About five or six years ago, I traveled with my sister-in-law Tannis to France. Our home base was a small town near Chinon called Cinais. As part of our trip, Tannis and I toured some of the châteaux that Dennis and I are visiting this week. Of course, Tannis and I went by car. She was the driver. I was the navigator. It’s been a peculiar experience, this week retracing some of our journey, but this time on a bike.
My distinct memory from my earlier trip is that some of these places were a reasonably long drive. Yet, here I find myself covering the same roads on a bike and they don’t seem so far apart.
We started out today by visiting Cinais. As Dennis and I rode there, I was reminded of some of the things that Tannis and I had enjoyed together. I remembered clearly, as we passed by, the store where I bought three pairs of shoes! Regrettably, I’m not stopping to buy shoes today. I can’t manage any more weight in my panniers.
One of my favorite memories of our trip was Fontevraud Abbey and it was something I wanted to share with Dennis. It was and is a most hauntingly beautiful place. Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son, Richard the Lionheart were buried here. Their tombs rest in the abbey, though their corporal remains are no longer there. It is believed, though not known with certainty, that their remains were either lost or destroyed during the French Revolution.
After a morning of touring the abbey, we enjoyed a lunch in the square just outside. The French equivalent of a “Subway” sandwich is our favorite lunch time indulgence. The crispy, yet soft French baguettes, coupled with superb cured meats are hard to resist. (They actually have the American chain Subway in France. I cannot understand why anyone would choose to eat there, then the French option is so much better.)
In North America, we hear endlessly these days about gluten allergies. I wonder if the French suffer from this, too? I doubt it. It is such a common sight to see people toting their baguettes home for lunch or dinner. The boulangerie is the busiest shop in every town and even the smallest of towns has at least one.
Another great day!