix, dem Herzstück Orléans. Schon seit 330 n.Chr. steht dort eine Kirche, welche in den kommenden Jahrhunderten durch zahlreiche Anbauten und Einstürze, Plünderungen und Brände bis zur Kathedrale wuchs, um im 11. Jahrhundert als neuer Sitz vom Bistum ernannt zu werden. 1278 wurde der jetzige Bau im gotischen Stil neu begonnen, da viele Teile der alten Kirche eingestürzt waren. Der Bau zog sich bis ins 14. Jahrhundert und überlebte den Hundertjährigen Krieg sowie die Belagerung Orleans (1429) unbeschadet.
    Wobei wir direkt beim nächsten Thema sind: Jeanne d'Arc! Die Jungfrau von Orléans ist überall in der Stadt präsent. Eine große Reiterstatue bildet den zentralen Punkt des großen Place du Martroi, das Museum Maison de Jeanne d'Arc zieht die Blicke auf sich, zahlreiche Schulen und Straßen zieren ihren Namen. Während des Krieges verhalf sie den Truppen des französichen Thronerbens bei Orléans zum Sieg (sie war ungefähr 17 Jahre jung) und geleitete schließlich Karl VII. Von Frankreich zu seiner Krönung. Die Schlacht um Orléans wird als Wendepunkt des langen Krieges gesehen. Jeanne d'Arc wurde 1430 im Krieg gefangen genommen, an die Engländer ausgeliefert und am 30. Mai 1431 in Rouen auf dem Scheiterhaufen verbrannt.

    Zurück zu uns. Da uns die Hitze (34 Grad) und die von der Fahrt geräderten Körper zu schaffen machten, stoppten wir bei unserem Stadtspaziergang erst in einem Café und später mit Baguette an der Loire. Gegen 15 Uhr ging es zurück in die Unterkunft für ein verlängertes Päuschen. Da wir uns für ein kleines Picknick im Park entschieden hatten, ging es um 6 leicht verspätet zum Parc Pasteur mit Oliven und Cidre für eine kleine Stärkung. Anschließend deckten wir uns im Supermarkt für den Abend ein, kochten und schauten uns den Film Johanna von Orléans an, um den Tag und unseren Besuch hier abzurunden.
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  • Day1


    August 25, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Gestern machten wir uns bereit gegen Mittag auf den Weg Richtung Frankreich. Erster Zwischenstopp war Herrenberg. Dort übernachteten wir bei Sandra und Phillipp, um nicht den weiten Weg an einem Tag fahren zu müssen. Gegen 18 Uhr kamen wir an und nachdem wir Bennett etwas bespaßt hatten, gab es danach ein super leckeres 3-Gänge Menü mit Kürbissuppe, Lachs und Gemüse al forno und Himbeer-Cheesecake. 😍 Während des Essens hatten wir viel Spaß mit dem Google Translater und lernten viele wichtige Sätze auf französisch. Am nächsten morgen gab es ein fabelhaftes Frühstück. Danach ging es gegen halb 11 auf nach Frankreich. Es lagen 700km vor uns und da wir uns gegen die teuren Mautstraßen entschieden hatten, 8 Stunden Fahrt. Nach etwa 2 Stunden überquerten wir die deutsch-französische Grenze am Rhein. Mit dem Fahren wechselten wir uns ab, aber zum Ende hin wollten wir einfach nur noch ankommen. Gegen 19 Uhr waren wir endlich in Orléans und bezogen unsere kleine schnucklige Wohnung direkt in der Altstadt. Wir schlenderten noch an der Kathedrale vorbei und durch die kleinen Gässchen, gönnten uns ein Bier und einen Happen zu essen und fielen danach erschöpft ins Bett.Read more

  • Day34

    In der Nähe von Orléons

    January 10 in France ⋅ ☁️ 7 °C

    In großen Schritten nach Hause, heute ging es bis Orleans, bzw. wir stehen an einem Weingut in der Nähe von Orleans.

    Wieder Früh los und hinter Bordeaux sind wir auf die N10 um noch bei Lerisson Gourmand, dem Walnusshof von unserer Hintour, vorbei zu fahren.

    Als wir ankamen hing ein Schild in der Tür: Aujour’hui fermé. Wir wollten schon wieder fahren, da Sahen wir die Besitzer wegfahren.
    Die sahen uns und hielten an, nach kurzem hallo und erklären das wir noch was einkaufen wollten, hat uns die Bäuerin ihren Laden aufgeschlossen und wir konnten noch was einkaufen. Glück gehabt.

    Die N 10 kann man super fahren und in Poitiers kommt man wieder auf die Autobahn, weiter über Tours und dann Blois.

    In Msung sur Loire noch kurz unser Abendessen (3 verschiedene Fische) eingekauft und gelandet sind wir bei „Javoy et Files“, einem kleinen Weingut. Zum Abendessen gab es natürlich den Wein von hier.
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  • Day24

    A Message from the Portland Ghostriders

    September 13, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    I have previously mentioned that, when we were on the L'Estello barge in Provence, we were joined by three American riders from Portland Oregon. Although we teased them mercilessly, it was actually great fun to have them share the ride with us. Their good humour meant that they could easily fit in with the silliness that was a feature of every day's ride and every evening meal.

    One of the Portland ladies has sent me the following account which I am happy to include in our blog.

    "A noisy group -especially when playing PIG! They said they could hear us on the other boat! When I first met the Ghost Riders, I wondered how the week would go, but I felt welcome from the start, and I even became an honorary member. I learned many new words, like “chevis” and “as useful as a one-ended stick.” Dennis made sure I learned about Australia, but luckily he forgot about the promised “test at the end.” I can’t believe there have been over 42 Ghost Rider trips and hope your trip through the Loire Valley is as wonderful as it sounds!!

    Let me know if you would consider coming to Oregon for an official trip -we have bike tours through the gorge that are spectacular, mid-summer are our Cycle Oregon weekends, and mid-September is our legendary, week-long Cycle Oregon; I would love to host a visit for you to the new Oregon Chapter! I had so much fun with all of you, and I have many found memories and pictures. I hope to ride with you again -let me know if there’s an opening for your Cuba trip! I wish you all the best and hope to come to Melbourne someday and ride with you again!!

    Until we meet again-Mira Vowels, honorary Ghost Rider"

    Thank you Mira, it was our pleasure to share those few days with you and your fellow Americans. Who knows, maybe one day we will be able to take you up on your offer of riding in your part of the world.
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  • Day5

    Wasserschloss Sully sur Loire

    June 28, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Challenge: welches Schloss wünsch ich mir denn nun zu meinem Geburtstag? Als ich nur Sully zur Auswahl hatte, war alles noch sooooo einfach.

    Wir haben wenige hundert Meter entfernt auf einem kostenlosen Stellplatz übernachtet, der sogar Wasser und Abwasser-sowie Müllentsorgung bot. Die Loire in Sichtweite und nur drei Picknickschritte entfernt. (Heike)Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Arrondissement d’Orléans, Arrondissement d'Orleans

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