It has definitely been a strange year with so many plans for the year put on hold, days spent homeschooling and trying to get used to lots of changes. We were very lucky to manage a quick trip over to France to visit my Mum and while we were there we couldn’t resist a mini trip on the bikes.
Bikes all ready to go but this time there was a change…
Pippi has traded in the trailer for a bike and the follow me tandem….
….and Mia is on her own. With 26 inch wheels she can no longer hitch a ride on the back of us, so it’s all up to her and her own pedal power!
We were not 100% sure how the new system would work, how far Mia would be able to cycle or how long Pippi would be happy sitting on her bike for? The Loire Valley felt like a perfect place to test everything out. With wonderfully traffic free roads , relatively flat terrain and a good weather forecast we set off to try it all out.
As this was all a bit of a last minute trip we hadn’t sorted out any maps and for the first time thought, it will be fine, we can just get by with google maps on our phones! Are you sure this is the right way?
Google certainly found us the traffic free routes……
but unfortunately they didn’t always turn out as we hoped. No way through this time!
Eventually we wiggled our way out of the fields and forests and found our way to the little lanes between the vineyards heading for our first camp spot.
Saint-Nicholas-de-Bourgueil. Unfortunately my Godmother wasn’t at home due to a broken wrist! But she very kindly let us camp in her garden.
Down time after a successful first day cycling, we managed just over 30 miles and no complaints!
Mia rode brilliantly even when the route got pretty tough…
…sand is never a cyclist’s friend!
Pippi kept us entertained with her songs and her jokes and …
….unbelievably they still had energy for a game of shadow chasing!
Happy holiday faces.
Up early and back on the road, and of course the first stop..
…..the boulangerie for the biggest Pain au Raisin!
It was an easy morning’s ride to the beautiful town of Chinon on the banks of the Vienne, we set up our tent in the hiker bike site and had plenty of time to wander around.
The old town is beautiful and although we have been here before it was still a pleasure to walk the little streets.
Amongst beautiful buildings and shady corners. Chinon was a favourite resort of French kings and their nobles beginning in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and you can still see why.
Off the bike and running wild in Chinon!
Perfect after sightseeing snacks!
Pip Willow potion making.
and Mighty Mia story writing.
It’s a hard life!
Breakfast in the square, this is one of the best parts of being on the bikes the freedom to stop whenever you want or need. Towns and villages always provide the chance to pick up supplies, and a treat to have cold milk on your muesli!
Leaving Chinon, a lovely wiggle through the cobbled streets before a very steep climb to the top of the town, we made it to the top and were soon back on the cycle route, La Loire à Vélo an amazing family friendly 900 km of countryside trails, alternating cycle paths and quiet roads traveling from one château to the next, following the course of the Loire….
..through sunflower fields
The beautiful Château d’Ussé that inspired Charles Perrault to write his fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty”. Much to the girls delight it was open as we cycled past so we decided to visit the fairytale palace.
The castle is beautifully decorated with different scenes happening in each room. Every year a different period of costume is put on display. The turrets are all set with scenes to tell the tale of sleeping beauty.
Château d’Ussé. Admiring the beautiful tapestries.
With its perfect picnic spots.
Cooling off and watching the fish.
Leaving the official cycle route we crossed over the Loire to head back towards my Mums. Through the lovely town of Langeais and its Chateau, one of the earliest castles along the Loire, built in the 10th century although it had to be rebuilt after the hundred years war. (We didn’t have a chance to visit the castle as we cycled past but as it is only 20km from Luynes we came back a few days later.)
It was pretty hot riding but ice cream stops and the thought of…
..being able to dive into Granny’s pool kept us going!!
Back in Luynes we had a lovely few days relaxing..
….trying out a different set of wheels….
and eating a ton of cheese!
Hot days and sleepy villages, we were lucky to have a great chance to escape and find a little bit of peace in this strange and uncertain time. (Although I did spend a lot of the time wondering and worrying if we would be self isolating when we came home!)
The girls were brilliant they made it a real pleasure, and now we know how the new set up with the bikes works the next cycle trip is already in the planning!
and Pippi Willow!
We had just enough time to stop at the beach..
for a swim and a sunset before heading home on the euro tunnel.
…. and looking forward to next time!