Arrondissement de Cholet

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13 travelers at this place

  • Day37

    Our River is Changing

    September 26, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    One of the fascinating aspects of completing an extended cycling trip along a river, is watching the way the river evolves as you follow it towards its inevitable exit into the ocean. When we began our ride along the Loire at Nevers, the river was small and interrupted by numerous rapids.

    Over the past three weeks we have not only watched the river grow in size, but also been able to see the dramatic changes in the geography and architecture of the places we rode through. We will never forget the succession of magnificent chateaux between Orleans and Tours, but that is not where the story ends.

    This morning we made our way out of the bustling centre of Angers and were relieved when we finally resumed cycling along the quiet riverside bike paths once again. Although the weather has been cool and overcast, it never actually started to rain. For most of the day I was able to ride in shortsleeves.

    We had been expecting a gentle ride of about 40 km, without any hills. The 40 km was about right, but the absence of hills was a myth. I can assure you that there are hills between Angers and Montjean Sur Loire and we rode up every one of them.

    The final few km were along La Queue de L'Ile, a large island in the middle of the Loire River. The group rode along at a good pace, meaning that we arrived at the hotel in Montjean Sur Loire earlier than expected. I guess that is a result of the increased fitness earned after 4 weeks of almost daily cycling.

    Montjean is a tiny hamlet situated on the banks of the Loire. It was a huge contrast to the hussle and bussle of Angers, although it was also quite sad to see how low the Loire was at this point. When we were last here, the Loire was a majestic sight with its waters extending from bank to bank. This year the river is reduced to maybe a third of its normal flow. It is no wonder that the boats are finding it very difficult to navigate the greatly reduced waters.

    One thing is certain - no one will be kept awake by crowd noise tonight.
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  • Day38

    A Glorious Ride to Champtoceaux

    September 27, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We began our current French adventure five weeks ago, at the end of a long hot European summer. Our first week in Caumont Sur Durance gave us an idea of what the locals had been suffering throughout the previous several months. When our cycling began in Avignon, we could see that the lack of rain had caused the countryside to become parched and brown. Of course the lack of rain, while no good for the locals, had actually made our cycling much easier.

    We then transferred to Nevers to begin our ride along the Loire. Although the temperature was markedly cooler, we enjoyed an unbroken sequence of sunny and dry days. Of course nothing can ever halt the inevitable progression of the seasons and the telltale signs of autumn are now appearing all around us. The trees are starting to change colour to the delightful yellows and browns of autumn, and the bike paths are beginning to be carpeted with fallen leaves. This is a particularly beautiful time to be cycling in Europe, where the seasonal transition from summer to autumn seems to take place in front of your eyes.

    The local weather bureau had warned that today was going to be cool and rainy. During the night I could hear the sound of rain falling on the roof of our hotel. It was looking like our run of fine riding was about to come to a dramatic end. You can therefore imagine our relief when we emerged after breakfast to find that the rain had stopped and most of the clouds had blown away. It actually looked like a lovely day for riding.

    The first few km of the day's ride took us along an elevated road that obviously served as a levee bank in much wetter times. However, in the middle of the current drought, the water of the Loire was too far away for us to even see it. With the low, early morning sun shining through the broken clouds, the lighting was absolutely amazing. I thought it was pretty enough to be an oil painting. It was a slight pity about the head wind, but sometimes you can't have everything. It certainly was a good time to be enjoying life.

    Maggie and I had remembered a fantastic boulangerie in Saint Florent Le Vieil, and we were thrilled to discover that it was still there. The riders stocked up on baguette sandwiches and cakes for a picnic lunch. We also remembered that there was a good TABAC just around the corner - an ideal place for coffee.

    In an uncanny example of perfect timing, the rain started just as we entered the TABAC. It gave us an ideal opportunity to spend a while chatting and drinking coffee, while the rain fell outside. Although the cakes had been intended for lunch, some of the team could wait no longer and decided that there was no time like the present.

    By the time we were finished our coffee, the rain had also stopped and we were able to resume our ride with dry clothes. That made for a very happy peloton.

    About 45 minutes later we were able to stop by the Loire for our picnic lunch. Baguettes were unpacked and eaten while we watched the water flow past nearby. A local resident poked their head out the window and shouted "Bon appeitit" to us. Another magic moment.

    The remainder of the ride took us through some absolutely beautiful shady paths. Cycling does not get any better than this. We even saw a few squirrels scurrying across the road. Unfortunately one of the little creatures was not fast enough to make it across the road and was killed by a passing car. It was the only bad part of a lovely day on the bikes.

    Champtoceaux is a small town, located on an elevated position above the Loire. This meant that, in order to reach our hotel, we had first to pedal up a substantial hill. It was amazing to see how the fitness of our riders had now improved so much that all were able to reach the top without too much difficulty.

    After checking into the hotel we were able to walk to a nearby lookout to gain a magnificent scenic view of the Loire Valley. We now have only three days of cycling remaining. I wonder if our luck with the weather will continue ?
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  • Day30

    La Pommeraye

    June 12 in France ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Avec la pluie nous délaissons les bivouacs pour les campings... Celui-ci est à la ferme avec plein d'animaux, et aussi une belle salle pour que les cyclos mangent au sec! (et également une piscine mais bon...)Read more

  • Day21

    Nantes to Montjean sur Loire. 69 km

    September 25, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    A bit of everything for our first day on the Loire. A hopeful start with a nice pathway right beside the mighty River as we cycled out of Nantes. pleut 🌧️. We took refuge under trees 🌳 a couple of times to wait for the lighter rain. But the worst was the path . Narrow, muddy, bumpy, below the train tracks. Grit in my brakes and gears...not happy about that. I jumped each time the train whistle blew thinking I was in the way 🤤.

    After that we enjoyed lunch at a restaurant that was in the right place at the right time. So after the worst bit of riding yet, we had the best value beer and lunch. There you all works out.

    Much better riding in the afternoon. Especially an idyllic piece along a back channel. The Loire itself is pretty brown looking. Think the best is yet to come.

    Stayed in a small town - Montjean Sur Loire. Very small. Church, grocery store and not a lot else. Booked a chambres-hotes thru that turned out to be at the very top of the town. Once we made it up up up (pushing our bikes of course!) it's a very cool old manor with super views. Actually written up in the guide books with a history of being a castle then a monastery back in the day.

    69 km today despite the rain delays, so will sleep well.
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  • Day255

    En maine et loire

    February 1, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    Nous avons trouvé inextrémiste ce petit coin pour passer la nuit, il est 15h30 quand nous stoppons.
    Le lieu n'est pas extraordinaire, mais il à quand même le mérite d'exister. Bien entendu il n'y à aucune commodité mais nous n'allons pas nous plaindre...Read more

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Arrondissement de Cholet

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