Favourite spots in Western France

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aflook
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Favourite spots in Western France

Postby aflook » 16 Feb 2020, 12:19pm

Hello, All.
I'm planning a trip from Calais to Santander for this summer. I'm hoping to have 6-8 weeks and wondered what people's favourite roads/towns/campsites/ cafes etc. were. I'm planning about 80km+ a day until the Pyrenees, with camping gear on a traditional tourer (lots of low gears, 32c tyres). I don't mind some off-road so long as it's not too rough. I like quiet campsites with views, historic towns and all forms of art. I attach the link to my route so far, but I haven't yet planned any rest days. I did Paris to Madrid last summer, which was fantastic. Thanks in advance!
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/138737

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al_yrpal
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby al_yrpal » 16 Feb 2020, 12:59pm

A bit off your route but I just love Guerande, a lovely medieval walled town. Last time I was there there was a wonderful medieval fair in progress. A great place to paint pictures.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

aflook
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby aflook » 16 Feb 2020, 1:19pm

A bit off your route but I just love Guerande, a lovely medieval walled town. Last time I was there there was a wonderful medieval fair in progress. A great place to paint pictures.

Al

Thanks. that's exactly the sort of thing I wanted to know. Guerande isn't that far off my route and there are plenty ofcampsites nearby so I'll put it high on my list of possible variations. Don't know any of the campsites do you?

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al_yrpal
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby al_yrpal » 16 Feb 2020, 1:42pm

No we were CC touring. Stayed in an old Inn in the middle of the town. Its not huge but has a lovely atmosphere. It was so nice I took my Mrs there by car another time which is when we encountered the fair.

Quick sketch of the ramparts and moat....

DSCF0147-1.jpg


Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

aflook
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby aflook » 16 Feb 2020, 2:04pm

Like the sketch. I never have the discipline to draw/paint when I'm on holiday.

djb
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby djb » 16 Feb 2020, 2:33pm

have you started the process to apply for visas yet ;-)

I'm far across the Atlantic sea so I can poke fun at you lot about that!

Ive biked in some areas you'll be going through, but dont have specific recommendations on campgrounds etc. I once rode most of the Pyrenees east to west in a big loop, arriving in Toulouse, then down to Carcassone area, then meandering westward in Pyrenees to the Basque area of France and into Spain a bit, then up the coast a bit, over to Bordeaux and back to Toulouse.
In that neck of the woods, I remember how lovely, rolling and green the Basque part of the Pyrenees was, compared to the rocky look of the main part of the Pyrenees. You'll enjoy the Basque area and hills after spending so much time on the coast.

Have you ever considered going into the meaty part of the Pyrenees? They are particularly beautiful and while yes, you end up climbing a lot, to me its worth the effort. The Pyrenees trip was my first time riding in mountains ever, and while it was hard at times, the gradients are reasonable and you just have to plan for shorter days for a given amount of metres of climbing, easy to know today with google maps etc, back in the 90s when I did this trip we didnt have this, and had to guesstiimate from maps etc.

I assume you are taking a pass on the D-Day landings area because you've already seen it, and or too much of a detour?

I see you'll be following the Eurovelo 6 route along the Loire to Nantes. Its fairly well signed and there are numerous campsites along the way, many of them rather nice. My wife and I did the EV 6 a few summers ago, and all in all for camping, it was fairly easy to plan ahead and to find info on the specific campgrounds.
They tend to be rated in "stars" and this gives you a pretty good idea of how the facilities are etc, but given that you did your previous trip, you'll be familiar with this. You'll also know that most campgrounds have wifi, so this is great for planning the next bunch of days ahead. Amazing tool this interwebs thing aint it?

re "days off"
I've always planned for one rest day per week, more or less, and find it works to have a break, go over your bike and stuff, and makes one appreciate being on the road again.
Did you take break days on your last trip? Totally personal of course, but I was surprised to see you didnt plan any.

If I recall specific towns etc I'll pop back in, but sometimes our memories of a great place comes from "the moment" or people we meet there, or the weather or whatever, so for someone else the same place can just be "oh, okay"

all the best planning

oh, the city of Nantes was fun to do a tourist day in, and the mechanical elephant and exhibit there is worth visiting for a few hours, from an artistic and mechanical view. Rather unique Jules Verney angle to it.

cheers

aflook
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby aflook » 16 Feb 2020, 2:47pm

Thanks djb. Yes I enjoyed the Pyrenees last year and I'm looking forward to seeing a different part this time. Not planning on lingering there as in Santander I'm meeting a friend for 2 weeks' touring in the Picos de Europa, so plenty of mountains then! I, too enjoyed EV6, though I did find myself yearning for the hills.
It's not that I'm not planning for rest days, I just haven't decided where yet. I might take some time in Nantes as I didn't stop there last time.
I found cycling past the D-Day beaches very moving, but don't wish to re-visit yet.
As for visas :x just don't get me started......

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby Cyril Haearn » 16 Feb 2020, 3:06pm

France is like most other European countries, hundreds of interesting towns, no need to visit big or famous ones
Guerande is twinned with Dolgellau, Cymru of course :wink:
Nice one Cyrille, nice one son..
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on 49" fixed
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aflook
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby aflook » 16 Feb 2020, 3:21pm

Absolutely, Cyril Haearn, which is why I'm interested in the funny nooks and crannies not often visited. Dolgellau is a favourite place of mine, too!

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mjr
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby mjr » 16 Feb 2020, 5:20pm

Very visited, but I liked Arcachon near Bordeaux, which is nearyour route. Former convalescence resort, briefly home to Alexandre Dumas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcachon
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Ray
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby Ray » 16 Feb 2020, 6:04pm

Well worth camping at Camping Municipal de la Citadelle in Blaye, on the Garonne estuary not far north of Bordeaux. You pitch inside the walls of the citadel itself, a short walk from the nice little port of Blaye.
Ray
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francovendee
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby francovendee » 16 Feb 2020, 6:22pm

Ray wrote:Well worth camping at Camping Municipal de la Citadelle in Blaye, on the Garonne estuary not far north of Bordeaux. You pitch inside the walls of the citadel itself, a short walk from the nice little port of Blaye.

That's a very good choice, lovely spot for a camp site and not too expensive.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby al_yrpal » 16 Feb 2020, 7:31pm

francovendee wrote:
Ray wrote:Well worth camping at Camping Municipal de la Citadelle in Blaye, on the Garonne estuary not far north of Bordeaux. You pitch inside the walls of the citadel itself, a short walk from the nice little port of Blaye.

That's a very good choice, lovely spot for a camp site and not too expensive.


Very fond of Cotes de Blaye wines too. Great value

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

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Morzedec
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby Morzedec » 17 Feb 2020, 9:37am

My favourite place in Western France?

My house, of course!

Happy days.

tatanab
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Re: Favourite spots in Western France

Postby tatanab » 17 Feb 2020, 9:46am

Ferry from Royan - a nice 30 minute nap.

A little off your route, the old walled city of Angouleme is home to the Comic Strip museum which may be of artistic interest. http://www.angouleme-tourisme.co.uk/