Slowly but surely, we are getting our posts and pix up about our cycling trip through France’s Loire Valley! It’s just pretty hard to sit down at the computer and sort through photos, look back at the maps, and write up the posts, when the summer weather has been so good! But we are almost there – here is Day 4 of our 5-day, 220 km trip.
Throughout our whole trip, the weather in France (in Nice, riding to Monaco, and over the first few days of this trip) had been hot and muggy. But this morning, as we ate breakfast chatting with the owners of our little B&B on the south side of the Loire in the village of La Daguenière, the sky was dark and grey – definitely threatening rain. Well, cycling in the rain is not the number one thing on my “fun” list. But, on the other hand, the weather had been so amazing our whole time that it almost felt like we needed a bit of nastiness to make the trip seem more… real. So off we went!
The squall soon mellowed to sprinkling, and we set off again. Throughout this day and the next, we could tell that we were approaching the Atlantic Ocean, as a stiff headwind blowing up the river became stronger and stronger. The rain finally stopped, and we were back to pretty good riding weather – just having to push a bit harder against that wind.
Our first scheduled stop for the day was 25 km into our route. We were following the north bank of the Loire from La Daguenière. This section of the river has several large islands in it. One of these is Béhuard Island, site of a famous church. I didn’t quite get from our guidebook (written in French) why this church was so notable – it just said because it was “built on a rock.” Well, so what, lots of churches are, right? But once I saw it, I realized that it really was special!
This church was constructed in the late 1400s, ordered by Louis XI. Centuries before that, a statue of the virgin had been set up on this rock.
Yet another amazing day… stopping at patisseries for yummy French baking (like you just cannot get at home), and first lunch and second lunch (with local wine of course!). Our distance for the day was about 46 km – which sounds short for serious cyclists, but was plenty, considering all the amazing things to stop and see (and eat) along the route.