Either we're rubbish at map-reading or there really is a lack of decent signs along this stretch - we had to have frequent stops to check our position and this was frustrating and resulted in a stop-start sort of ride. The surface of the trail - when we did find it, varied from wonderfully smooth tarmac to rough chippings which were hard work with a loaded bike and one of the reasons why people riding lightweight bikes aren't prepared to take the chance and opt, instead, for the village roads.
Following the trial can also be a little 'same-y' as you are literally riding along the levée on the banks of the Loire - very lovely but not very varied. If you want to engage with the picturesque villages you need to go 'off-piste', something we will do next time. That would also give you a better chance of finding food outlets, bars, restaurants etc. However, the huge plus for us travelling in June/July was being mobbed by butterflies as we cycled through a corridor of wild flowers - simply wonderful..
Taking the decision to cycle east to west has meant riding into the prevailing wind which has been a bit of an issue. It's never been that hard but it has been constant - however, carrying 16kgs each seemed to help as we have been able to ride quite smoothly into it. The big advantage of our choice of direction, apart from the psychological advantage of riding towards home, is that we always had the morning sun behind us and the afternoon sun to our left, the only problem with this being the rather bizarre sun-tan. We usually arrived at our campsite no later than 5 p.m. so never had the sun set ahead of us - at this time of year it's light till gone 10:30p.m. by which time we were all tucked up in our tents....
|UK post-box in Jargeau...|
|Church of St. Etiénne|
The municipal camp-site was green, shady and level with modern shower-blocks, even though there seemed to be very few showers for the size of the site. An extremely pleasant place for a stop-over.