The last riding day has come! But we still have 230km to go! We decide to cover the distance mostly on the highway since we want to visit Rouen with its beautiful city center and the Monet gardens in Giverny
Today we leave St. Malo and the Bretagne to reach the Normandie! Our first stop in the morning is also our highlight of the day, Mont Saint Michel! A stunning fortified abbey built on a little island just half mile out in the ocean. Nowadays it is possibile to reach it just by bus or by walk...if the high tide is not covering the road! We reach it in the very morning when it's not all to busy and so we managed to walk up the "almost" 3 thousend (hahahah) steps with no traffic. For lunch our tourguide Tony prepared a superbe picnic with a view on the Unesco World Heritage site. The afternoon ride takes us on backroads til the town of Arromanche les Baines along the coast where the DDay found place.
An incredible morning light wakes us up...what a beautiful place to start a day on a motorcycle! We leave Carantec and ride along the coast towards Lannion and after a quick coffee stop we head towards the house between the rocks...a private house literally built between two gigantic rocks just next to the ocean. For lunch we stopped in Paimpol and luckily we found a restaurant just by the harbor, but the best has still to come! Soon we reach cap Frehel with its two lighthouses (the small one built in 1650 and the second one just 70 years ago). The road there is incredible, it's like being off the coast of California! The weather is perfect, 35* C*, and we head towards our hotel in the beautiful town of Saint Malo. If you have been to France and you never visited Saint Malo, than you missed one of the highlights!
It's time to say goodbye to Carnac and head north. Our ride takes us first towards Pont Aven, centre of the the french Impressionist movement, then, after a coffee and some excellent chocolate (thank you Moon-hui!) we continue our ride to Locronan. This charming 15th century village, named after the Irish Saint Ronan, is officialy rated one of the most beautiful villages in France. We wander through the cobblestone streets towards the church with its beautiful stained glass windows, then hop on the bikes for a short ride down towards the coast. Here we find Malcolm, the van and an excellent picnic by the beach! We are sorely tempted by a nap on the beach, but innstead we carry on to the top of Menez-Hom, the highest peak in western Brittany. Thr ride continues on small country roads as we keep on heading north and arrive hot and thirsty in Carantec, where the hotel bar is open and the beer is cold. In the evening we enjoy a stunning meal with one of the best views of the tour so far. Another beautiful day in France!
Our first restday of the tour! The weather is perfect, warm and with no clouds and so almost everyone decided to spend the day between the town, the beach and the pool. Charles, Dominic and Diane decided to go for an incredible ride with Malcolm towards Josselin. They started watching the famous Carnac Alignements, an enormous number of prehistoric stones posed in a unique way. Already 5000 years ago the people could create amazing things with very little technological knowledge. Straight after they went to Saint Anne d'Auray, the second largest pilgrim destination in France. Luckily not many people were present and so they had time to visit everything. It was almost time for lunch so they rode til Josselin, a beautiful little village famous for its imposant castle!
Another beautiful day in the Bretagne
It's another beautiful day in France as we head into Brittany. We head into farm country north of the Loire valley and make head straight due west towards the Atlantic coast. St. Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire is an excellent stop for lunch where we not only enjoy some of the excellent seafood the Atlantic has to offer, but also visit the gigantic submarine pens built by the German Navy during the Second World War. From here it is back onto country roads into the salt flats of Guerande, home of the famous Fleur de Sel. Next we take a short jaunt on the highway to avoid the busy afternoon traffic of the French seaside in full holiday mode and arrive at one of the nicest hotels of the tour, the fantastic Hotel Tumulus in Carnac. After an excellent dinner climb to the top of a stone age burial mouns and watch the sun set over the ocean.
Our second day starts from Tours and we soon leave the city and it's traffic behind us. As soon as we reach the rural areas north of the city, spectacular roads are waiting fort us. Small villages, incredible scenery, churches everywhere, no traffic and incredibly chateau on spots we didn't even expect! After enjoyining the hills between Tours and Anger we reach the Le Mans racetrack and it's museum. The circuit was opened in 1923 and since then it hosts the 24 hours race. Probably the most legendary car race of the world and history. A long strech of the circuit it's actually on normal roads and we managed to ride on the famous Mulsanne Straight where cars could reach over 400 km/h / 250 mp/h before they slowed them down with 2 chichanes. MAGIC. The musem hosts around 140 cars and some of those are really unique. We started getting hungry and so we mouved to the center of Le Mans. A beautiful town with a lot of history and (another =) ) gothic cathedral. After lunch we decided to head straight to Angers in order to have time to see the Apocalypse Tapestry. An incredible piece of art painted in the 14th century. It is over 100m long (400feet) and 6m wide (20feet).
Our first day of the ride takes south out of the busy Paris suburbs towards the Loire valley. Our first stop is the beautiful Chartre cathedral, one of the best examples of early French Gothic architecture. High vaulted ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows give this giant edifice a remarkably light and airy feel which leaves us almost speechless. From here we continue on our way south and end up at Chateau de Chambord, one of over 1.000 castles and palaces dotted around the Loire river and a UNESCO world heritage site. We wander the grounds and enjoy the stunning Chateau, then continue our journey towards Tours, our stop for the night.
Our first day in France and it's time to go exploring. We set off for Paris for our Guided City Tour of this fantastic city. We begin our walk in the heart of the city, at the Ile de la Cite and take in the ruins of Notre Dame, sadly almost destroyed by fire less than a year ago. Next we walk around the island, past the Hotel de Ville, the beautiful Conciergie palace and end up at Place Dauphine for an excellent Cafe au lait. As we leave the the cafe. The skies open up and it starts to pour. We make our way through the rain to the Louvre, then decide to retreat into one of the many bistros for an excellent early lunch. Our timing is perfect, and we finish our lunch just in time to enjoy the first rays of sun that warm the Place de la Concorde. We wander through the Tuileries, the walk along the banks of the Seine and end up at the Eiffel Tower. From here we hop into a taxi back to Versailles, where we arrive just in time for our Welcome Briefing and the official start of our tour.