I imagine that not everybody understands the scale of France. It isn’t huge by world standards but it’s certainly big by ours. It has a similarly sized population to Britain, about 60 million, but is about 2½ times the area. Britain is overcrowded; France much less so.
Having begun with a couple of blistering (for Europe) days with crystal clear blue skies, we set off à bicyclette to visit Loches. Loches was a Loire valley fortress and still boasts two 15th century gates into the old town. Clearly we are not in a high tourist area and it isn’t high tourist season. We may be a little off the beaten track but there really were a staggeringly small number of vehicles beating our particular track. It was 16 miles to Loches (we’d underestimated the distance!) via quite narrow country lanes but we saw only about a dozen other vehicles en route. I’d challenge anyone to find such a quiet road mid-morning in England. The relatively empty French countryside makes cycling a pleasure, especially without the potholes so popular back at home.
We passed through an inappropriately named village called Dolus-le-Sec where, despite its name, rain fell on us. We sheltered for 15 minutes or so under a tree waiting for the shower to pass and then continued on our largely unaccompanied way.
We stayed in Loches long enough to see the Logis Royal (Royal Lodgings), the old walled town and to sit out another passing shower along with a few fishermen trying their luck in the Indre river, before beginning to pedal our way back. Part way home, someone’s tired legs leapt of her bicycle, as much as tired legs could leap, that is, and snapped an intriguing plant that we had no clue about but which turned out to rejoice in the name of Tassel Hyacinth.
34 miles was a long trip for a first cycle outing and our poor old legs were feeling it just a tad by the time we returned. A shower and a reviving drink soon fixed most of that, though.