While we were in Blois I was keen to try and get to as many chateaux as possible, even if that meant just spotting them from the road, as I knew we wouldn't be able to go into all of them. In Blois and around the ones we chose to visit were Chambord, Cheverny and the Palace Royal du Blois, but there were plenty more on my list of potentials, including chateaux Beauregard and de Troussay.
So when I spotted they were both on what I've called the chateau loop - and is actually called Pays de Châteaux à Vélo or circuit number four, which is easy to follow with signposts along the way - I was quite pleased and I knew that on one of our Blois days we'd be doing that cycle.
From our base near the station in Blois it was around 33 miles, so a long days cycling as we spent some time visiting Cheverny and snuck in some winetasting too. Well, when in France...
This time as we left Blois instead of turning along we the river headed straight on towards the forest and Chateau de Beauregard, after first crossing a rather stinky (it must be said) wooden footbridge at Cellettes. No photos from there, as my nose was having a sensitive moment and the river at Cellettes was recovering from an overflow from the Loire. The footbridge was impressive and reminded me of cycling in East London's Bow Locks and I'm sure the smell was just temporary.
We cycled right up to the Chateau gates and contemplated stopping for a coffee, but managed to stay strong because it wasn't on our list. We tried to get a glimpse from the entrance and failed so I snapped the sign instead as proof of our visit.
Back onto the quiet roads and we were soon joining the loop proper and heading towards Cheverny. We stopped in the town at a farmers market, buying strawberries to supplement our lunch. The photo below indicates the market was empty, but it wasn't. When I got the camera out, everyone stepped back which was quite sweet of them, but completely unnecessary!
We cycled onto Cheverny and quickly found the bike racks. Having locked everything up our next stop was the toilets where we found about fifty more bike racks. And as we're collecting signs in this post, here's the Cheverny one. If you're cycling to Cheverny, there are plenty of bike racks so if the first smaller set are full, don't despair!
You thought I wasn't going to show you a picture of the chateau didn't you? I don't think I could resist; I love its elegant exterior, and its symmetry - it was also great inside and I'll share some photos of the interior soon. I hope you'll be as wow-ed and amazed as I was.
Not a bad view into the garden is it?
After walking round as much of the grounds and as much of the interior as we could, checking out the cafe and nipping into Maison du Vin for a wine tasting, it was time to get back on the bikes and complete the loop. And there was a fair bit still to do.
The next chateau we stopped at was Château de Troussay and this was our view from the road. It looks romantic doesn't it, and I kind of wished we'd chosen a smaller chateau to visit as well.
My disappointment was short lived though as we turned the bend I spotted what turned out to be a gîte. Parking the bike I explored a little closer on foot, much to MOH's amusement. I mean just look at that roof, the shape of the building, and oh that wall...
Prised away from getting the perfect shot we headed off again, not really getting very far before we saw this quirky little place. Knowing he was beaten we pulled up again and off I disappeared with the camera. It's actually part of a local vineyard, but doesn't it have character and charm?
Peering up the road I could see the more of the vineyard's buildings, but knowing time was getting on and we still had a fair few miles to cover to get back to Blois, and I was fading fast I headed back to MOH and my bike. The whole day was a longer ride than we'd expected, and at around 33 miles our longest cycle of the holiday so far. And if we didn't get pedalling there wouldn't be time for our ritual beer in the town as we arrived, and we couldn't be having that!
So while we set out to spot chateaux - and we did do that - as well as visiting Cheverny, the highlight of my day was these two quirky cottages which to me screamed Frenchness, and summed up what I love about France. And Cheverny is well worth a visit too!