Monday, 31 August 2015

Wed 29th July, La Rochelle to Niort

POToday we had a longer ride (although I did optimise the route a little to cut some of the distance.

To start with the route followed a canal inland for some distance from the coast. 
La Rochelle is where we pick up the new route "the Francette" of V43 which goes from La Rochelle to the ferry at Caen.  But for this first bit of the route the V43 followed the route of EV1.  It was quite sad to leave the EV1 ("Velodycée") after following it seven and a bit days of riding. At the end I'll add a blog on these French long distance routes. They are fantastic :-)

The EV1 signs

And the parting of the ways - from now on its the V43 - which only officially opened this summer. Interestingly I cached all my open cycle maps in April, and it turns out that Su's which were cached much more recently are quite different.

Later parts of today's route involved quite a lot of unmade surface, but it was surprisingly good. Most of the second part of the route was alongside rivers and was picturesque - but there was no pubs or cafés or anything, We ended up leaving the route to go to a small town (Maillé) - and even that had no eating place- but there was a shop/café, and Madame allowed us to buy some food and some beer and eat on her pavement. Actually quite surreal!

The late afternoon ride along the river into Niort was pleasing, although Su a little saddle sore. Then up the hill and out of the city to LaGrange spa hotel, where we are staying for a rest day.

The LaGrange was odd. It has a sauna (2 seater?) and a jacuzzi both in the middle of the exercise room. It had a lovely pool and a pretty garden and was itself a fine conversion of an old manor into a modern hotel. But it didn't have a resto - out in the sticks in the middle of nowhere! And it didn't seem to have any staff.  It took us ages to find anyone and we had believed we were getting a room with access to the garden, but the room the offered us was pokey. The young woman however sorted us - changing our room so we had a garden room, finding a safe place for our bikes, and tussling up a very acceptable tray of food which we ate at a table poolside, washed down with plenty of cocktails and wine.

The bath was big though!

Distance 94km
Average speed 17.52kph

LaGrange hotel
Our room

Thursday was a rest day, and luckily the forecast was quite good. We got plenty of sun, book reading, and discovered that the somewhat seedy looking Bar des Jeux that we had seen on the main road on the way in actually had a quite acceptable resto, where we walked for lunch and supper.

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