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Le Tour (well my version anyway)

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by wallabyhunter, 1 Apr 2008.

  1. wallabyhunter

    wallabyhunter New Member

    Location:
    Perth WA
    I know it's maybe the wrong time of year, I can't change that now. I will be in France (from Aus) in July - Aug 2008.

    Due to a number of circumstances, my route is going to be Nevers > Cours > Gien > Orleans >Blois > Tours > Saumur > Angers > Nantes > Saint Nazaire.

    Any thoughts on the route? Any "must do's" " must don'ts"?
    Any best experiences?

    gb
     
  2. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    Hi wallaby, if I may use your first name (:biggrin:), are you camping or hotelling? Are you pre-booking or on the fly?

    There may be an issue with availability of accommodation in some places during the French holiday season.

    I've Nevers (geddit) cycled that area but have driven through it numerous times and you really can't go wrong in France anyway. Obviously wine and chateaux and the Loire will all be worth indulging in. Don't drink the Loire though, stick to the wine ( I know what you Aussies are like!).


    You'll have a great time, there are numerous small roads to be as traffic free as possible and many small villages to enjoy.
     
  3. wallabyhunter

    wallabyhunter New Member

    Location:
    Perth WA
    Thanks Rich p I learned after I'd booked that it was the wrong time of year (accom etc), but the boss was gracious enough to give me 2 months off work, so I didn't argue.

    I'll be on the fly, I don't want to tie myself to being here on this date & there on that date, so I'm taking a light weight tent, but I'd rather have accom where I can talk to people, so Gittes or similar is prefered. The occasional park bench may be commadeered!

    I'd need to be Loire ;-) than a snakes belly to drink the river, I'll stick to the wine!

    Thanks for the reply
    gb
     
  4. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    Location:
    Suffolk.
    If you are taking a tent then you won't be stuck. France was made for camping and if you check out the "Municipal" camp sites that most towns have you won't go far wrong.

    As a family we camp most years in France and stay overnight in municipals on the way to our final destinations. Last year the most expensive was 16 Euro's per night and that was for 5 of us and included free showers / hot water etc. Take a toilet roll with you though ! :biggrin:

    Most towns have a tourist office so a good starting point if you want a bit more from your overnight accomodation.
     
  5. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    You'll have a wonderful time, it's that simple. Lots of people on this forum this France is second only to Heaven in the pecking order of places to live (I'm one of them) and you'll just love it! Good food, great wine and great people despite everything you'll here.

    Maybe you can do this already but if not, one 'must do' would be to learn French. Clearly you don't need to read Madame Bovery in the original but if there's one thing that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable, it's being able to have a basic conversation with the locals. Be able to ask directions, order from a menu, meet and greet, count and a couple of handy phrases like 'The cheese is spectacular round here' or stuff like that to open people's hearts to you!!

    Geographywise...there are some gobsmacking castles to check out (Chenenceaux is apparently spectacular, not sure of spelling). Take a memory stick for downloading your photographs onto and a map (roughly 1:200,000).

    Very jealous...I have to wait till September before I get back to France.

    And lessons from a recent (French) skiing disaster, take good travel insurance that will get you (and your bike) home, wear clean pants and paint your toenails (if you're a female wallaby) :biggrin: French hospitals are brilliant!
     
  6. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    "Mon aeroglisseur est rempli de gimnottes" was recommended to me for its all-round usefulness and I have always found it to be a good opener in any conversation with Johnny Foreigner.

    Many years ago I rode from Cherbourg to the Tourmalet and back, taking in some of your route. Must-dos are the bridge at St Nazaire (a graded climb on the Tour, and a scary ride with full camping rig in a cross-wind) and the relevant bit of the circuit at Le Mans, where IIRC you can indeed pedal down the long Straight on the touring car 24 hour course.
     
  7. wallabyhunter

    wallabyhunter New Member

    Location:
    Perth WA
    Wow, thanks for the prompt replies!

    I've been practising my poor French on some people @ work (I work for Michelin here in Aus) I also have a schoolboy level of French, just enough to embarrass myself! Funnily enough my wife asked about travel insurance last night, never bothered in the past, but 2 months on the bike is an accident waiting to happen without it I guess, thanks for the suggestion.

    My hovercraft won't be with me, but you have me on gimnottes! Is it something I should ask about in polite company? The bridge sounds good, wasn't sure if I could cross there or if I should cross earlier at Nantes.

    I will have the tent, a super light backpacking job, but I would rather stay in a more soiciable evironment, but then again, that time of year the campsites would be busy too I guess! Toilet paper that seems to be something missing in french facilities, I have been told of that elsewhere!
    thanks again all.
    gb
     
  8. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    For what it's worth I think camping is much more sociable - you are thrown together inevitably whereas sometimes it's very lonesome in a small French hotel
     
  9. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Yeah, what are gimnottes??
     
  10. xilios

    xilios Über Member

    Location:
    Maastricht, NL
    A couple days ago I came across this site of Municipal campings, that I've found very useful. It's also got winter campings and farmers campings, check it out.
    Hope it helps some :blush:
     
  11. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    This is another one you may find useful.

    At the risk of sounding evangelical I started touring a few years ago as a reluctant camper but my wife persuaded me to try it and unless the weather is awful I would hardly ever choose a hotel over camping now. Having said that, the small hotels in France are remarkably cheap, cycle friendly and charming to the point of quirkiness.

    http://www.campingfrance.com/index.jsp?lg=uk