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LIVE from the Camino Cycling on the Tours route

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Well guess what? I'm actually on a Camino. On the way to Poitiers, then to Chatellerault checking route options before heading south on the Tours route variant. It's raining. Life is almost normal. I'm camping, tonight I'm in Chauvigny, 1000 years a fortified town which apparently has not got any pilgrim history. Until today? Tomorrow Poitiers, which has.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Sounds very pretty .
Is it possible to upload a photo from your phone ?
Bon chemin
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hope you have dry weather.
Do pass by the Château d'Harcourt which is splendid.

Bon courage et Bon chemin.
 
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Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
I've got a complicated plan involving a bike, a camper van, a tent, and a husband that can't drive the van. Dogsitters living in our guest house, new born chicks, cats, dogs and donkeys to keep them busy.
How's the plan going?

There doesn't seem to be much accomodation on that part of the Tours route. Is the tent by choice or as backup in case the accommodation is not available / open?
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Hi all. The tent is by choice as in the best of times there isn't much budget accommodation. Here I hope are some pictures.P_20200613_184047.jpgP_20200613_184111.jpgP_20200613_184100.jpgP_20200613_184047.jpg
The tower is what can be seen of the old town from the campsite. I've just retired to the tent as another shower goes through.
Mspath, you've obviously been here. Did you try Pizza du Square?
More pictures tomorrow...
 

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Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Today had it's moments of interest. I had carefully planned a route into Poitiers and on to Chatellerault, which could work in either direction depending on where one wished to start. It might well have been good for walkers if they didn't mind the lack of places to rest, drink coffee, etc. What it wasn't was good for a hybrid bike on a rainy day.
So, back to the maps.
I ended up pushing the bike on wheels which were so encrusted in sticky mud that they didn't want to turn. Once back on a road I used some convenient puddles to wash off the worst of the glop. I refrained from testing other tracks and went directly to my planned campsite. I'm not sure exactly where the derailleur cable broke. Apparently there is a bike breakdown service not far away. There is a bit more to do between Poitiers and St Cyr, which is where I am tonight. Sorry, no photos on the route. But this is a nice place to be while the bike is fixed
P_20200614_182648.jpg
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
So, here I am still dodging rain showers and another night on the same campsite. I do however have my bike fixed after struggling to Chatellerault in top gear and a joyous return with all working and a much cleaner bike. I had removed the biggest lumps of adhesive red mud, and the rain helped a bit overnight. The bike shop did the rest when fixing the derailleur.
And best of all I met a pilgrim from the Sarthe (northern France) heading from Chatellerault to Poitiers. Yay! She isn't having an easy time with all pilgrim lodging still closed. We had a good chat as she ate lunch in a bus shelter. She's pulling a trolley with her camping gear and hopes that when she gets to the border it will be open. Wish her God speed if you see her....
Tomorrow I'm planning to be at St Pierre de Maillé {Tours secondary route) then home for a few days on Wednesday.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Well, people, this is who it's all aboutP_20200616_103157.jpg
In the St Jacques Church in Chatellerault.
Unfortunately behind a very solid metal cage, since someone stole his staff a few years ago.
He has company
P_20200616_103245.jpg
With his dog, which no-one has yet stolen.
The Tours route is rich in history but less so in accommodation. It's still well worth using for those who are either happy to camp or can afford hotels.
The bad news is that officially this year, there will be no pilgrim lodging either in hostels or family homes. I had this from the President of the association who has oversight of this route in France. His view is that many of the people who would normally offer accommodation are elderly and this classed as vulnerable. However, in June to September there are many campsites open, most of them also have some form of ready built tent or bungalow to hire.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
I spent a night in St Pierre de Maillé after Châtellerault, simple, clean, friendly and cheap campsite. Met my husband there for lunch, I suggest if you take this route you plan on staying there too.
Once home I did some work on revising the route to be a bit more direct between Poitiers and Chauvigny, and Poitiers and Châtellerault. I am also eliminating some of the more difficult tracks to ride in wet weather. I need to test some of the revised route, but for now I'm going to work on the route between Lussac les Châteaux and Angoulême.
I'm finding some campsites with cheap accommodation ready built, not all but I'll make notes as I go. I'm going to ask the Confraternity of St James to write and officially ask for pilgrim discounts. Some sites seem very open to this. Nearly all are now open, though some are in any case very seasonal.

What are you all hanging around for? Go pilgrims! Onwards and upwards!
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Bonjour @Barbara! Thanks for posting. It takes courage to set off in these times! The other day when out for a walk I met a couple of french pilgrims resting, sheltering from the heat of the day at Sembas, a hamlet on le voie de Rocamadour. They had set off from Gourdon, aiming for Lourdes, camping along the way as all the gîtes were shut. They were amusing themselves along the way by searching for fishing spots, using a piece of chicken wire to catch crawlies…

