A cold night so not much sleep. After packing up I headed back a kilometre into the town centre to visit a café to defrost with a coffee, and then visit a boulangerie to get a couple of pain au chocolats for later.
When I went back to get on the route I took a wrong turn at a part that wasn’t that clearly signposted and proceeded to waste about half an hour on some pretty rough ground, taking the bike through an outdoor fitness course and then a nature reserve. Not the best start!
Once I had backtracked to the start and got going again it wasn’t too long before the sun came out to warm things up.
I managed to have a conversation entirely in French with another cyclist whilst cycling along at one point, which was a nice milestone.
I made it to Orléans in time for lunch. Orléans reminded me of a mini Paris.
I had the plat du jour and a crème brûlée.
Here’s a statue in honour of Joan of Arc who came here almost 600 years ago.
Another easy day of cycling. Lots of clouds of gnats to cycle through – the harmless kind that like to gather where the sun reaches through a shaded spot. Must have inhaled a few 🙁
I cycled past the Saint Laurent nuclear power plant, which is the third I’ve encountered along the Loire – one more to go I think.
Whilst taking a break and the above photograph, a club ride of about 25 cyclists in club jerseys went by. When I got going again after a couple of minutes I noticed I could still see them in the distance, so I upped my pace and after 10 mins I managed to catch up with them, and was able to hang on at the back of the pack.
We were on a stretch of road that was shared use, and I noticed a couple of cars were approaching from behind, so I shouted ‘car behind’, as I believe one is supposed to do in these situations.
Someone looked and translated this into the French equivalent and the riders moved to the right of the road to make way for the cars. Once the cars has gone past I saw this as my opportunity to overtake the lot. At a distance behind the cars, bit in the gap they had left, I made my way to the front pf the pack and beyond 🙂 There were a few surprised looks and a few cheers.
The road was smooth and I kept on at around 35kmh until I was out of sight then eased off a bit. In retrospect I should have asked the guy at the front if I could join the club. Next time!
My port for the night is Blois. It looked like an interesting town to walk around, so I found a cheap hotel to check into, drop off the bike and freshen up, then popped into town for dinner and a walk.
This big staircase reminded me of Sacre Coeur:
There are dozens of interesting streets with intestesting buildings.
And then back to the hotel as the moon is coming up over the Loire.
Sully-sur-Loire to Blois, 128 km. Total so far = 3,099 km.