Day 2 : Sancerre to Gien - Lack of Imagination Loire Valley - Tandem Tour - July 2021 - CycleBlaze

July 15, 2021

Day 2 : Sancerre to Gien

Heart 0 Comment 0

I have to say that the hotel Le Panoramic is one of the quietest I’ve ever stayed in.  It was pretty amazing - we heard no one until about 7:30 in the morning when a guest walked their dog past our door and it barked.  Dogs in hotels, dogs in restaurants.  Gotta love France.

We splurged on breakfast because the breakfast room was, well, panoramic.  A normal French hotel breakfast, meaning lots of carbs and bread with coffee or hot chocolate.  But the views were tremendous.  We lingered over our coffee and watched the diorama below.

Breakfast with entertainment in Sancerre
Heart 4 Comment 0

We finally bestirred ourselves, got suited up for riding, and checked out.  There was another couple on singles leaving at the same time.  We retrieved our bike from the secure garage area, loaded up the bags, and took off, benefiting from last night’s climb.  This morning, it was all downhill!

We got onto a short rails-to-trail section that went over a bridge that spanned the lower village below Sancerre.  Again, it was kind of like looking down at a toy village.  The Disneyland Storybook Canal boat ride was mentioned…

Looking down on a toy village
Heart 1 Comment 0

We worked our way down and eventually wound up next to the canal.  We stopped for some adjustments and a nice French couple were there doing the same.  So we traded picture-taking. 

It’s nice to get a picture of both of us at the same time! Sancerre up on the hill in the background.
Heart 6 Comment 0

The wind was up today in the aftermath of the storm front that moved through yesterday.  No rain, thank goodness.  But we rode over some really exposed sections of trail into a pretty stiff headwind.  We worked for every kilometer.

Can’t see the wind. But it’s there. And no shelter at all.
Heart 1 Comment 0

The route planner made some poor choices near Beaulieu-Sur-Loire that dumped us onto a busy road with rollers, riding into a headwind.  Not fun.  And we had hoped to eat lunch in Beaulieu.   Unfortunately, there was not much there.  The route planner was in danger of losing his job.

We recovered by buying some fruit and cheese in a small shop, and then riding back down to the canal, where we sat on the steps of an old lock house and ate lunch.  We had warm stones to sit on and a bit of shelter from the wind, so spirits improved.  The route planner was given a reprieve.

Lunch stop, such as it is.
Heart 0 Comment 1
Scott AndersonShe looks just a bit peeved with the route planner in this photo.
Reply to this comment
2 years ago

From here, the riding got better.  We were along the canal between the trees, so the headwind was much weaker.  And we had ducks to look at.  We just like riding on canals, I guess.

Eventually we got to the end of the canal section we were on.  The path turned over a beautiful old canal bridge paved with pavés.

Nice old bridge
Heart 2 Comment 0

Our next obstacle was a bridge under construction.  Passage was reduced to one lane, with traffic from each direction alternating in 2 minute shifts.We nervously got in line with the cars.  When the light went green to go, we waved all the cars past us and then hammered across the bridge.  It was a pretty long bridge, but we finished only about 20 seconds after the last car.  Go team Frasier!!

Right off the bridge, we hit a campground (with available toilets) to celebrate.  :)  

They don’t make campgrounds like this where we come from
Heart 1 Comment 0

A little bit more time on some stellar bike paths, and we were at the Pont Canal de Briare.  This is a bridge that carries the Canal Lateral a la Loire over the top of the Loire river.  It manages to be beautiful and an amazing piece of engineering all at the same time.

But first, a stop at a cafe was in order.   « Chocolats et Chimères » filled the bill perfectly.  Lots of cyclists had the same idea.

Chocolats et Chimères, at the end of the Pont Canal de Briare
Heart 0 Comment 0

Coconut ice cream in a chocolate cup, and a nice Leffe lifted our moods.  We enjoyed and watched cyclists, walkers, and tour boats go by.

She can’t quite hide that ice cream
Heart 2 Comment 0

After a relaxing pause, filled with conversation about how lucky we were to be out enjoying all this, we walked over the canal bridge.  It was built in 1893 and is still in use.  In those days, they built things to last, and they built them for esthetics, too.

Iron dragon on the canal bridge
Heart 3 Comment 0
Crossing the canal bridge
Heart 2 Comment 0

We started riding again, with only a few kilometers to finish before Gien.  Again, the riding was on sheltered forest paths.  The wind was still blowing but we were able to make good time.

Nice riding
Heart 1 Comment 0

We popped out of the forest and labored up a steep hill into Saint-Bresson-sur-Loire.   A beautiful little village, where apparently all the residents are above-average gardeners.  We skipped the tour of the local castle and amused ourselves looking at the flowers.  We love hollyhocks, and there were some stunning arrangements.

Umm, pretty nice…how do they get them to grow like that?
Heart 3 Comment 2
Suzanne GibsonI have the feeling when we cycled along the Loire I photographed that very same door, too. Probably not, that would be too great a coincidence, but same color door and hollyhocks.
Reply to this comment
2 years ago
Rich FrasierHi Suzanne - You might very well have photographed that door. I have a suspicion that the plantings around the door are not as random as they seem. I think I see the hand of a gardening artist. It really attracts the eye, and I wouldn't be surprised if it attracted yours, too!
Reply to this comment
2 years ago

From there, we zoomed down some hills and across the flood plain of the Loire, and eventually popped out across the river from Gien, our destination for the day.

Gien from the other side of the Loire
Heart 5 Comment 0

We found our way to « Les Daumeraudes », our accommodation for the night.   Our bike found its way into the covered bike parking spot in the back garden.  After cleaning up, we walked back into Gien for dinner and some sightseeing.

Dinner at the creperie
Heart 0 Comment 0

Nothing was open at this hour (8pm) but we were able to explore a bit and enjoy the lovely views out over the river and surrounding countryside.  We’re falling in love with the local architecture here - so different than the Mediterranean architecture that predominates where we live.

Chimneys everywhere!
Heart 1 Comment 0

Another great day.  We worked hard and we’ll sleep well tonight.

Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 163 km (101 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 9
Comment on this entry Comment 0