All posts for the month August, 2018

Read Brian’s blog for what we did today.  Here are my pics from today.

Our first view of the Seine.

A barge coming down the Seine.  Da

Inside Saints-Chappel. The first of three churches we visited today.

One of the stain glass windows in Notre Dame.

Lunch on our last day.

Our final church, St. Severin. It is right behind Notre Dame.

It was a bright sunny day but not too hot.

The Arc de Triumph. A French monument to its soldiers from many wars.

Just finished our last dinner in France.  Au Renoir.

Starting at our hotel near the Louvre, we first visited Sainte-Chapelle built between 1242 and 1248 by Loius IX to house the relics of the passion of Christ, including the Crown of Thorns. From there we walked to the Cathedral de Notre Dame, impressive for its size. The most interesting thing we did was Crypte Archeologique, which told the history of the city of Paris by means of the archeological excavations near the site of the Cathedral and its environs. After a lunch at Saint Jacques cafe, Tim found his France pin for his bike saddle bag, and then we walked to Jardin des Tuileries, the gardens behind the Louvre museum. We had coffee there along with chocolate tarts, and Beth went back to the hotel. Earlier she had fallen, not too long after we had started out, and she wanted to get cleaned up and relax a bit. Tim, Mark and I made the deceptively long walk to the Arc de Triomphe, after which we returned to the hotel. In all we walked 10 miles today, and it feels like it!

The upper chamber of Sainte-Chappelle.

Standing outside the Cathedral de Notre Dame.

The stained glass windows of Saint Severin, which we visited right after lunch. They are notable for their differences with traditional stained glass windows.

Tim, Mark and I standing on Pont Neuf with the Eiffel Tower in the far background. I am glad we didn’t try to walk there!

Tim and I standing inside the Arc de Triomphe.

The right side of the Arc de Triomphe facing toward the Champes des Lices.

A final photo of the Arc de Triomphe before making the long walk back to our hotel.

Tomorrow we all fly home on the same flight.

Since Brian already posted his blog with the itinerary, I will share my pictures for the day.

Riding east along the Loire this morning.

This bridge was the turnaround point.

Mark’s idea for a neat picture on the way back.

Turning in our trustee steeds, Almost 450 K. No flats. Good thing because they didn’t provide any equipment to change a flat. Nada.

A couple shots outside the cathedral in Chartre. I loved the organ music that was played as we walked around and the stained glass in every window of the cathedral.

I have no idea what this represents but this is the ground below the wall in the previous pic.

Walking around Versailles

Not sure what Mark wanted this photograph.

The golden gates of Versailles. Last pic in Versailles.

This was our busiest day yet, with bike riding, site seeing, and traveling. We rode in Orleans and along the Loire for about 90 minutes in the early morning, returned the bikes, walked back to our hotel and had a second breakfast, checked out and then drove to Chartes for a visit to the really impressive Cathedral there. Afterward we drove to Versailles to visit the gardens and the grounds, and then drove to Charles de Gaulle airport to return the rental car. After that, we took a taxi to our hotel in Paris, checked in, and then went to dinner.  And now I will share the pictures of the day.

Stopping for a photo at a church on the Loire outside of Orleans.

Mark standing by our rental bikes as we returned them back in Orleans.

The front face of Cathedral de Chartres, built in its current image in 1194 A.D.

Stained glass windows at Cathedral de Chartres. All of the stained glass were removed in both world wars to protect them from bombing damage.

The altar with more stained glass windows at Cathedral de Chartres.

View of the vaulted ceilings in the Cathedral de Chartres. The organist played ecclesiastical music for most of our visit.

After a very pleasant and tasty lunch in an outdoor cafe right outside of the Cathedral de Chartres, we made the hour long drive to Versailles.

Standing outside the gilded gate at the entrance to Versailles.

View of the reflecting pool in the rear of Versailles.

Tomorrow we plan to do normal tourist activities in the Louvre section of Paris, which is where we are staying.



