France
Le Croisic

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12 travelers at this place:

  • Day42

    Final Rest Day in Le Croisic

    October 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    After the continual frenetic activity of the previous few weeks it was a relief to finally know that there would be no riding today. There would also be no need for packing, moving bags, finding hotels, etc. In fact we had lots of time and very little to do with it. It was heaven.

    The breakfast room of our hotel was actually across the the road in the waterfront restaurant where we had dined the night before. You could not imagine a more spectacular place to enjoy your morning baguettes and orange juice. The building is situated right on the edge of the Atlantic and has panoramic windows on the ocean side that offer continually mesmerising view of the ever changing waves crashing outside. It was the sort of place you could spend hours, just watching the ocean.

    Of course, there was one essential task that had to be done. Our bags were bursting with laundry that urgently needed the services of a washing machine. We already knew that there was a coin laundry, only about 1 km away from the hotel. So that's where we headed. The next hour was spent watching the clothes do round and round in the washing machine, then in the dryer. It was nowhere near as exciting as watching the waves, but it was a soothing feeling to know that you would finally have clean clothes once again.

    One incredible feature of this part of the world is the huge tidal range. At low tide the water recedes so far away that you can no longer see it. At the fishing port all the moored boats are left sitting on the sand. It is quite a sight to behold, especially when the tide turns and the water starts russhing back in again. Over the space of 20 minutes I sat and watch the entire scene change before my eyes. Boats that were stuck firm are lifted from the sand and start bobbing away in the water.

    Le Croisic is very clearly a holiday location and, at this time of the year, most of the houses are already locked and shuttered for the winter. It does seem like quite a waste seeing so many magnificent homes being left empty for so many months at a time.

    In the evening we met for the final group dinner of the ride. We had been booked into L"Estacade Restaurant. This is a Michelin restaurant that is rated number 1 out of about 50 in Le Croisic. We discovered that this rating was richly deserved. The food and service was simply superb. It was a magnificent way to end an incredible trip.

    After dinner we had a lengthy walk back to the hotel, but the evening was mild and the wind had dropped. It was a magical feeling, walking back through the narrow streets, lit by subdued sepia lighting. I suspect we were probably all a bit noisier than we should have been, but it really didn't matter much since the place was almost deserted.

    In the morning our group will disperse to places all over Europe. What an unforgettable time we have shared together.
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  • Day41

    Mission Accomplished

    September 30, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Although we had already ridden to the mouth of the Loire at St Brevin, our ride was not yet fully completed. We all know that the Tour de France is not completed until the riders enter Paris and ride around the Champs Elysees. That final day for the Tour de France riders is something of a formality, the maillot jaune has already been effectively won in the final day on the mountains.

    If yesterday was something of our final day in the mountains, then today was our epilogue. While we had achieved our primary aim, we still had to continue our way westwards to the wild Atlantic coast at Le Croisic. It still had the potential to b e another really challenging day, especially as the weather forecast was for more rain and very strong winds from the west. This would not be an ideal way to complete our ride, but we would have to accept whatever was thrown at us.

    You can imagine my relief when I awoke to find that the rain had stopped. So had the wind. That was a very promising development. We donned the cycling gear for the last time and went down to attack the breakfast buffet. The breakfast itself was in keeping with a large casino hotel, so I took maximum advantage of what was on offer. I then gathered the group together for a group photo in front of the hotel.

    Then it was time to begin our final day. The first challenge was to safely get across the huge bridge across the Loire to St Nazaire on the right bank. This bridge was built in the 1970s and was for many years the longest bridge in France and the longest cable suspended bridge in the world. At 3.4 km long, it certainly would take a brave cyclist to try to ride across it, especially as there is no bike lane and the wind at the top would be horrendous.

