The Tour de France started yesterday and…

… we are in France with our bikes. We leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Yesterday, our trip started with an exciting drive to Portsmouth for the overnight crossing to St Malo. We hadn’t even reached the M25 when our bikes suddenly disappeared from the rear view mirror. Luckily, the bike rack had simply folded away from the car and the only damage seems to be to one of Kim’s handlebar grips, most of which has been deposited on the surface of the outside lane of the M1. There was a minor altercation with a coach driver in Watford, regarding what constitutes a highway, when we pulled off the road to double check the bike rack. No blows were exchanged but there was a lot of gesticulating on both sides. Kim is considering whether or not one damaged handlebar grip makes her bike unusable.

Enough whining! We arrived safely in Portsmouth and, now, we’re in France. As always, John is completely enamoured with French roads and the 3.5 hour journey to Chinon passed effortlessly. Sadly we have to admit that we broke our journey at McDonalds. Our defence? They do make a reasonable tea and coffee. To compensate we enjoyed a typical french lunch in Chinon, recommended by a couple we met outside a cafe.

We are renting a small apartment in the 15th Century Quarter of Chinon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s very old and quaint with a layout only the French could dream up and complete with a toilet in a cupboard. Saying that, we both love it and could live here. When have you not heard us say that?

The location is excellent, above a Creperie in a very narrow street with a bar at the junction. We are based in the rue du Carroi which was the original major crossroad in the town. Parking, as with any historic Town, is an issue. We think the bikes are in a cellar somewhere around the corner but not really sure, and the car is partly parked in a hotel garage at the other end of town. There is an old tyre holding the garage door closed as it’s only just big enough to hold a BMC Mini. We have assessed the risk and think the Mercedes will still be there when we need it.

Our plans include visiting Villandry, Saumur and the chateau at Azay-Le-Rideau, probably by bike which seemed a good idea a few weeks ago!

John is keen to cycle from St Malo to Nice and has brought his book in the hope we might be able to say we have made a start and completed one stage. Kim has looked at it very, very carefully and, at a push, might be persuaded to attempt half a stage and consider a round trip from Fontveraud to Saumur – watch this space. Kim has also considered losing this book in the recycling!

2 thoughts on “The Tour de France started yesterday and…”

  1. Am I envious. Maybe my green visage gives a clue! It all sounds and looks fantastic. La belle France at its most belle. Do make time for Chenenceau. It is an amazing chateau. Between the creperei and the bar you seem well catered.
    Stay safe and enjoy.


    1. It is beautiful here. Not sure we’ll make it to Chenonceaux this trip, it’s over an hour away and filed away as a ‘must-do’ for the next time.


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