A Day in Poitiers - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2024

A Day in Poitiers

A few chores

Poitiers is a town of about 90,000 people, and it is not a place I had ever known about. I learned it’s an old historical town, with evidence of humans from before the Roman occupation. Eleanor of Aquitaine was married to Henry II in Poitiers Cathedral in 1152.  The inquest of Joan of Arc occurred here in 1429. It was besieged during the War of Religion in 1569 and the besiegers surrounded the town from the heights across from the town and bombarded it from there for seven weeks. The siege was eventually lifted but the town was destroyed.

Last night we checked in during the afternoon at the Mercure Hotel, which is lodged in an old remodeled abbey. The woman at the front desk had us put our bikes in a conference room so the 4 bikes had a room of their own.

The street on which rests our hotel. Les Archives was where would have dinner the following evening and the entrance to the hotel Mercure is where you see the red signage in the distance.
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A very pleasant room.
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2nd floor lounge area.
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 We had kind of a rough couple of hours after that. Dave was ready to hop in the shower - no tub, sadly- when he couldn’t find his personal toiletries kit. This of course resulted in one of those 10 minute periods where we tear all our luggage apart searching for it - to no avail. We then spent the next 20 minutes pondering where he might have left it: at the last hotel, Le Puits Doré, or when he stopped at lunch and searched for something in his pannier, or when he opened his pannier down in the meeting room to dig for the bike chargers……(if it had been the last one,  no worries, but no, it wasn’t in the meeting room).

 We finally decided it had to have been at the last hotel and I was digging out the phone number to call the hotel when he pauses to say, what’s in there that he can’t live without? The awesome thing: we have a habit of putting our electronics and medications in our small day pack so if we need to leave our bikes we can carry our day packs.  We figure that if worse comes to worse and someone rifles through our panniers the only thing in there is clothes and more replaceable items. In this case, Dave had followed “protocol” and his medications were in the day pack. So, all that was gone was his toothbrush, paste, hairbrush, kind of stuff, etc. We decided we could manage to replace those losses with our free day in Poitiers.  Feeling better about this development, Dave went down to get a beer, only to be told that, “Oui Monsier, you can buy a beer …..and the bar opens at 7 pm (two hours from now).” Ahh, we love the French, they are so customer oriented!

Up to this point every hotel at which we have stayed could rustle up a beer whenever we arrived, usually late in the afternoon, so this rather odd circumstance came as a surprise. Dave chose to walk down to the nearest Carrefour Express, not unlike a fancier 7-11. There he found a cold case over which was a neon sign declaring, "Biere", only the case was completely filled with bottled water. There wasn't a cold beer to be found. He settled on a €5 chilled bottle of what turned out to be a very respectable rosé,- and we shared it with Eric and Melinda before dinner.

The four of us walked to Oh Le Bistro and had a great meal. Our hostess had been in LA and San Francisco last year; she said she loved it but couldn’t believe how expensive fine dining was there. After having spent the last month in France, we agree with her; comparatively speaking, France is a very good value for travelers and especially given the superiority of the food preparation. 

Today I spent a good chunk of the day catching up on the journal, being pretty far behind; I sat on the mezzanine floor writing and enjoying the arches in this old hotel. Dave went off to do laundry which went off without a hitch.  Eric and Melinda went out to explore the town.

 Later in the afternoon I plotted a walk with google’s help, and we went by the Palais de Justice, the Belvedere (viewpoint) from where the town was besieged in 1569, and a number of churches. Poitiers is an old college town with the University of Poitiers being founded here in 1431 (it now has 29,000 students) and it has a clear student vibe. We liked it. We even stumbled upon a Monoprix and successfully replaced a  few misplaced items without too much pain. Dave even managed the self checkout.

We got our steps in with this walk around town.
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Looking for a good shot.
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And here's what I chose to take.
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The view from the Belvedere
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Self checkout.
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We're on the road again tomorrow.

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Allyson KruegerDave, your photos are terrific! Gosh, France is so gorgeous. We will definitely be going back in 2025. The Loire route you are doing with your friends is a bit tempting as it looks like a good intro to cycle touring. Enjoy!
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