Managed to drag Dave through not one but TWO chateaux this morning! The first was a Gothic fortified chateaux at Fougere sur Bievre, which I personally found ugly and not of great interest, so Dave agreed to go to a 'beautiful' chateax. The second was Cheverney, which was the inspiration for the Chateau of Captain Haddock for those of you that ever read TinTin. Now THAT is a Chateau!
See the photo's for comparison.....Left is Gothic, right is Renaissance
After that Dave was suffering from a nasty condition called 'Chateau Fatigue' and decided the only cure was to watch more bike racing! So off we raced, stopping only to take an obligatory photo of sunflowers, sadly it wasn't sunny so not the perfect shot but happy enough.
Our first village of choice to watch the tour was Chaumont sur Loire (where we took the photo of the Chateau yesterday), we found a bit of a hill and installed ourselves on a tiny strip of grass between the road and a drain with running water, slightly precarious but it worked. As you can see Dave managed to make himself comfortable.
With the slight incline the riders went past at a slower pace, so again a chance to see them up close. I took a cool video of Dave waving the flag as they passed but the wifi here is a bit slower so won't upload it.
Dave had made me park the car for a quick getaway, so as soon as the road cleared we scampered back to the car and headed off for Pellevoisin another tiny village closer to the stage finish so he could see the race again. We arrived basically the same time as the riders as there had been a big pile-up just before the village, Dave jumped out of the car and ran down to see the riders go past while I found a park (about 10 m from where I dropped him!). We watched the injured struggle past, some of them look dreadful, their faces are just a mask of pain (I know just how they feel!).
We then managed to find a Bistro in another village with a TV and watched the final kilometre of the race. It was then that we discovered that we still had 4 hours of driving to reach our B&B in the Grand Massif for the night - yikes! This was where our luck didn't hold and we hit a traffic jam, so it took us nearly an hour to get out of the TV village! And that was with the help of some Gendarmes directing traffic!
So dinner was at a stop off the autoroute where we refueled and grabbed a quick bite. Huge complex with space for hundreds and hundreds of people, at the hour we were there just a handful of people were eating. Still a hot meal, but nothing to right home about! When we got our diesel, Dave was thrilled to finally get to take a photo of a stock truck...so for you farmers here is a French stock truck carting dairy cattle!
The rest of the drive was a blur. The GPS took us on a merry drive through ridiculously small country roads which at any other time would have been lovely but at 9pm when we were due at 8pm and an hour left to go was not amusing! We finally made it at just after 10pm absolutely exhausted! Looking at the map after we got here we went the most indirect route possible, so not sure what Mrs Garmin (the GPS) was up to, but she nearly got thrown out the window!!!!
But moving on....this place, St-Sauvin d'Auvergne, is lovely and we're booked in for two nights so a bit more relaxed for the next couple of days. The race starts into the hills from here on so Dave is quite excited!