    We had arranged for a mini bus transfer of ourselves and our bikes to the other side. The only problem was that it could only transfer 7 of us at a time. This meant that the first group would have to wait by the side of the road for 40 minutes, until the others arrived. I did the right thing by volunteering Maggie and I to join this first batch. Another 5 people reluctantly joined us. We took the bus trip and then waited. And waited. I got tired and decided to sit down, unfortunately right in the middle of a puddle of water I had not seen. Result - a wet backside.

    When the group was finally complete, we were glad to see that the wind was still lacking and the rain was absent. It was ideal for riding. Russell and I had also done a little research and found that the route could be "fiddled with" in order to save us quite a few uneccessary km. I call it a stroke of genius and the rest of the peloton seemed to agree.

    Although we had been expecting a flat final day, we did manage to find quite a few moderate sized hill and one big one along the way. It made us happy that we had excised those extra kilometres.

    One surprising feature of the houses in this region were the lovely thatched roofs. They almost made us feel we were cycling in the UK.

    The final major attraction was the impressive medieval walled city of Guerande. Not only is it fully surrounded by a massive stone wall, it even has a moat as well. It looks like it has come straight out of the Dark Ages. We were also somewhat surprised that it was very quiet. Although we had expected it to be full of tourists, the place was almost deserted. Not only was it a Monday, but we arrived right in the middle of the siesta time. Fortunately a couple of the cafes were open, so we were able to get some sustenance before the final leg to Le Croisic.

    After leaving Guerande we immediately found ourselves riding through the famous salt pans of the region. Here salt is harvested from the sea water in a huge array of interconnected shallow ponds. It is quite a spectacle, but it is also highly exposed to the wind. As we drew closer and closer to the coast, the headwind started to blow in our faces as a reminder of what might have been if the weather bureau had been correct.

    With our final destination almost in view there was a feeling of exhileration in the group. The route had been changed since we last rode this section and the revised version gave us a lovely tour of the city before we began the final cruise to the hotel. With the waves crashing on the rocks to our left and the magnificent stately homes on our right, it certainly makes for a memorable sight.

    When I announced that the ride had been completed, everyone dismounted and hugged each other. We had shared so much together and it is an indescribable feeling to have achieved something we had been anticipating for over a year. It was also time to do what we always do at such times - take a group photo.

    We noticed a lady walking towards us and asked if she would take our picture. She entered into the spirit of the occasion with enthusiasm, almost getting run over as she stood in the middle of the road. She also told us that we had arrived just in time for the next king tide. It would be there in just a couple of hours. How is that for perfect planning ?

    All we needed now was a hotel to stay in. We had previously stayed in the nearby Les Nids Hotel, but is was now closed and boarded up. The replacement hotel was Les Vikings and I have to admit that it looked absolutely dreadful from the outside. Large pieces were missing from the facade, the paint was peeling, it looked derelict. I was more than a little worried. It would not be a great way to finish such an epic ride if we had to spend the last two nights in a dump.

    Our fears dispersed as soon as we entered the front door. Apparently we are the final guests to be housed here before the full restoration takes place. As soon as we leave the place will be closed so that the builders can start. We were thrilled to find that, not only were our rooms huge, clean and modern, but they all faced the ocean. We ran back and forth from room to room in a silly game of "you show me yours and I'll show you mine". I knew that I had a very happy peloton.

    That evening we had dinner in the oceanfront "Restaurant de L'Ocean". You could not get any closer to the water than this place and we looked through the panoramic windows at the setting sun and the huge waves crashing against the rocks below us. It was a night to remember.

    Yvonne Parsons had spent some time collating statistics of our ride along the Loire. This is what she calculated. Total time in the saddle - 57 hours. Distance ridden 812 km per person. The total vertical distance climbed was over 4,000 metres. Of course this does not include the riding we had already done in Provence. I could also add another very important statistic - Number of punctures ZERO. It truly had been an epic ride in every sense of the word.

    We now have a free day in Le Croisic, before we all begin to make our own ways back to Australia.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Le Croisic, Ar Groazig, کرواسیک, Crociciacum, Кроазик, Ле-Круазік, 勒克鲁瓦西克

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