Airvault to Thouars - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 2 - CycleBlaze

June 21, 2018

Airvault to Thouars

Explore St Pierre’s, find the wrong Taize, break a spoke and find a great campground.

Early start as we head into Airvault for sustenance and sightseeing. I’m not sure where the name Airvault comes from, but it is claimed that Voltaire created his name by transposing the syllables in the word.

Early morning, Airvault Municipal Camping.
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We warm up with grand cafe au lait at the first bar in Airvault then to the Eglise d' St Pierre. The restored stonework amazing above the door. Inside we peer up at the capitals, clearly described in a visitor info book. Garish expressions of mirth and menace.

St Pierre’s
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Pine cone- symbol of enlightenment, fertility, third eye, eternal life.
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Market hall.
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Michael talks to the Office of Tourism assistant who learnt her English in NZ . I share notes with a chap who is walking from Nantes to Angouleme. There is very little activity in the area apart from us .

Note to self - buy bread when you can!

We are in rural France. Hamlets do not have services despite the shop symbols on the official guide. We stop at St Generoux with its Cariolingan church and Roman Pont with five arches. Tables are being set for lunch.... it is a little early, so we proceed.

St Generoux
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Roman bridge.
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Wildflowers, Thouet.
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No commerce at Ligaine but it is 1.5 km to Taizé and the guide has a shopping symbol there. But again nothing is stirring except the local I encounter. He shakes his head but suggests the bar on the road to the Dolmens.

We find this easily and bonjouring the crowd at the bar, we ask for the jambon sandwich and lemonade. A satisfying slab of baguette with plenty of beurre and ham is just the thing when breakfast was an apple and that long ago coffee.

Michael's mood is dented somewhat when he notices a sprung spoke. Not on his magic bike?

As for Taize - where is the famous community? The church is locked and nothing else stirs. Is there another Taizé?

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Mistletoe.
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We are energised for the route to Thouars. And we need it. The ascent past the fortified abbey is a stunning 15%. Up and up to the main square. O of T have the directions for Le camping and the bike shop. Municipal camping is on the route out of the old centre and down a vertiginous road which surely beats Baldwin St in Dunedin for steepness of gradient. But the Camp is a beauty with new sanitaire and grassy sites. We can even use the ping pong table for culinary convenience.

Dining very fresco.
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Thouars
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This sign, at the top of the steep climb seemed appropriate.
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The bike repair is accomplished by a veteran. Michael stands anxious watch. We stock up at super U express, and wonder if we will return later for the music festival that is beginning at various venues.

Good intentions and a hearty dinner means we seek shower and sleeping bag before choral culture at the Cathedral. We are rocked to sleep with the Dub concert in nearby park.

Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 1,489 km (925 miles)

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