Eguzon to Le Blanc: Out of the hills into the rain - Its the Berrys! - CycleBlaze

June 3, 2014

Eguzon to Le Blanc: Out of the hills into the rain

Anyplace Claude Monet painted is destined to become a tourist attraction. Thousands flock to see his garden in Giverny each summer, event thought the paintings he made there are mostly elsewhere, notably in Paris. Crozant is one of his spots, too and it is a beautiful place. Monet painted the ruins of the old chateau, as did many others both before and after the visit of the master. As with most places of note here in France, the ruins themselves are the result of many centuries of occupation, war and rebuilding. The original Roman fort gave way to a Visigothic castle, which was replaced by a succession of edifices until Cardinal Richelieu ordered it all destroyed during the wars of religion. The ruins sit below the town on a rocky spur overlooking the Creuse. The town itself was in full market day mode when I arrived, but he stalls offered little for the touring cyclist. A little store purveying everything from tobacco products to ice cream was open, and I went inside to get some snacks for the road. The owner must have been there since at least liberation, and at her urging I ended up with a tin of pate de foie, something I really didn't want, but she was so charming I couldn't resist. She still hasn't gotten used to the Euro coinage, so making change was a challenge for her. I could see her doing the mental arithmetic to convert Euros to francs, and then into "old francs" the money of her youth. She asked the usual questions, but without waiting for the answer, so to her I am on my way to Spain, or at least Toulouse.

The road onward was one,of those that gives you five seconds of downhill for every ten minutes of climb. It was very fatiguing. I stopped for lunch in Saint Benoit du Sault ( pronounce "so" not the American "soo"). St Benoit is a medieval town, and unlike many such towns still full of commerce. The only drawback is that there seems to be a colony of English expats living there, and I passed by a cafe with a lot of them discussing the "friendly natives" and how many words in French they had learned. Luckily for me, the restaurant next store served up a good lunch, beef stew sort of main course, with salad as an entree and cheese for dessert. It was run by a woman who worked alone, and the clientele kept her jumping. She kindly directed me out of town, and I left before the post- lunchtime rush could begin. The roads flattened out, and it really began to pick up,speed, watching the Berrichon countryside roll past. More chateaux and cows, of course, but the weather took a turn for the worse. I stopped in Ciron for a drink, yes, Perrier menthe again, and didn't notice that it had begun to rain until I emerged from the cafe. I decided that I needed to find some shelter for the night, as it didn't look like it would let up, and after a fruitless detour to a hotel that was closed, I made my way to Le Blanc, where I stopped at the first hotel I came upon. It will be an early evening, as I am bushed.

Monet liked this view.
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The neighbor's house in St. Benoit
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Today's ride: 99 km (61 miles)
Total: 254 km (158 miles)

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