Day 8 : Chenonceaux to Tours - Lack of Imagination Loire Valley - Tandem Tour - July 2021 - CycleBlaze

July 21, 2021

Day 8 : Chenonceaux to Tours

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Our plan to visit the chateau of Chenonceau worked!  (Note that for some strange reason, the chateau doesn’t have an “x” at the end of its name, but the village does).

We got up early and skipped breakfast in the hotel.  We had coffee and oat bars that we had been hoarding all through the ride “just in case”.  We walked over to the chateau entrance at about 830, bought tickets from the machines, and got in line for the 900 opening.  There were 6 people in front of us!

At the stroke of 900, the gates opened and we walked down the long driveway to the chateau.  It’s so beautiful that we took way too many pictures.   I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

Chenonceau in the morning sun
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Inside - lots of floral arrangements. The sunlight and a light breeze through the open windows made it magic.
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Robin is a weaver, so anything fiber-related is automatically interesting to her. Lots and lots of beautiful tapestries.
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The main gallery with no one in it. That’s what you get when you’re the first ones in.
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The quiet Cher out of one of the downstream windows
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This was our 3rd visit to Chenonceau and I think one of the most satisfying.  We spent an hour prowling around and enjoying the castle and its furnishings with very few people around.  It was an amazing privilege to feel like we had it to ourselves.

Until the next time…
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Completely satisfied, we walked back to the hotel, packed up, and checked out.  We were on the road by 1030 and the day was still cool.  Our first task was to ride back over the hills to the Loire, which we would meet at Amboise.

There was a bit of traffic, but the morning was cool and the road was well-shaded so the ride went quickly.  We bypassed the Leonardo DaVinci chateau in Amboise, and settled for views of the main chateau.

It was just before noon and Amboise was jumping with tourists.  It was nerve-wracking trying to pilot a tandem on the crowded streets and it got worse when we tried to walk on the pedestrian streets.  We split a sandwich for lunch in a boulangerie and Robin did some exploring while Rich kept watch over the bike.

Amboise seemed busier than this picture makes it look
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We walked the bike down to the river where the trail picked up.  Looking back, we could see Amboise castle.

The chateau at Amboise
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Almost done!  We had only a few kilometers to go.   Once again, there were amazing bike paths.  We climbed up to Montlouis-sur-Loire on a series of beautiful trails and small roads and took a break in the town square.  The square was filled with bicycles and people were eating in the cafes around the edge.  A couple of cyclists (adults) were playing in the town fountain to cool off!

Then down the hill and into Tours on beautifully maintained paths, always separated from roads.  I think we crossed maybe 2 roads on the way into town!

A great way to come into town.
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We had made it!  We were too early to check into our hotel, so we headed off for a celebratory gelato!

The celebration!
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We then rode down to the hotel, but before checking in, we got a friendly French couple to take our picture with the tandem and one of the “Loire a Vélo” signs we’ve been following for the past 2 weeks.

End of the trip
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Our hotel, the “Oceania L’Univers”, is again amazing.  We rolled the tandem into the enclosed garage and collapsed into our beautiful, air-conditioned room.

After cleaning up, we walked over to the train station to figure out tomorrow’s return to Nevers.  It looks like we’ll be OK - we bought tickets and unless the train is jammed there will be room for the bike (in it’s “short” configuration).

Later we went out for dinner at the local “Bistro ô Palais”, which was really good.  We finished off our celebration by sharing a Café Liègois.  Such decadence!   Back on the diet next week for sure!

Today's ride: 42 km (26 miles)
Total: 422 km (262 miles)

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Scott AndersonSorry to see it come to an end, folks. Looking forward to the next edition.
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2 years ago
Eva WaltersThanks for this journal. Al and I really enjoyed reading it as we did a similar route to yours in reverse in April 2017 (no journal yet). We didn't have your good luck at Chenonceau unfortunately. We were there in a pouring rainstorm with way too many people crowding inside the chateau. Going there first thing in the morning sounds ideal.
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2 years ago