Tours to Azay-le-Rideau - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

June 8, 2024

Tours to Azay-le-Rideau

And We Are Off: first day of touring with friends

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Dave here:  Our morning in Tours got off to a somewhat disturbing start. I got a phone call from our neighbor in Bend at 6:30am, a highly unusual occurrence to say the least. It turns out that our wonderful neighbor Keith was concerned about our trees as Bend was going through a bit of hot spell. It was 9:30pm in the previous evening for him and he had decided he'd water the trees for us. Unfortunately as he finished and turned off the water, the faucet pulled out from the outside wall and water was gushing into our back yard. He tried turning off the valves to our sprinkling system, but that didn't affect the faucet he had been using. So, in desperation, he called me. 

We talked a bit about the options and decided that maybe that particular faucet's water source was controlled by our indoor water line. I thought I had turned the inside water off when we left for our trip, but we figured that it was still worth a shot. So I gave him the code to our garage and he said that the water hadn't been turned off, so he did so and thankfully that stopped the water to the outside faucet. He tried but was unable to fix the faucet and I told him to let it go as it was late for him and that I would find a plumber on the following Monday. He turned the water back on to the sprinklers and was really relieved that the potential crisis had been averted. "No good deed goes unpunished," he remarked ruefully! Having vigilant and caring neighbors is a real benefit when traveling abroad, especially when you're away for any length of time. 

Now back to Jill's narrative:

I had planned a short day of riding along the Loire, because it would be Eric and Melinda’s first day of touring, and also because I had sketched out a couple of chateaus to visit if we were so inclined. We took off around 10:30 am and it was a beautiful sunny day and we hoped the weather had finally changed for the better. Dave and I have not had much luck in that regard and it was wonderful to plan the day without the discussion about what to wear.  

The team, ready to roll out on our inaugural ride.
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We had a bit of an urban trek out of Tours but it was fun anyway because it was a Saturday - people were out and about but there wasn’t much traffic, plus we rode dedicated cycle lanes until we were out of town. We travelled  rural bike trails through the country and stopped after 18 km to visit the gardens at Villandry. These are the most renowned gardens of any chateau in the Loire Valley. Dave and I saw them in 2018 but I thought they were noteworthy enough to do again, although we didn’t re-tour the inside of the chateau. Interestingly Villandry is privately owned which I find incredible given the upkeep and costs that that must incur. It wasn’t crowded - I suspect we will find the first week of June is an  excellent time to tour the busy Loire Valley. Weather was good but it just wasn’t annoyingly crowded.  

Along the Indre river.
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On the road at last, and what a beautiful day we had!
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The chateau at Villandry.
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And some shots of the fabulous gardens.
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Laura ClarkWow. I want to go there!!!
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1 day ago
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Rather than our usual sandwich selection from the morning buffet Dave suggested we stop somewhere for lunch. It wasn’t clear to me that this decision was due to our recent experience at the Ibis in Tours or the fact we were with friends so he was just feeling more sociable! (Dave here: In fact, I was still a little gun shy following our dust up at the Ibis in Toulouse.)  Accordingly, after the garden visit we found an outdoor restaurant in the town of Villandry and had a pizza and salad and “spritz of the Maison” (women) and a beer (men.)  Villandry is quite a cute village and I could see it would make a good overnight stop. 

We then only had a 12 km ride into Azay-le-Rideau, our endpoint for the day, and it was a beautiful varied ride - not much elevation but small roads, a little gravel. 

Our inn, the Hotel Monarch was unexpectedly nice. We had a large room with high ceilings, an awesome tub and A/C that worked.  I am less concerned about A/C than Dave who finds a warm room more difficult, especially for sleeping. Almost the first thing he does when we arrive in a room is start fiddling with the A/C controls - and it almost always turns out to be difficult because the A/C doesn’t work, is controlled by the front desk, or they haven't turned it on yet for the summer (or they have turned it off because it’s fall or it's turned off to save on electricity).  Because of that I have almost given up searching for A/C when I book rooms but I know Dave sleeps better when it’s cool. 

After we checked in we quickly changed and walked over to the Chateau Azay-le-Rideau, built in 1518-1527.  It is a smaller chateau built on an island on the Indre river, so it's unique in its configuration. This was one of the late Renaissance chateaux  not built for defense but simply to show off wealth. Like Villandry there were people there but it wasn’t crowded. 

The chateau Azay-le-Rideau
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The Indre river lazily flowing past.
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Scott AndersonFunny. I thought she had a camilia in her hair at first.
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We dined at a local restaurant in a cave and after dinner as we were walking back we ran into a British couple from Oxford. They were quite talkative and we had a fun conversation about the state of the world and we also got a few suggestions for when we visit the UK, which we hope to do next summer. 

The town of Azay-le-Rideau was pleasantly busy.
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Another delightful dinner
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Today's ride: 33 km (20 miles)
Total: 1,340 km (832 miles)

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Rachael AndersonGreat day! So you’re planning to go to Great Britain next year! This is our second summer touring in Great Britain. We will be interested to hear where you’re going. We don’t have e-bikes but I wish we did! There are a lot of steep ups and downs!
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4 days ago