Decize to Sancerre - Melo Vélo Meanderings - CycleBlaze

June 3, 2018

Decize to Sancerre

World Bicycle Day

The United Nations recently designated today, June 3, 2018 as the inaugural World Bicycle Day.  The idea is to celebrate the bicycle as a "simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit" means of transportation.  While there has been a fair amount of press lately promoting these aspects of bicycle riding, there is less attention given to the sheer joy of riding a bicycle.  So we celebrate the bicycle on this day - and everyday - with a big grin and a song in our heart.

I got an early start today and made good progress along the Lateral Canal at the Loire.  It starts in Decize and provides a nice connection between the Canal du Nivernais, and the La Loire à Vélo/Eurovelo 6.  The junction is just south of Nevers, connected to the city by a short, 2.5 km spur that follows a canal into Nevers.  There was a lot of activity on this stretch - cyclists (both serious and recreational), joggers, and walkers - all out to enjoy this splendid Sunday morning.  I headed toward Nevers for a mid-morning snack and found a not quite open restaurant that sold me with an espresso and some bread with butter and jam.  The French do love their butter! 

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

This section of Eurovelo 6 outside of Nevers is referred to as La Loire en Bourgogne.  It follows the side canal for a short ways, with a brief detour through Gimouille before it crosses the Loire to Le Guérin.  I got a strange craving so stopped in a small cafe in Gimouille in search of chocolate milk, but got hot chocolate instead.  Just as well as I had a nice conversation with two gentlemen from Spain on a 10 day trip along the Loire. I followed them across the Loire and we all missed the turn at Le Guérin. I soon discovered my mistake, and was back on track toward Sancerre, my stop for the night.  

North of Nevers on Eurovelo 6 and La Loire Bourgogne
Heart 0 Comment 0
Crossing the Loire at Le Guérin
Heart 1 Comment 0
The Spaniards crossing the Loire, just before we all took a wrong turn
Heart 0 Comment 0

For the next 20 miles or so, the route stays mainly inland and follows on some sort of treeless mole or levee.  Getting hot and hungry, I soon spied the medieval town of La Charité-sur-Loire on the opposite bank and headed over for a leisurely lunch.  Out of nowhere, touring cyclists appeared and all seemed to park their bikes at the steps to the Priory Church of Notre Dame.  There was a nice restaurant just by, and I thoroughly enjoyed the penne with salmon and shrimp followed by panne cotta with salt and caramel.  Not exactly a light lunch for a hot day on a bicycle!! 

Along La Loire à Vélo, but without the Loire
Heart 0 Comment 0
The medieval town of La Charité-sur-Loire
Heart 2 Comment 0

I had another 15 miles to go after lunch, and ran into the Spanish pair who were also on the way to Sancerre.  They pointed out large white stones that appeared along the route and said they were Roman origin.  I couldn't find anything more about them, but maybe my Roman historian friend and neighbor David can fill me in. 

Roman artefacts?
Heart 0 Comment 0

It was easy going as I approached Sancerre, a hilltop city overlooking the Loire valley.  In planning my route for today, there appeared to be several options on the way in to Sancerre.  For some reason, the one I chose took me through Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre. I pondered for several minutes at the turn-off for Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, wondering if I should just follow the signed route to Sancerre instead.  I chose instead to follow my route - maybe it was the panne cotta.  Unfortunately, the planned road was closed for some type of motorcycle event.  Rather than backtrack, I re-routed using Google Maps, which took me up the hill through Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre and onto gravel roads through the vineyards - the back, back road to Sancerre.  At one point, I actually found myself in a backyard garden where an elderly homeowner asked me if I needed directions!  He pointed the way upward, and I finally made it to the hotel.  A big storm rolled in about an hour after I arrived, so pictures of the city and valley will have to wait until tomorrow.

The vineyards above Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre
Heart 3 Comment 0
My path through the vineyards
Heart 1 Comment 0
The back, back way to Sancerre
Heart 3 Comment 0

Today's ride: 69 miles (111 km)
Total: 166 miles (267 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 3
Comment on this entry Comment 0