Village Festival

October 5th

The sky is blue but the temperature has dropped tremendously because of the rain in the night.

The bike track follows the Loire upstream Vilandry without being disturbed by cars.

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Our plan is to stay overnight in Amboise but no way to find a place – and the campsite is already closed for the season.

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In Mosnes we find a huge parking, at the moment rather full because something is going on in the village. The festival “fete de St-Coin” is still going on. Neither Domy nor Yves are able to find out what it is all about. People are dressed up and musicians are in the streets. It is 17.30 but the bars are closed. Very difficult to get something to drink!

In the middle of the village a small band plays music and people are dancing – actually a very strange feast!

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Saumur and Turquant

October 4th

The sky in the morning looks beautiful but color in the morning means rain in the evening.

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The market in Saumur offers all what you can think of: meat, fruit, veggies, seafood and of course oysters.

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Yves knows a nice campsite in Turquant, Above the village some artists live in the tuff caves.

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For dinner we enjoy the oysters together with the white wine given as a gift by lady in the vineyard.

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Unfortunately our weather forecast from the morning proves right. It gets really chilly and it starts to rain.

Red wine, rosé and barbeque

October 3rd

By midday we are united again. The weather is beautiful, ideal for biking.

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In Gennes we come acrossa butcher who sell us a nice piece of meat and gives us a recommendation for a vinery on the way. We try red and rosé and both are superb.

One of each for our dinner – it is so difficult to transport more on the bike. We will come back tomorrow.

Barbeque and wine from the Loire valley…

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Chateau d’Angers, a royal fortress

October 2nd

The black-and-white fortress walls made of slate and tuff are distinctive, it is the most powerful fortress a French king ever has built for his lieges. 17 round towers form the outside of the fortress which can be entered via two gates.

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All the towers used to have a cone shaped slate roof. During the religious war they all got beheaded and changed into platforms for the artillery. The only one which has still its original height is the “Tour de Moulin” – which today offers a beautiful view across the river to the suburb of Doutre.

 

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From the fortification wall one can see the cathedral above the city.

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Inside the Fortess is a separate space for living houses. The chatelet is the entrance gate to the mansion and the chapel.

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The Gallery of the Apokalypse: The tapestry cycle of the apocalypse of Angers impresses by its measurements of 103 m length and 4.5m heights. Originally the masterpiece was even more impressive: each of its 6 elements was 6m high and more than 23m long – a total length of 140m. It is the largest tapestry ever woven in Europe. It has been made between 1373 and 1382. During the baroque period nobody cared anymore about this treasure. During the French Revolution the tapestry has been cut to pieces and used as covers or tarpaulin to protect orange trees during winter time. In the middle of the 19. century the bishop of Angers bought some of the fragments back, others have been found after insistent searching. Nevertheless about a third of the original tapestry is lost forever.The building were the tapestry is displayed nowadays has been erected 1953-54 specially for this purpose.

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Angers

October 2nd

The campsite lies outside of Angers but the 6 km bike track to the center leads along a lake.

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The huge fortress built of slate and tuff dominates the city.

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The cathedral is also enormous.

The five-storey timber house “Maison d’Adam” falls immediately into view. It is the most beautiful of the 46 timber houses of the inner city.

By the fancy wood figures Adam and Eve are missing, they have been removed because of their explicit nudity.

The 54m high “Tour Saint-Aubin is the clock tower which belonged to the Abbey-St-Aubin. It was also part of the town fortification.

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Galerie David d’Angers: The roof of former church of the Augustinian Abbey was replaced by a glas construction in 1984. The old nave became a  modern museum._DSC2459_new

Across the old Verdun Bridge lies the suburban Doutre,

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It is also an very old part of the city with many timbered houses.

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From Nantes to Angers

October 1

Again a thick layer of fog covers the Loire. But we don’t care and hop in Oudon on our bikes. And sure enough the sun comes out and offers us a beautiful day! The bike track to Ancenis is undisturbed by cars.

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In Ancenis we stop for lunch and before biking back we visit the small city. Of course there is a chateau…

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As well as some nice houses and an impressive bridge.

