George and Jean's Tandem Tour in France July 1999:
Loire Valley and Suisse Normande

A very abbreviated summary of our first tandem tour in July 1999. From Saumur we were joined by our friends Jim and Barbara Weisbecker on their Moulton Jubilees.


start from


Night at


Wed. 21 July



Mme Michau, le Moulin de Vouvray 28200, St Denis le Ponts. 02 37 45 22 07

Gallardon - saw tower and market; picnic by a wheat field; Chateaudun. Very friendly hostess at lovely old water mill which they had spent 20 years renovating - the wheel works. As we were biking, she gave us an impromptu supper with excellent wine. Her son lives on a péniche in Paris. Zola's la Terre set in area.


Vouvray nr. Chateaudun


Elisabeth Tondereau, les Bordes, Crucheray, 41100 Vend™me. 02 54 77 05 43

Followed R. Loir, on minor roads via Cloyes. Afternoon looking round Vendome. Dinner and night at working farm - husband out doing wheat harvest. They also grow rape seed and sunflowers.


Crucheray nr, Vendome


Lecomte, les Cedres, 20 rue de la Briderie, 41150 Monteaux. 02 54 70 20 09.

Morning at Blois (saw dragons and chateau). Crossed to south side of R. Loire, and followed river to Chaumont (a very nice chateau on a hill above the river). Crossed Loire again. Night at Monteaux, meal in Mesland.


Monteaux nr Amboise


Mme Pontreau at Artannes sur Indre. Unfriendly hostess and only one WC for 4 rooms.

To Amboise - saw chateau and had picnic in square. Left R. Loire, through Forest of Amboise to R. Cher and Chenonceau whose chateau spans the river. Crossed the hill to R. Indre. Night at Artannes. Eat charcuterie, pizza and patisserie at a friendly bar.


Artannes nr Azay le Rideau


Emmanuel and Catherine Bastid, La Bouère Salée, rue Grange Couronne, 49400 St Lambert de Levées.

Azay le Rideau chateau with lake - as impressive as Chenonceau. Through forest of Chinon to R. Vienne and Chinon with its old chateau and town on slopes. Rode along R. Vienne to Montsoreau where it joined the Loire. Passed Chateau de Parnay but disn't stop for wine tasting. Night at La Bouère Salée, an old town house near Saumur where we had a suite incluing kitchen, bathroom, sitting room and bedroom. Very friendly hosts who are still doing it up after 15 years. He runs health food stores. Meal in Saumur which was just finishing "Carousel 99" - an equestrian festival - live music was being played everywhere.




La Bouère Salée,

Spent most of day looking round Saumur and its chateau. Jim and Barbara arrived. Meal at Grand Bleu near M. Bastid's shop.




Jean-Louis Huez, le Plateau, rue Esperanto, 49460 Montreuil-Juigny. Tel 02 41 42 32 35

Along south side of R. Loire, picnic by river. Into Angers, saw outside of fortified old castle and deer in moat. Night at old ivy covered house outside new town of Montreuil-Juigny. Host seems to be M. Montreuil-Juigny - rue named after him. Meal in his son's restaurant by windmill. But M. Huez was friendly, served breakfast and suggested towpath route.


nr Angers,


Marie Therese and Leopold Nay, le Cruchet, 53600, Mezangers. Tel 02 43 90 65 55.

Rosaline rode with us as far as Chateau Gontier - a nice ride along a towpath and quiet roads near R. Mayenneon to Evron as a visit to very fine Laval or Mayenne would have made the distance too great. The Chambres d'Hote was a 400 year old stone manor with slate roof and we slept in a large beamed room up a tower. Meal in a nearby restaurant.




Merten, 34 rue de la Magdelaine, 53250 Couptrain. Tel 02 43 03 84 94.

On the phone, the hostess offered a room she didn't normally let and suggested there might be another. Barbara was sure another room would be available and when we arrived, Mme Merten said she would let us have her son's room as they specialise in 'dépannage'. But we should come back when her husband had finished fixing the bathroom. M. Merten is an ébeniste, a music lover, has a pet sparrow Icarus and is quite a talker. They gave us a glass of Poiré on terrace. Good meal at local restaurant with Trou normande.




Hotel Lion Verd, 61210 Putanges-Pont-Ecrepin, Orne. Tel 02 33 35 01 86.

Breakfast with English couple who plan to buy property in Normandy. M. Merten entered with pitchfork saying he was the devil. Hilly ride through fine forests of oak and beech trees via Ferté Macée. Arrived in Putanges via a very steep down hill. Jim rode back up that hill. Hotel is stone building by bend in R. Orme. After looking round Putanges, we took a rather hilly route to lake Rabodanges where we swam. Good meal in hotel.





Very hilly circuit in Suisse Normande following R. Orme via Pont d'Ouilly to Clécy, Picnic at Roche d'Oetre with a view of the gorge. Lots of cows, green fileds and hills, but not really quite Switzerland. Another swim in the lake. Meal at hotel followed by a ride on the Orme in paddle boats.




Gilles le Tassec, 53 route de Paris, 61300 Chandai, 02 33 24 15 53 (nr. l'Aigle)

Via Argentan where B and J bought salmon paté for picnic lunch which we had by a cross at Exmes. Evidence of Normandy landings. Went to Museum of June 1944 in l'Aigle. The Ch. d'Hote was a working farm backing onto the RN26, but the newly decorated rooms were very comfortable and quiet. Meal in up-market restaurant which gave us extras including trou normande. The hosts agree to give B and J breakfast at 6am so that they could get off early for Raizeux.


Chandai, nr. l'Aigle


Demory, la Ranconniere, 20 rue de Monthule, St. Germain sur Ayre

G and J had breakfast at 8.30 served by M. le Tassec. We were let into a village church at Bourth by the priest, then stopped at Vermeuil which has many timbered houses and a fine old church. Had picnic at very nice spot by R. Avre, which we were following all afternoon. Fantastic Ch. d'Hote - small creeper covered square stone house with dark beams inside. Open plan kitchen/sitting downstairs. bed and bath upstairs. M. Demory bought the old farm 20 years ago an d restored it. He uses the barn as a pottery studio. We cooked our supper at the house and the first rain started to fall and continued all night.


St. Germain nr. Dreux



On the way into Dreux we noticed our back tyre was bulging. The tourist office lady told us the local bike shop was closed and looked after the tandem while we looked round - the royal chapel was closed but we saw the cathedral and the belfry. The bike shop outside town was closed when we got there, but the tyre lasted. We followed R. Eure to Nogent le Roi which is another fine old town. Last lap along the D4 to Epernon.







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