Poitiers to Saint-Pierre - Melo Vélo Meanderings - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2018

Poitiers to Saint-Pierre

I got off to an early start today, leaving before Anne and Sebastian were up.  A quick detour up to central Poitiers for coffee, croissants and a sandwich for the road - and I was on my way.  I was headed southwest in the general direction of Périgueux, which I planned to reach in two days.  After a big overnight storm, the day started bright and sunny.  I passed through a Sunday market in Nieuil L'Espoir, where white asparagus was prominently featured. Soon thereafter I came across a  sign marking a more recent time in French history: the The French Demarcation Line.  The Demarcation Line was established by the Armistice reached after the fall of France in 1940 and denotes the boundary between Nazi-occupied France and the Free Zone. In 1942, Germany invaded the Free Zone and occupied all of France.  

Sunday market at Nieuil L'Espoir
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Charmaine RuppoltWhite asparagus is my FAVORITE!! :) :)
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1 year ago
Asparagus season in France, where white asparagus is greatly appreciated
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The French Demarcation Line: Remember you who pass by that here was the start of Free France
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Jeanie RedickChill bumps !
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6 years ago

The route continued through mostly open farmland and small French villages.  I stopped at Saint Laurent de Lourdes for a snack and soon rejoined the Vienne River south of Breux.  About a mile after crossing the river, the planned route directed me onto an unpaved cycle path running parallel to the river.  I was hesitant to take the path due to the recently abundant rainfall and likely muddy conditions.  Using the bike mode of Google Maps, I found what appeared to be an alternate road heading in the same general direction - and I set off.  The road climbed steeply above the river, offering some nice views of distant villages.  After about 1.5 miles, however, the paved road ended at a large house where the owner was working on his car.  I continued past him with a friendly Bonjour, but was almost immediately faced with another unpaved tract through the woods.  I went back to ask the gentleman for help with directions/options.  After some thought, he directed me down a footpath, which he said would lead to a good surfaced cycle path. Seriously, a footpath.  Undaunted, I led Vivien George carefully through the underbrush and down the muddy path, which eventually intersected with the original unpaved cycle route I had shunned not more than an hour beforehand!  The cycle path did provide a passable surface, but at times resembled a single-tract mountain bike route more than a touring bike route.  After dodging mud and water puddles for more than two miles, I took a short break for water and noticed a paved road paralleling the wooded tract.  A quick look at Google Maps indicated the paved road would intersect with the wooded tract a couple of miles ahead - so I jumped on it and was soon in Moussac and heading south.  A few miles later, I cruised into L'Isle-Jourdain and found a delightful spot for a proper Sunday lunch.

Snack stop in Saint Laurent de Lourdes on a quiet Sunday morning
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The road not taken
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The path of least resistance
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The road of last resort
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Ann DiamondBeen there😊
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5 years ago
New friends at Le Louky restaurant in L'Isle-Jourdain
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I lingered a long time over lunch, enjoying conversation and camaraderie with the couple at the adjoining table and the restaurant owners.  The couple live in a castle in Queaux, about 8 mile north of L'Isle-Jourdain, and they invited me to come visit any time.  By the time we all left, the day had clouded up and a storm was threatening.  France has been deluged with rain and floods over the past two weeks, yet I had been relatively lucky in skirting/avoiding getting in a downpour.  It was not to be today.  It began to rain in earnest when I was about 7 miles from the B&B.  It had stopped raining by the time I arrived, but it was good to get out of my soggy kit and enjoy a nice dinner and cup of tea with my English hosts Tia and Robert.  

Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 448 miles (721 km)

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