To Feuillade - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

May 7, 2022

To Feuillade

Today’s destination was Feuillade, a very small village on the Bandiat River in the Charente region of France. It’s my third time in Feuillade, drawn back by the warmth and generous hospitality of Dieter and Bb, the proprietors of Saint Alfonso’s Chambre d’Hôte. The direct route from Angoulême is about 20 miles, about half of which is on the Flow Vélo bike route. This was the route I’d taken on my 2019 visit, but wanting something different, I mapped out a somewhat longer, indirect route would let me explore some new areas of this region.

 Knowing that it was a fairly short day, I lingered a bit in Angoulême, having a nice conversation with the manager of my hotel. However, I was a bit too casual in preparing for my departure. Not only were there user-induced RWGPS delays that pushed my departure time back to almost 11:00 am, but I also left town relying too much on my memory and not enough on my route track. By the time I got to the edge of town, I was so far off my planned route that I had to use Google Maps to find my way back. My first Google Map input was a direct route to Touvre, which was about five miles away. Just before reaching Touvre, I encountered a Route Barre but I ignored it and forged ahead. I quickly reached an impasse, with the only options backtracking or taking the pedestrian route. I chose option B. Unbelievably, the pedestrian detour was one I’d taken on my trip in 2019! It was the place I met a women on a bike with baguettes in her basket and she told me where I might find a baguette for my picnic lunch. So much for exploring new areas.

 In Touvre, I used Google Maps to route me to the town of Sers, where I could pick up my planned route. I was following one of the many marked bicycle routes in the area, through a somewhat rolling, mostly wooded landscape. And it was all new to me! On the climb up to Sers, I kept seeing directional signs for Roc-de-Sers, a bit of highway promotion that almost sucked me in. During my almond croissant break in Sers, I looked up Roc-de-Ser on Wikipedia and learned it was an archeological site with “decorated caves and rock dwellings.” My visit to the Lascaux II cave ranks as one of my top tourist experiences, so I did give some thought to making a detour to Roc-de-Sers. In the end though, I decided I’d lingered enough for the day. I finished my  croissant, found my route and moved on.

Veronique, the delightful manager of my small hotel in Angouléme
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Haven't I been here before? And they still haven't completed the road construction?
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Blues and green on the way to Sers
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On the way to Sers
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Église Saint-Pierre in Sers
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Place de la Bascule in Sers, a perfect spot for an almond croissant
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In Charras, I poked around an old chateau that was now a private residence and visited Église Saint Vivien, a 12th century fortified church. I was feeling hungry and so rode through town looking for a small park or shady spot. Suddenly, I came upon another familiar sight – a large carving of a blacksmith overlooking the surrounding landscape. I’d come across him in 2018, but had bypassed the town as I headed south toward Périgueux. There was a bench with a nice view, so I stopped to have lunch with my blacksmith friend. 

So many options!
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The wary eyes of a Limousin mom - Happy Mother's Day
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This interesting old château in Charras is now a private residence - no poking around
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Église Saint Vivien, a 12th century fortified church in Charras
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Hello, I think we met in 2018
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During lunch, I did some more ad hoc route planning and headed off for Grassac. And shortly thereafter another reward- the Orthodox Monastery of Our Lady of Korsun, a Russian orthodox church built in 1996 and named after a town in Crimea. A small group of nuns live and pray at the monastery, and apparently do all the chores, including mowing the lawn. After the monastery, there was a longish climb past an old château to a small intersection where I spotted my second small herd of Limousin. The day got even better with a swooping downhill along open fields that took me to the town of Marthon and the Flow Vélo bike route, which I followed the last couple of miles to Feuillade.

Orthodox Monastery of Our Lady of Korsun, plopped down in the French countryside
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Outdoor chores at the monastery
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The quiet roads of rural France
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Keith KleinHi,
There are times when I just know that a place is the right one for me. Looks like you found one of them.
Cheers,
Keith
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3 months ago
On the way to Marthon
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On the way to Marthon
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The Flow Vélo, between Marthon and Feuillade
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 I was welcomed to Saint Alfonso’s by Bb and her friend Jennie. For the next hour, the three of us sat in the sun at a small table in the courtyard, catching up on travels and life during Covid. After a bit, Dieter joined us and the conversation naturally turned toward comparisons between French and American cultures - Dieter is American, Bb is French, and they spend parts of the year in each country. It was just like old times – warm and wonderful.

There is only one restaurant in Feuillade and on Saturdays they have only one option – pizza to go. It was a lovely evening, so I walked the few hundred yards to the restaurant and waited outside, enjoying a coke, peanuts and the local trade while waiting for my pizza. Although the pizza was definitely sub-par, it could not detract from the enjoyment of being back on the road and seeing old friends. I am so looking forward to the next few weeks.

Vivien George back in the courtyard of Saint Alfonso's
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Dieter and Bb
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Shadow selfie in downtown Feuillade
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In Feuillade
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In Feuillade
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Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 576 miles (927 km)

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Lyle McLeodOh pleassee tell me you had pancakes for breakfast 😬. I remember you mentioning your friends and their B&B in a previous forum post. One of my ‘enthusiastic’ (my version) but ‘off base” (most people’s version) comments abruptly ended that thread! Lovely to see that you’re connecting with friends while on tour. It’ such a treat to be able to do that when you’re thousands of km’s away from where you (mostly)call home. Enjoy Burgandy, it will be beautiful in the spring!
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2 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Lyle McLeodFor sure I had pancakes - the speciality of the house. Bb has a special recipe with kefir and spelt wheat. I had three for breakfast and she gave me two for the road!
Enjoy your quick trip in the Salzkammergut - I just tasted it last fall and would love to go back for more. Good to see you and Kristen back on the road!
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2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetI missed Lascaux II when I visited the region in 1981; I must have misread my guidebook (remember Let’s Go?) because I went to Sarlat thinking it was there and then couldn’t get any further (not travelling by bike). I made up for it in 2019 with Lascaux IV. It was one of the highlights of that trip and you should get there if you haven’t already!
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2 months ago