|Tour de Rêves route day four Parthenay to Thouars|
We slept well, woke up to sunshine and even had other cyclists to chat to over breakfast at the chamber d’hôtes. Unfortunately they had arrived in Parthenay from the north, via the Vélo Francette (the direction we were headed in) and all they could talk about were the relentless hills. I didn’t need to hear that.
|The view from our chambre d'hôtes in Parthenay|
I had woken elated that I’d slept well and as my legs had already carried me half way around the Deux-Sèvres I thought I was ready for anything. It soon became apparent I wasn’t. Before we’d even left Parthenay I’d given in and walked up one steep hill and walked down another. I was tired and we still had a long way to go.
|A pretty river scene at Gourgé|
We left Parthenay by the river, stopping to admire the goats grazing on the almost vertical ramparts and thanks to the extra four cyclists tagging along with us the mood was light and the conversation fun. It was a day of pretty rivers, water mills and even prettier stone bridges. There was so much to see, I’m sure this was what slowed me down (honest).
|One rather tired face ready to scoff her lunch in Airvault|
Lunch was a delicious and filling plat du jour in Airvault and the perfect fuel to keep me battling the hills of the north all the way to Luzay and the Trompe Souris Café. The steep and narrow road to the café was probably one of the scariest gradients imaginable, so I walked, but the café was certainly worth a visit.
|Refreshments offered by Trompe Souris Café|
Nestled among rock pools on the River Thouet, the views were amazing, there were comfy loungers and they had kindly offered us refreshments of beer and cakes. I felt so much better after our stop here it was truly magical.
|Arriving in Thouars|
There were more hills, more stunning views and more ancient stone bridges all the way into Thouars where author Alison Morton and her husband Steve were waiting for us, with food, comfy beds and chilled bottles of bubbly. These kind people had opened their home to us sweaty cyclists on their wedding anniversary no less. Thanks guys, your hospitality and fun conversation were much appreciated.
It was a tough 72km today, but the support we were receiving really helped and with four days completed we were two thirds of the way there and had cycled from the south to the north of the Deux-Sèvres.
The Tour de Rêves - a charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres department in France, undertaken by four mad friends, supported by many others, all with the aim of raising money for Rêves, a charity making dreams come true for seriously ill children.
To read the other posts about our six day adventure click the links below.