Tuesday 26 June 2018

The Château at Brézé

Just a little to the South of Saumur is a chateau at Brézé.  It has two claims to fame: The first is that it has the deepest dry moat in Europe, and the second is that it started as an underground fortress.   Under the modern French-style chateau is a series of caves and caverns that were used by the populace in the 1600s to shelter from raiders and plagues, or even plagues of raiders, and in times of peace, were used for grain and other storage.

The place is undergoing a serious upgrade, I'm sure that a small fortune is being spent.  The grounds are being redone, the entry is disabled-compatible (with a wheelchair lift), and the outside walls have been cleaned.  You can also hire one of the halls for events; there was a marriage reception being prepared while we were there.

Sorry, no pics of the caverns, it was too dark.  And I left my swanky camera at home, (that's to say, I forgot it) so I only had the phone camera.

Monday 25 June 2018

Cycle route at Baugé

We did some cycling on holiday, and there are many well-signposted routes that you can take.  I used the opportunity to see if I could get a useful record of the route on my mobile phone.

Here is the route that took me from Cuon to Baugé-en-Anjou and back, a pleasant ride, about 33 Km, most of it along dedicated tracks or quiet country roads.  There's a lot of vegetable farming in the Loire valley; I passed fields of onions, asparagus and other vegetables that I tend to take for granted, but that must be grown somewhere.   The straight edge to the route on the left is on the path of an old railway, secluded and quiet.

As it happened I took a slightly wrong turning.  The sharp left turn at the NE edge of the route (I went anti-clockwise) was at a multi-way cycle path junction and I should have made an even sharper turn, difficult to decide from the single signpost that just indicated "turn left".  But it was easy to correct; if you click on the "+" sign on the map to enlargen it, you can easily see the sharper left turn that I should have taken, and that eliminates two sides of a triangle.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Balloon over the Loire

There are many options for balloon rides that do their best to take you over the famous chateaus of the Loire valley.   Since they are so dependent on wind direction, nothing is guaranteed, but they do their best to give you some good views, and in any case, it's good fun.  We have done one.

We spotted this balloon coming towards us from across the river, looking like it was aiming at the Chateau at Saumur.   So we paused on our way to the evening restaurant, waiting to get a good picture of it above the bridge.  It came down in a field on the other side of the river before it got to us.  Shame.

Friday 22 June 2018

A short break in Saumur

We had a couple of weeks between guests, so we took a short break in Saumur.  It's not all that far away, about a 2-hour drive, and we took the bikes with the intention of riding along the "Loire à Vélo" cycle route.  We didn't do an enormous amount of biking, but we did get some relaxation and sightseeing.

The château at Saumur has been renovated during the last few years, and it looks quite imposing on the hillside overlooking the river.  You can visit it, there's an entry fee, but I don't mind too much paying for the upkeep of historic monuments.

We sat outside a bar in the town centre and watched France play Australia while we had dinner.  An exciting match.  We were watching on TF1; the bar next door had the telly on a different channel.  TF1 was delayed by a few seconds compared to them, so we heard the cheers and shouts of the goals about 5 seconds before we saw them on our screen.  It was strange.
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