France Bike Trip

Solo Bike Tour Through Bretagne and the Loire Valley
The Indiana Cafe in Paris.  Funny what gets exotic once you get far enough away. The Indiana Cafe in Paris. Funny what gets exotic once you get far enough away. Mongolian throat singers outside the Centre Pompidou. Mongolian throat singers outside the Centre Pompidou.
Orléans.  Churches and cathedrals are central to French villages and cities.  Seeing a massive urban cathedral is a totally different experience after going past dozens of smaller churches in the preceding week. Orléans. Churches and cathedrals are central to French villages and cities. Seeing a massive urban cathedral is a totally different experience after going past dozens of smaller churches in the preceding week. The Cathedral of Orléans. The Cathedral of Orléans.
Cathedrale d'Orléans, north side. Cathedrale d'Orléans, north side. Dragonfly in the Forêt d'Orléans. Dragonfly in the Forêt d'Orléans.
Yevre-le-Chatel, a stronghold built in the early 13th century. If the Chateau at Bloise were a Lamborghini Murcéliago, Yèvre-le-Chatel would be an M1 Abrams tank. Around the end of the fifteenth century, the development of gunpowder and artillery, as well as the rise of the monarchy and getting the English out once and for all, led to a general foofification of French architecture. Yèvre-le-Chatel, pictured here, was built in the thirteenth century and so was much more military minded and inspired by what the French had learned about fortress-building during the crusades. The town of Villereau, on the Aulnay, a small tributary of the Loire. The town of Villereau, on the Aulnay, a small tributary of the Loire.
The Bastille Stop of the Paris Metro. The Bastille Stop of the Paris Metro. BART should get some more stylin' signs, don't you think? Lawson Conroy and I outside of the chateau at Boise.  Both of us being rather tourist averse, it was the only chateau that either of us visited while on our respective bike tours. Lawson Conroy and I outside of the chateau at Boise. Both of us being rather tourist averse, it was the only chateau that either of us visited while on our respective bike tours.
The church in Boise. The church in Boise. Statute over the entryway to the Chateau at Boise (pron. Bwaz). Statute over the entryway to the Chateau at Boise (pron. Bwaz).
Field of wildflowers outside of Boise. Field of wildflowers outside of Boise. Lawson with bike. Lawson with bike.
Chinon, a city actually on the Vienne, a tributary of the Loire. Chinon, a city actually on the Vienne, a tributary of the Loire. Musicians playing in the town square of Chinon. Musicians playing in the town square of Chinon.
My bicycle, loaded wtih panniers. My bicycle, loaded wtih panniers. A very common sight on my trip, the French hay bale. A very common sight on my trip, the French hay bale.
The Chateau of Saumur, from the 13th Century, back when they built these things for a fight.  Inhabited by the dukes of Anjou, the surrounding region. The Chateau of Saumur, from the 13th Century, back when they built these things for a fight. Inhabited by the dukes of Anjou, the surrounding region. According to Lonely Planet, 5% of the French population was living in these According to Lonely Planet, 5% of the French population was living in these "troglodyte" cave dwellings carved into soft rock near the river banks. Cool in summer, warm in winter, if you have another kid you just carve out another room.
Sunflowers were a common sight along the road.  They were all large and droopy, heavy with seed and soon for harvest. Sunflowers were a common sight along the road. They were all large and droopy, heavy with seed and soon for harvest. This is what I was looking at most of the time, five or six hours a day. This is what I was looking at most of the time, five or six hours a day.
More sunflowers. More sunflowers. Man fishing in the Loire.  They all just use these long poles, no reel. Man fishing in the Loire. They all just use these long poles, no reel.
The Loire Valley as seen from la Basse Ile, an island in the river about halfway between Ancenis and Angers. The Loire Valley as seen from la Basse Ile, an island in the river about halfway between Ancenis and Angers. Church in St. Pol-de-Leon, near where my boat landed in Roscoff, Bretagne. Church in St. Pol-de-Leon, near where my boat landed in Roscoff, Bretagne.
Twelfth century ruin of Penhoat, northern Bretagne. Twelfth century ruin of Penhoat, northern Bretagne. Church, probably in Plyber-Christ, but certainly somewhere in North Bretagne.  Every town had a church, and the size of the church seemed to have set the size of the town -- in stone -- centuries before. Church, probably in Plyber-Christ, but certainly somewhere in North Bretagne. Every town had a church, and the size of the church seemed to have set the size of the town -- in stone -- centuries before.
Port Louis, on the opposite side of Blavet Bay from Lorient.  This is now in Southern Bretagne, on the Bay of Biscay (the Atlantic). Port Louis, on the opposite side of Blavet Bay from Lorient. This is now in Southern Bretagne, on the Bay of Biscay (the Atlantic).