Monday, July 1, 2013

Charente Cycle Route 35C

French village diaries cycling charente route 35c
Charente Cycle route 35 
Yesterday the weather was just perfect for a family afternoon on the bikes. We chose the Charente route number 35 that starts in Montignac, but we parked the car in La Chappelle and started at the half way point as this is closer to home. As with all these routes there are three distances; 5km, 27km and the one we did of 43km. This is a beautiful route that often follows the river Charente, where we were entertained by dancing dragonflies, and also criss-crosses the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The hedgerows were often a spectacular clash of red poppies and cerise pink wild rambling sweet peas. We had hoped that when we reached Montignac we could stop for our customary beer, however the two bars we found were both closed and we suffered more disappointment in the next town of Vouharte as their bar was also closed. However as it was a Sunday afternoon I guess this is to be expected in rural France.


French village diaries cycling charente route 35c
La Chappelle, Charente

French village diaries cycling charente route 35c
The high speed railway LGV works
At the moment the railway works, that are cutting a high speed rail link from Tours to Bordeaux, have eaten a small section of this bike route too. The D116 to Vervant doesn't exist, but by continuing on to Xambes we were able to pick up the route signs again.

French village diaries cycling charente route 35c
Up close at a wind turbine
Up on the high ridges we could watch the buzzards soaring on the thermals and also took a detour to investigate one of the many wind turbines that are in the area. They are huge! Quite spectacular, but the creaking and groaning as the paddles slowly ambled around was a little disconcerting when you were stood underneath.

French village diaries cycling charente route 35c
St Amant de Boixe
The town of St Amant de Boixe, somewhere we have not visited before, was home to a very impressive church and abbey and is on the marked pilgrim route the Chemins de St Jacques. In the grounds of the abbey is a rest house for those on their pilgrimage to Spain, the key being available for a small fee of 3.50€. We often see cyclists and walkers in this area who are displaying the clam shell sign of the pilgrims and I will admit to finding this really fascinating.

French village diaries cycling charente route 35c
St Amant de Boixe
Just outside of Montignac the route followed a pot-holed track and poor Blue Belle got a puncture when I failed to steer her out of the most enormous pot hole. Thankfully my hero was on hand to save the day and fit a new inner-tube. We did try to repair the puncture, but it was too severe! 

French village diaries cycling charente route 35c
My Hero!

This route will be a stunning ride in a few weeks time when the sunflowers (and hopefully the bars too) are open.