Saturday, July 30, 2011

Angers to Gorron

We left Angers and the Loire river on Wednesday morning. Our goal was to hook up with the bike path along the Mayenne river and finish the day at Laval. We rode 37.5 kms before we got to Daon and the start of the bike path. It is not a paved bike path, but has a well packed fine gravel surface. It is a delightful bike path and the river scenery can't be beat.

There are many chateaus in close proximity to the river.

We saw these neat chain driven automobiles at a small town next to the bike path.

The Mayenne river locks were constructed in the 1800's and many are associated with old mill house locations along the river.

We stopped at Laval for the night and ate at a brasserie which had specialities from the Alsace region of France. We ordered the pork choucroute plate which was a selection of four types of cured or smoked pork and a wonderful sauerkraut. It really hit the spot after 87 kms of riding.

Thursday morning we left Laval and had to endure another 36 kms of gorgeous scenery along the Mayenne river.

The house pictured above is one of our dream chateaus. A beautiful house in a beautiful setting with waterfront access. It also epitomizes one of the things we've seen in France. The French seem to maintain the architectural style of the location in new buildings. There is clearly an addition to the old structure pictured above, but the new part has the same roof line and style. We have observed this same thing in the newer homes on the periphery of an old village; they will have the same roofline, roof tiles, and architectural style as the rest of the village. We were unable to make Fougeres on Thursday due to hilly terrain after leaving the river and another potentially long day (90 kms). We saw the sign for a chambres d'hotes and got directions in a small town called Brece. Madame Gisele Lebullenger welcomed us into her home with cold orange juice and water. As you can see, it was a serene and welcoming destination in the country.

Traveling along bike paths on the Loire and Mayenne Rivers got us thinking how much fun kayak trips on either or both rivers would be. Could there be a kayak journey through France in the future? Maybe after kayaking some of the Greek coast! So much to do!


J2 said...

I feel the pain of your having to endure such ugly, dreary scenery. And having to eat from the snack aisle of 7-11's, well, that just isn't humane.
I looked at your dream chateau and after see one after another in this and past posts I thought two things: 1) now THERE is a place I could actually LIVE in (great minds, etc), and 2) there is a LOT of money in this world controlled by so few of it's people. I guess the latter is a result of too much "breaking news" here.
And frankly, as you have been riding past all these lovely waterways, I too was pondering paddling.
Too bad all your photos aren't geotagged, it would make my following of your journey easier, but then as you find, often having to wander off your planned destination is half the adventure.

Dave and Belinda said...

Hey Joel, it's a tough job... but someone has to do it! We have ridden past many places we could actually live in, mostly in the countryside but a few in towns as well. The nice house on the river was actually in town but just happened to be right on the river. We mostly like the old stone farm houses. Yes... there's the country & western song that goes very much like this: " all the gold in California is in a bank in Beverly Hills in someone else's name". Both the Mayenne and Loire would make great paddles. The Mayenne a little slow due to the locks, the Loire faster as it has a current about like the Sacramento. And wandering is fun even on Google Earth.