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Back in Oudon we change once again the river’s side. Champtoceaux lies at an altitude of 70 m (!!!) and offers a great view above the stream landscape.

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Yves and Domy visit Yves’ mum in Angers tonight. Tomorrow they will take the train back to Orleans because of an appointment. They will be back the day after.

Les Machines de L’Ile

September 30

Nantes hosts a very peculiar museum. “Les Machines de l’île” is a totally unprecedented artistic project. Born from the François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice’s imagination, it is at crossroads of Jules Verne’s “invented worlds”, of the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci, and of Nantes’ industrial history, on the exceptional site of the former shipyards.

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The Grand Elephant: The mechanical elephant is 12 meters high, 8 meters wide and 21m long, made from 45 tons of wood and steel. It can take up to 50 passengers for a 45-minute walk. It looks quite strange to see this huge creature walking around.

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Galerie des Machines: A heron with a 8-metre (26-foot) wingspan, with passengers in tow, flies over the large-scale model of the Tree of Herons planted in the middle of the Galerie. Real plants grow next to mechanical ones, and if you are lucky you might be asked to control the treetop animals.

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The “Tree of Herons will be the next big project – by now it exists only as a model. It will be 30 m high with real plants and mechanical animals.

The Marine World’s Carousel: This giant carousel, almost 25 m (82 ft.) high and 22 m (72 ft.) in diameter, is a reinvention of fairground art. Three carousels are stacked in concrete lacework,
crowned by a Big Top that is itself adorned with pediments, and guarded by 16 fishermen from all the world’s oceans.

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We only saw it from the outside because we didn’t want to queue.

 

Nantes, the capital of Brittany

September 30

In the morning we have thick fog, means we can see almost nothing of the large bridge to St-Nazaire. But it doesn’t take too long and we can see bits of the enormous bridge._DSC2131_new

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The campsite of Nantes is right next to the camping place, but it is a totally different organization, means no electricity, no water, no disposal – nothing! If we would have known we would have gone in the camping place – but nobody was there to ask, we only had to pay with our card…

Nantes is no. 6 size wise in France and also the capital of Brittany. It is located at the meeeting of Loire and Erdre. Our bike track to the center leads always along the bank – nice!

The old houses of the shipping company owners on Ile de Feydeau are evidence of the former wealth of the city.

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We bike through the lively city to the Chateau of the Ducs of Brittany. The most grand epoche was undoubtly the reign of Duke Franz II, who lived a truly royal life style.

The present building has been started by him and carried on by his daughter Anne de Brittany. She can be seen everywhere in the area.

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The cathedral St-Pierre-et-St-Paul

Not far away we can see the Tour de Lieu-Unique, part of the famous French cookie factory LU.

Some more pictures of the center of Nantes:

The famos Brasserie “La Cigale” is one of the protected buildings of Nantes.

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To the Atlantic Coast

September 29

During the night it is very humid. And early in the morning it starts to rain – not a good idea to stand on wett grass! Quickly we jump out of bed to bring the campers in a better position. And sure enough on of our campers goes solid.

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We have to wait till it is light, then with concentrated strength we move the vehicle in a better position to be able to roll again.

We had already thought about it but under these weather conditions our plan for today is fixed: We will go to the Atlantic Coast! And here it is sunny!

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The parking in Bernerie-de-Retz is nice, there is a beautiful beach and only a few kilometers to the next harbour Pornic. No problem with the bikes!

Such a harbour doesnt look particularly nice at low tide.  The boats don’t swim in the water but sit in the mud.

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Even we are not in Belgium the speciality here is “moules et frites”. For me a rather strange combination but it tastes good.

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Lenin Café

September, 28

The view from Montjean-sur-Loire across the valley is gorgeous!

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In the city we found a couple of “Big Heads”:

From here a bridge leads to the largest Loire island (11km) Ile de Chalonnes. First we explore it with our bikes. There are horses and cows and a few farmhouses.

And one of the very few beer gardens in France: the Lenin Café!

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Outside they have a few table where you can sit and drink, inside a museum with mingle-mangles from Russia!

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And what is best: we can camp behind the café next to the red canon!

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