Another perfect day for cycling.  Overcast this morning and then sunny this afternoon.  We have really been lucky with the weather this year.  Another 70 K day which brings our total to 430 K with a little bit more riding tomorrow before we return the bikes.Plan is to then drive to Paris with stops at Chartre and Versailles along the way.

We also return the car at the airport tomorrow.  They say it is really difficult to drive in Paris.  If it is like what we have experienced so far, the French seem to change the name of the street every couple blocks.  That’s what we use street numbers for.  Just saying.

Today’s pics for the blog.

A view from outside our hotel in Blois.. We crossed this bridge and then headed to Chambord.

A picture from the brochure, sans scaffolding.

Erecting the scaffolding must have been a major engineering project.

The three bromigos.

Another view of scaffolding.

All in all, a very impressive place. We had to change out of our bike shoes in order to be able to enter the chateau.

We all concluded it was too ornate for our tastes. You may be wondering what happened to Brian and Beth. They ditched us.

Crossing the Loire on our way into Orleans.

Outside dining in Orleans. Restaurants didn’t open until 7 PM this trip.  The French like to eat late.

Mark taking one more picture of the Loire River

Our walk back to the hotel along the river. It was just after 9 PM

Today’s ride was not overly strenuous – it was a mix of two lane roads with cars, farm roads with almost no traffic of any kind, and bike paths.  We left our hotel shortly after 8 AM so that we could get to Chateau de Chambord shortly after 9 AM, which was when it opened, and we accomplished that.  Here are some photos of Chateau de Chambord, another creation of Francoise I, which he had constructed from 1529 to 1549, and mainly used to hunt on the grounds and to impress his visitors, including the Holy Roman emperor.

On the way into Chateau de Chambord.

One of the ceramic stoves used to heat the Chateau.

King Louis XIV, one of the Chateau’s occupants.

A view of the gardens from the rear of the Chateau.

The church at Chateau de Chambord, which I entered while mass was in progress for the feast of the Assumption. I only stayed for the gospel. Does that count?

After a lunch of coffee and a tomato and cheese baggett (which was excellent), we left to ride to Orleans. On the way, we stopped at Clery- Saint Andre, where there is a Basilica de Notre Dame de Clery, which is where the tomb of Louis XII is located, along with the heart of Charles VIII. Here are some photos of the Basilica.

Some of the beers we drank after getting to our hotel in Orleans.

After a shower and a nap, we walked into the restaurant district of Orleans and had wine, more beer, and a nice dinner.

At dinner in Orleans.

We walked back to our hotel along a running trail, marked with this symbol.

The trail back to our hotel after dinner.

Tomorrow is our last day of riding. 🙁



It was another perfect day for cycling.  We did 65 K with a pretty stiff cross/tail wind that wasn’t much of a factor.  Most of the ride was on macadam (roads) again today.  We can travel so much faster on macadam as opposed to gravel.

Brian and Mark had very minor falls when they couldn’t get their shoes unclipped after coming to a stop in Amboise because of pedestrians.  Mark insists he fell just to keep Brian  from suffering the embarrassment alone.  Since no one got hurt, I can say it was very comical.  A touch of the two stooges.

We ate a light lunch in the town of Amboise after touring the Chateau du Clos Luce, Leonardo da Vinci’s home the last years of his life, 1516 to 1519.  Worth seeing but perhaps a touch overpriced.  Beth was going to meet us but the parking was limited and she couldn’t get there in time because of a detour due to an accident.  She met us for lunch instead and then toured a different chateau while we pedaled off.

Beth passed us coming into Blois (tonight’s destination) but we were able to beat her to the hotel.  There is something to be said for traveling by bike in city traffic, especially when there are dedicated bike lanes.  I must say that throughout this trip, the motorists have been very courteous to bikers.  We assume many drivers also ride bikes.

Walked to a restaurant, as usual.  Beautiful vistas in this city.  So far, my prettiest city.  Didn’t bring my iPad to take pictures tonight.  Bummer.  Might be able to take a few as we are leaving tomorrow morning.

Today’s pics for the blog.

The brothers outside Leonardo da Vinci’s chateau.

Typical view of today’s bike path/local road.

My traveling partners still at da Vinci’s.

