Day 6 : Orléans to Blois - Lack of Imagination Loire Valley - Tandem Tour - July 2021 - CycleBlaze

July 26, 2021

Day 6 : Orléans to Blois

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We finished up our rest day in Orléans by enjoying a bottle of wine on the rooftop terrasse of our hotel.  What an amazing place!  If you don’t mind climbing stairs, we heartily recommend the Hotel de l’Abeille in Orléans as a place to stay.  Too adorable!

Rooftop terrace + bottle of wine = happy campers
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Scott AndersonThat’s not camping, but it would work for us.
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This morning’s weather report made it clear that the cold days were over.  We woke to bright blue skies and warm winds from the east.  Tailwinds!

After breakfast at the hotel, we retrieved the tandem from the basement and put it back together.  (We had to split it in half to get it down the steps).  When everything was back together, we rolled back through Monday morning Orléans, on our way back down to the river.

Leaving town was as easy as getting into town.  A beautiful bike path led us to a bridge with a huge bike lane.  About as low-stress as you can get.

Nice and easy
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Following the Loire à Vélo path, we were soon back out into the countryside.  We rocketed along with our tailwind, and before too long we saw the bridge over the river to Meung-sur-Loire.

Meung-sur-Loire bridge
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We had never visited the chateau at Meung-sur-Loire, so we rode up through town and through the gate.  There was thoughtfully-placed bike parking behind the gate, so we locked the tandem and bought tickets.

The chateau visit was really nice!  It was self-guided and wound through a bunch of rooms filled with historical objects.  The explanations were great, although the English translations were a bit spotty. 

The chateau at Meung-sur-Loire
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The chateau was built in several stages, so there were medieval rooms along with more recent 17th century ones.  The kitchens always fascinate me.

Kitchen in the chateau, Meung-sur-Loire
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We saw more old bathtubs than you could imagine, along with sick rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, and even a hot tub from the Middle Ages.  The visit finished up in the vaulted basement.  We skipped the video and stumbled back out into the heat and sunlight.

We had a bit of riding still to go, so we bought a couple of cold drinks from the chateau shop and drank them in the shade.  And then took off for our second stop, Beaugency.

More great riding along gravel and paved paths.  The signage is excellent.  Robin said at one point, « This is 5 star cycling infrastructure », and she was spot on.   A few hot and sunny kilometers later, we rolled into Beaugency.

Entering Beaugency
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We didn’t visit Beaugency because it’s primarily a center of digital art.  It also appeared to be closed on Mondays.  So we ate what passed for a picnic lunch in the square in front of the chateau - nuts and dried fruit with water from our bidons.  We’ve figured out that we just can’t handle 3 full meals while touring.  It’s just too much food for us!

The donjon and chateau at Beaugency
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Our next destination was the chateau at Chambord.  After following the river for a while, we crossed over at Muides-sur-Loire, followed along to St-Dyé-sur-Loire, and then headed south away from the river towards the chateau.

On this hot day, the approach to Chambord was blissfully shaded and completely car-free.  We rode through the forest on gravel paths until we were within site of the chateau.  Then across open fields, to eventually approach the chateau from the south side.  We crossed maybe 2 roads on the way in.  Very nice!

Approaching Chambord
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Coming back to Chambord is kind of like visiting an old friend, but this old friend looked a lot younger than she did last time we were here!  The chateau has been spruced up, the gardens look fantastic, and there’s a lot more « stuff » around the chateau.  Restaurants and shops.

We were really happy to see that there weren’t huge crowds.  This was one of our motivations for scheduling this trip in 2021.  There were people, but the crowds were totally reasonable.  We had no trouble finding an empty table in a cafe.  On this super-hot day, we rehydrated in the shade and watched the world go by.

Looking pretty good for 500+ years old
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We didn’t go into the chateau, but prowled around the outside enjoying the view and taking pictures.  Eventually it was time to get serious about getting to our final destination - Blois.

It was hot.  We were hot.  We were tired.  But we buckled down and finished the ride.  Yay us!  It seemed way too long, but eventually Blois came into view.

Blois backlit by the afternoon sun
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Once again, cyclists get the royal treatment.  A wide pedestrian/bike lane over the old bridge into town let us finish in style.

Nice bike path!
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We staggered up the hill to our B&B, « 16 Place St. Louis ».  Our hostess helped us put the tandem into a locked bike garage, and we gratefully collapsed into our room.  We cleaned up and walked back down into town for dinner, admiring the amazing old houses in Blois.

Old houses in Blois
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When you skip lunch, you’re hungry for dinner!  Our first choice restaurant was booked, so we fell back on a place down the street called « 300 Grammes ».  A Salmon Caesar salad for Robin and a pizza for Rich, and we were happy again.

After dinner, we ambled around town, enjoying the evening light on the town.

Old buildings and evening light
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Evening light across the river
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I think we’ll sleep well tonight!

Today's ride: 80 km (50 miles)
Total: 326 km (202 miles)

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