Blois Chambord Cycling Itinerary 11 & 11bis

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Most of our time in Blois seems to be spent frantically gardening, restoring fireplaces and making laundries, but this time, I’ve checked the weather report and Thursday looks as though it will be bright and sunny. We have breakfast in the garden then, after much searching, unearth our Blois & Chambord bike maps. We decide on itinerary n° 11 & 11 B (total of 50 K) because Jean Michel says we haven’t completed the loop before.

Château de Chambord with more scaffolding

Château de Chambord with more scaffolding

We drive to Saint Dyé sur Loire and park in the church grounds. It’s getting close to midday by the time we start out for Chambord. I’m a bit disappointed when we arrive to see there is more scaffolding.

Chambord reflected in the Grand Canal

Chambord reflected in the Grand Canal

After lunch at the Saint Louis (dish of the day and café gourmand) we cross the little bridge and set off along the Grand Canal because I want to take a photo of Chambord reflected in the water like my friend Anda from Travel Notes and Beyond. But clouds have appeared and the reflection is not exactly what I was looking for.

Chambord from the little bridge at the end of the Grand Canal

Chambord from the little bridge at the end of the Grand Canal

And what do we discover – a completely  new view of Chambord from the other end of the canal. This time, the clouds are lighter and their reflection in the canal is spectacular.

Fontaine Saint Michel well in Thoury

Fontaine Saint Michel well in Thoury

We continue the cycle path towards Saint Laurent de Nouan, our final destination, and find ourselves in the little town of Thoury. I surprise Jean Michel by remembering it from a previous bike ride and he comes to the conclusion that we’ve already done the n° 11 loop (but not the n°11bis. The typical Sologne well of Fontaine Saint Michel has all been spruced up. You can see its little wrought-iron sculpture of a snake coiled around a tree branch.

Saint Martin de Crouy

Saint Martin de Crouy

Not long after, we come across the 11th church of Saint Martin de Crouy which coincidentally I published just a few days ago on Blois Daily Photo. Once again I astonish Jean Michel by telling him what’s inside the church! I also take a better photo of the sculpture of Saint Martin on the façade. By now, the storm clouds are looking more threatening.

Auberge des Trois Rois

Auberge des Trois Rois

By the time we reach Saint Laurent, we’ve ridden about 25 kilometers straight and I’m well and truly ready for a cold drink. The main street has a couple of interesting buildings, including Aux Trois Rois or the Three King Inn. Built in the 15th century, it welcomed such distinguished guests as Philippe le Bel, Louis IX, Charles VIII, Louis XIV, Alfred de Musset, Jean de La Fontaine, d’Artagnan and maybe even Joan of Arc. Unfortunately, it was dismantled between 1780 and 1781 and sold in several parcels. The mullion windows are copies of the original structure, I’m sad to learn.

Saint Laurent de Nouans nuclear power plant

Saint Laurent de Nouans nuclear power plant

To my disappointment, no friendly café comes into sight and instead we find ourselves on a 70 kph road taking us straight towards the Saint Laurent NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. Now why didn’t I realise that before when I looked at the map?

Saint Jacques windmill at Saint Laurent de Noans taken on a previous visit

Saint Jacques windmill at Saint Laurent de Noans taken on a previous visit

I rant and rave about the inappropriateness of putting a nuclear power plant on a cycling itinerary and we eventually reach the beautiful Saint Jacques windmill we have already visited on a previous occasion. Still no café …

La potion muidoise which is a reference to the druid's magic potion in Astérix

La potion muidoise which is a reference to the druid’s magic potion in Astérix, also taken on a previous occasion

We finally get to Muides after a very bumpy ride along the river thankful that it hasn’t actually rained. By then, we’re so near to our destination that the thought of the only somewhat decrepit café in Muides with its local bar supporters, no longer appeals. Also, it might be closed the way it was last time …

Loire between Muides and Saint Dyé also taken on a previous ride

Loire between Muides and Saint Dyé also taken on a previous ride

We cycle the last few kilometers back to Saint Dyé but the sky is muggy and not nearly as nice as the last time. I surprise myself by going straight up the hill next to the church almost effortlessly. I don’t know where that energy suddenly came from. In the future though, we’re going to remember only to do itinerary 11 and ignore 11 bis. A nuclear power plant indeed!

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7 Responses to Blois Chambord Cycling Itinerary 11 & 11bis

  1. Susan Walter says:

    What’s the problem with the nuclear power station? Certainly in 100 years time that view will be considered dramatic and interesting, and the power plant a historic relict, just like 19th century industrial chimneys are now (eg the fabulous chimneys of the former arms factory in Chatellerault, which you can now climb up and see for miles).

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      I’m not really sure I’d like it any more in 100 years time! It was all very stark and ugly, not what I like to see when I’m cycling along the Loire!

  2. Anna Grigorova says:

    My favourite Chambord!From the little bridge,the reflection of clouds in the canal looks like a water colour… spectacular photo,indeed.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I, too, love Chambord, but then I also love Chenonceau, Chaumont, Azay le Rideau …

  3. Even with scaffolding, that chateau looks dramatic!

  4. Pingback: Taking the Bike Ferry across the Loire between Blois and Chambord – Loire à Vélo | Aussie in France

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