Brian at lunch. The chateau of King Francis I, the one Beth toured, is in the background.

Relaxing in the hotel bar after the day’s ride.  That carpet is really ugly!!

Tomorrow we plan to stop at Chambord, another chateau.  It’s kind of on our way to Orleans where we will spend our last night on the Loire River.   It’s hard to believe tomorrow is our last full day of riding.  It’s been a great trip.  We are thinking next year Germany and then the following year the Provence section of France.  We’ll see.

Hope you are enjoying the blog.

Two photos of de Vinci’s last residence, now the site of a museum about him.

It was a little difficult getting out of Tours due to some construction on the bridge that Google Maps wanted us to use to cross over the Loire. But once we got past that, it was pretty smooth sailing on a mix of asphalt farm roads and two lane highways. We made it to Amboise around 11:30 a.m., where we toured the Leonardo de Vinci museum, the last place that he lived and worked in before he died. Here are some photos of the museum. 

His workshop and laboratory were the most interesting part of the museum.

A copy of one of de Vinci’s masterpieces.

After touring the museum we went back down to Amboise and met up with Beth, and had lunch right outside the Chateau de Amboise. Here are some photos we took at lunch.

This lunch was excellent!

Beth and me at lunch. Please don’t tag Beth if you put this photo on Facebook – thanks!

Beth then visited the Chateau de Amboise while Mark, Tim and I biked about two more hours to Blois.

Mark and Tim on the road to Blois with the Loire River in the background.

Mark walking along the Loire River on the way to dinner from our hotel.

The outside of the Cathedral de Saint Louis in Blois, which we visited after dinner in Blois.

The interior of the Cathedral de Saint Louis in Blois.

Tomorrow we ride to Orleans after first stopping for a visit at Chateau de Chambord.

A great day of cycling.  75 k with a tail wind and almost no gravel/dirt paths.  Smooth macadam, some on roads (very little traffic) and the rest on bike paths.  We really liked Saumur.  A nice city but much smaller than Nantes and Angers.  There was a possibility of rain today but it only drizzled a few times.  Cloudy for most of the ride which is fine.

A shot break this morning. This was a typical bike path today.

Lunch time. It’s nice to have a picnic bench.

A view of the Loiree. Most of the ride was on a bike path built on top of a levee.

On our way into Villandry.

A nice meal in the cafe outside Villandry.

The three amigos.

Self explanatory.

Two shots of partofthe formal gardens. 52 K of box woods.

This is a photo of one of the rooms ceiling.

I’m not sure what they are discussing. Probably what flavor ice cream Brian wants tonight.

A view from the balcony of my hotel room.

A pic of the gardens.

Another view from my balcony.

The second part of the day was the tour of Villandry, built around 1535 and walking around Tours looking for a good restaurant and we found one with the help of the hotel staff.  Need to remember to ask the hotel staff every night.

Today’s ride was absolutely awesome! With the exception of only about 1 kilometer, where we were on cobblestones, our roads were either asphalt or concrete. We were almost always in sight of the Loire and we rode through beautiful farmland all day. Our only significant rest stop was on the outskirts of Villany, to which we returned and spent the afternoon after getting into our hotel and showering. Here are some of the photos from today’s ride.

At our rest stop just outside of Villany.

Biking along the Loire levy between Villany and Tours.

The view of the Tours train station from my room in Le Grand Hotel.

Beth drove us back to Villany where we had our best lunch of this trip and then toured the Chateau and the gardens at Villany. Here are some of the photos from our afternoon at Villany.

Mark and Beth while at lunch in Villany.

A view of the gardens at Villany from inside the Chateau.

Another picture of the gardens at Villany.

Threatening skies over Villany. We managed to avoid the rain.

The moat at the Chateau with trios blanc swans. 🙂

After spending about three hours at Villany, we went back to our hotel for a short nap, followed by dinner.

Tim and I at dinner in Tours. The beer and the wine are both Beth’s, who took this photo. 🙂

Tomorrow we ride to Blois and on the way we’re planning to stop at Leonardo de Vinci’s last residence, which is now a museum about his life and work.