We spent the weekend messing about in a boat on the rivers Oudon and Mayenne: a pleasant little break that we have been meaning to do for a while, what with all the navigable rivers around here. The map below, courtesy of Google Maps, shows you where we went. The Oudon is on the left, the Mayenne is on the right, and they meet at the southern tip of the town of Le Lion d'Angers, forming a kind of "Y" on the map.
We set off from a little boatyard at Grez-Neuville, right at the bottom of the map, going to Segré (left) on the first leg, and Chenillé-Changé (right) on the second.
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We dropped the cat off at the kennels on the Friday morning. We try to explain to him that it's a special cat hotel, but he's not having any of it. This left us with the Friday to kill before we picked up the boat at 4PM, so we decided on a whim to visit the town of Pouancé, somewhat to the West of Segré, so near our destination, on the simple basis that it has a ruined medieval castle and might be worth a visit.
We got there just before lunchtime and the friendly and enthusiastic young lady in the tourist office gave us a little map and explained all the things that we could see in the town. But first, lunch. There were three obvious options; a pizza place, an english-style pub, or doner kebab. We opted for the pizza, and I'd like to tell you how much we enjoyed eating there.... but I can't because we didn't, since we walked out following an astonishing row with the proprietor/chef. So kebab it was, very fine too: proper lamb meatloaf on a rotisserie, served in more of a bap than a pitta bread, but crisp with fresh veg and a hot chilli sauce like it should be.
Pouancé does not come across as a wealthy town; more of an example of the kind of decay affecting much of rural France. Houses on the street unoccupied and decaying, grass growing through the tarmac on the courtyards, a general air of tiredness. The lake is pretty enough, and you can walk around it, the castle is impressive from the outside but the inner courtyard is a complete ruin, and visits are guided only. The town is on one of the pilgrim paths of St Jacques de Compostelle, (the one from the Mont Saint Michel) so perhaps a level of tourism is guaranteed. But unless it's on your path, the verdict is: not worth the detour.