Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cycle friendly gîtes in Deux-Sèvres

Cycle friendly gîtes in Deux-Sèvres French Village Diaries
Cycle friendly Gîtes, La Chandurière
Adrian was away working in the UK for almost three weeks in February, home to enjoy (not) a week of rain and then away for another three weeks in March. So it’s fair to say we haven’t spent a lot of time together so far this year.

French Village Diaries Niort salon du vin et gastronomie
Wine from the Salon du Vin et Gastronomie, Niort
On the last weekend of March, within three days of him returning we had spoiled ourselves at the Niort salon du vin et gastronomie, and then packed the car and the bikes and set off to check out La Chandurière, two cycle friendly gîtes in the Gâtine area of central Deux-Sèvres. Here apple orchards, rolling hills and sweet-faced cows give a totally different landscape to where we live, even though we were only an hour and half drive from home.

Cycle friendly gîtes in Deux-Sèvres French Village Diaries
Sunny room with a view, gîte Au Cocoorico
From the minute we got out of the car in Fran’s driveway, the view drew me in. As a tourist I was spellbound at the green hills rolling away in front of me, however as a cyclist I was wide-eyed in horror at the thought of cycling up the view. Fran has put a lot of thought and effort into making sure everything you need is waiting for you at the gîtes, including secure bike storage, a bath, a fully equipped kitchen, homemade jam and enough cleverly planned route ideas to keep you busy for at least a week. With two gîtes on site this would be a great location for anyone looking for a group cycling holiday. You can read my full review and find out more about staying here by clicking this link to Freewheeling France.

Cycle friendly gîtes in Deux-Sèvres French Village Diaries
Three of the Tour Four, Tour de Rêves, Charity bike ride Deux-Sèvres

Sarah and Rob, our cycling buddies for the upcoming Tour de Rêves, our charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres, live in the area, so we combined our visit with a group training ride. The Tour route Adrian has planned includes an off-road stretch along a Voie Verte, (a green route, often used to describe a cycle path along a disused railway line). Some of these are tarmac, some smooth but gravelled and some just grass and dirt tracks. Our road bikes don’t like the uneven dirt tracks; so it was important to know what this stretch was like before our weary legs and luggage-loaded bikes hit it on our final day of the Tour. Thankfully it was superb. Wide enough to chat as we cycled along, smooth surfaced and without pot holes and with only the merest hint of the inclines in the landscape around us.

Cycle friendly gîtes in Deux-Sèvres French Village Diaries
Beer in Bressuire

We stopped for a beer in the sun in Bressuire where Rob had the great idea of adding some excitement by taking the road back to Moncoutant. He knew this area is much hillier than we are used to and I’m guessing he wanted to see just what we were made of and test us on some real Gatîne terrain. While Rob hung back, smiling I’ve no doubt, Adrian climbed with grace and ease while I puffed slowly up the hills, waiting for the whoosh of air as Rob sped past so that he and Adrian could wait for Sarah and I at the top of each hill. I certainly take my hat off to the railway engineers of old who managed to smooth out the land and create a flat and easy railway line.

Cycle friendly gîtes in Deux-Sèvres French Village Diaries
Cycling the backroads around St Paul en Gâtine

The following morning we tried out one of Fran’s routes from the gîte, a 22km ride where we experienced the quiet back roads and lots more hills, that weren’t as scary as they looked. It was just lovely to leave behind our parental responsibilities (Ed was away at lycée), village meetings (me) and work/commuting (Adrian) and just take off and spend some time together.

This break yet again renewed my love for France, proving we don’t have to travel far, or be away for very long, to be surrounded by different landscapes, flora and fauna, that together with sunshine and fresh air, recharge the senses and the batteries. 

This post has been linked to Lou Messugo's All About France Blog link up. Click here to read more.

Lou Messugo

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