Geraint Thomas isn’t the only British cyclist in France!

John was determined to cycle the Ile de Re, across the bridge from La Rochelle, so that’s what we did…..despite grey, drizzly weather.

Not thrilled at the prospect, Kim worked out that a shuttle bus could get her back across the bridge if she was truly pathetic.

We set off, with John in the lead as you’d expect, Kim huffing and puffing behind, counting every lamppost she successfully cycled past. In case you’re interested, there are 65 lampposts from the start of the bridge until it levels out and 45 going downhill. Anyway, she made it without stopping and was rather proud of herself.

The villages of the Ile de Re are connected by a series of well marked cycle paths. Because of the weather, we didn’t go far, only from Rivedoux Plage to La Flotte, but we managed a few photo opportunities

Bromptons turned native with addition of a baguette.

Our route back took us past the ruined Abbeye Notre Dame de Re dite des Chateliers.

Then the bridge came back into sight. We hadn’t cycled far, only about 15 miles, so Kim didn’t even look at the shuttle bus, she was off.

There may only be 45 lampposts going back but it’s a lot steeper and, at one point, Kim thought her head would explode. She made it without a single foot touching the ground and almost caught a couple of cyclists ahead of her!

We decided Ruffec needed a revisit to view a property we’d dismissed as a money pit. It had character and potential so a viewing was arranged for tomorrow……..more about that later.

Back at Luçon, Kim visited the Jardins Dumaine, laid out in the late 18th century behind the Hotel de Ville. It’s not that large but a real oasis and well maintained, the gravel is raked daily and there was not a weed to be seen.

Next a tour around the main sights where we discovered that Luçon was a harbour town in the early 20th century and left stranded when the sea receded. It has a history of liquor making and still holds a popular market twice a week.

The evening was spent poring over house details, Ruffec was a three hour detour on our way home so it needed to be worthwhile.

We discovered the house only had windows at the front, no central heating, a dark dismal hallway and bathrooms which, despite so called ‘renovation’, are out of the 1970s. Viewing was cancelled!

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