Though we always have a plan, we still try to stay flexible – for various reasons we ended up taking a rest day today.
Leaving Digoin, we also leave the Loire – we continue east whilst the Loire continues south. (As we cycled east, if we wanted to check if our direction was correct – we just had to make sure that we were going up, not down river.)
I had meant to include some brief facts on this great river before we leave it… Rising in the Massif Central, the Loire is the longest river in France at 1,102 km and drains more than a fifth of France’s land area. Denis and I agreed that when we were learning the rivers of a country in say primary school, we had absolutely no appreciation for the difference a river makes to an economy – think Loire or Mississippi or even much smaller rivers. Rivers were just something we had to learn but at that stage their importance meant little to us. While cycling, you really appreciate how significant they are – especially large ones – in defining how regions develop.
As we travelled along the Loire we noticed its extensive levee system. Many times the Veloroute was on the levee itself. If I’m reading this paper correctly, there are at least 600 km of levees. The photo doesn’t really give a good feel of the height of the levee over the surrounding ground.
I was interested to read here that there are more than forty bridges across the Loire. Though it states more than, I would have guessed far more.
Enough Loire facts.
When we take a rest day, we always stay in the same place for the second night. We would have loved to stay another night in Digoin but the hotel was closed for the next two days so we had to change. They suggested a hotel in Paray-le-Monial, we were fine with that.
I feel that I have been neglecting writing about the gorgeous French food! This was dinner in the restaurant of this small hotel in Paray-le-Monial. Denis had mentioned that the hotel was packed at lunchtime, we thought that was a good sign…
Eating dinner on the terrace