Gien - Cosne-s-Loire: I could have danced all night - Starting at the End of the World - CycleBlaze

July 1, 2010

Gien - Cosne-s-Loire: I could have danced all night

I wake up early, earlier than the others, and use the extra time to take advanatage of our wifi connection in the cafe-bar of the campground. When I come back to the tent, Janos has bad news. It looks like his rear tire is threadbare and he must find a replacement. The four of us set out for breakfast in Gien and then a visit to the Gien Earthenware Museum as well as a search for a tire for Janos.

Looking for breakfast
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We have no trouble finding a tire that fits the Bike Friday and can soon join Ineke and Jaap at the faiencerie museum and shop. It's great fun roaming through the shop and imagining the lifestyle owning this expensive and beautiful earthenware would imply.

In front of the faiencerie museum, shop and factory
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The shop and showroom have many beautiful examples of the Gien earthenware.
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We stop at the supermarket for some bread, cheese and fruit for our picnic and are on the road around noon.

Now there are two baguettes.
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Looking back across the Loire to Gien
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We follow the D951 on the south side of the Loire to St. Firmin, the beginning of an exceptional bit of the bike path. Here the Briare canal crosses the Loire on the Briare aqueduct. The canal itself is one of the oldest in France, completed in 1642. The Briare aqueduct was built over the Loire in Briare between 1890 and 1896 to make a connection with the Canal latéral à la Loire.

We cross the Loire on the canal bridge and follow a lovely, shady path along a narrow side canal to Chatillon. Altogether the roads today are a treat. In Bellville we might have called it a day and turned in at the campground there if it hadn't been for the uninviting nuclear plant that loomed not too far off. The last kilometers on the D751 are hot and I'm exhausted when we reach the campground.

The canal-bridge of Briare
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The bridge over the Loire at Briare was designed by Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower.
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Taking a break from the heat
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Pretty path, but not always a good surface
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We find one restaurant in Cosne and hardly a free table as the attraction across the street has drawn a substantial audience. On the sidewalk, Kevin Texas Band is playing music reminiscent of zydeco and they're not bad. We finish our meal and are almost on our bikes but pause a moment longer, captured by the infectious rhythms.

I thought we were tired. Ineke is the first to start dancing but soon Jaap, Janos and I are out there, too. I don't know how much of the sole of my cycling sandals rubbed off on Cosne's asphalt, but we danced way into the night.

Music across the street from our restaurant
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They couldn't resist.
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Nor could I
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Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 1,136 km (705 miles)

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