carte-voiederocamadour.jpg
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
What are you all hanging around for? Go pilgrims! Onwards and upwards!
Many of us cannot yet even leave our countries. And others of us would rather not, even we if we can.
May you have a blessed quiet way, Barbara. And thank you for letting us all know what it's like out there right now.
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
If you can't go yet, or you don't want to go yet, at least you can plan and prepare. It gives you a target.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Many of us cannot yet even leave our countries. And others of us would rather not, even we if we can.
May you have a blessed quiet way, Barbara. And thank you for letting us all know what it's like out there right now.
Thank you for reminding me. I tend to forget that some people here live a long way from Santiago. I hope you can enjoy a local pilgrimage while you wait for better times.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I hope you can enjoy a local pilgrimage while you wait for better times.
Merci et bon chemin.
Where I am there are restrictions until the end of the month at least. So I am learning to love walking back and forth......
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I loved reading about the pilgrims fishing. I hope that the French offer an exemption from fishing rules for pilgrims. One of the high points of walking in France was the possibility of overnight stays in farmers' gîtes along the way, where I had some wonderful meals and had great conversations in my fractured Ontario French.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Tomorrow I'll be driving to Lussac les Châteaux to set up a base camp with my ancient husband and continue checking out the route to Angoulême. I expect it will rain. Today I spent the afternoon in a casualty department waiting while one of the house sitters got four stitches in the thumb he sliced working on his van. Cycling in the rain is probably an improvement on that.
I'll keep you informed on what I find, but don't actually expect Châteaux, as there aren't any that I know of. There are three bars and a campsite though. Onwards and upwards!
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
It didn't rain. Must be a mistake. Today I did Lussac les Châteaux to L'Isle Jourdain and return (because husband, camper to collect) a real delight. It can be done entirely on a disused railway line but I took some country roads as well in the hope of coffee stops. Potentially two but too early for one of them.
Onwards and upwards!
Moving the base camp in the morning.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Crossing the Charente beyond Charroux. I pushed the bike. And for quite a bit further. 1593673682353.jpg
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Still in the department of the charente, the river is getting wider and the bridges more substantial. I've had a rest day yesterday, and today I explored some alternative routes. I've also been swimming, drunk enough wine and eaten a lot of oysters. It hasn't rained. Go, Pilgrims ! The campsites are mostly open, France is close to normal, and the school holidays have started (not sure how they can tell the difference after three months off and two weeks back, but there you go...
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Just short of Angoulême today at a new base camp. Autocorrect made it bar camp, which might not be completely wrong. Tusson was an amazing tiny town with lots to see, and Lanville Abbey Church had mIMG_20200706_101546.jpge gobsmacked. This route has so much of historical interest and some delightful tracks and minor roads.
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Not sure what route you intend to take, but if I were you I’d head through Saintes to the Royan ferry, then south on the Littoral - fabulous for bikes. I was told the inland route through Les Landes is lonely endless forest.
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I went that way in 2018 and 2019 en route to Brittany and Ireland.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Thanks, Perigrinopaul, but the idea is to create a guide for this rather little known but historically valid secondary route. I've already done the routes you mention, and liked the coastal route very much. A détour via Talmont is well worth doing before Royan, as that is where many Pilgrims took the boat across the Gironde estuary. If you go the inland route its only a day and a half in the Landes if cycling BTW.
What I'm cycling is the Eastern Tours route via Châtellerault and Angoulême as far as St Aulaye to the south, then I have to link it to the Spanish border. At the moment I'm using sections of known routes in a vaguely straight line to Pau.
If you are interested send me a pm and I'll link you to what I have so far. Bear in mind the guide is only in Alpha test so far.
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I've already done the routes you mention, and liked the coastal route very much.
Ah, yes, and I've just noted that you are from France!
My connection with the coastal route derives from the fact that I leave my (other) bike with my son who lives in Cork Ireland; (I'm from Australia). This year I had intended to do a Cork-Santiago Camino, via the Nantes-Brest canal and down the coast to the Voie du Littoral and St Jean. Ain't going to happen. It'll be map-gazing until next year. I'm enjoying following your journey. Bon chemin.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
An Irish camino sounds like fun. I loved my cycle tour of the whole island, including a mini pilgrimage on foot up a middling sized hill. I've walked the canal and cycled it. You can link it to the Veloddysee very easily. Actually it would be entirely possible as soon as you can get here, there are hire bikes (I know, not the same at all) Actually I've got a nice and very suitable bike you could borrow if you aren't too tall. Easy enough to get a train to Poitiers then to wherever you fancy as start point. Then you can go on to the Norte or the Basque Interior. Or any other camino you fancy, really. There is an amazing green way goes about half way to. Pamplona, then quiet roads the rest of the way.
As to where I am now, I went north to St Amant de Boixe today, yesterday was south to St Michel. Tomorrow the van goes to Mouthiers sur Boeme, and I'm going to St Michel and back. Yes, some complex logistics involved.
Happy mapping,!
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Well, much to and fro with van and bike has me at St. Aulaye. I need to backtrack the bike about 20km then I should have a viable route from Châtellerault to here. 1594472008164-01.jpeg
Here is another 11th century Church. This one is at Plassac. And here is a fairly typical track which is lovely to look at but a bit rough for bikes
1594455750161-04.jpeg
I've been using minor roads and the easier tracks as I'm doing this primarily for cyclists.
1594471449060-02.jpeg
It is a brave Pilgrim who would set out on this route without a proper map, but I thought the marker showing all the Western routes was nice, if not spectacularly useful.
Next move for me will be back home to revise the guide with tracks I now have alpha tested. Then back to test as a continuous route from Châtellerault, before I continue to the border.
 

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Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Hi Pilgrims
I'm off home now to revise the route and get everything sorted for release into the wild. Tours Eastern variant Châtellerault to Ste Foy la Grande for now, extension to. Somport later. Back soon when it's ready for beta test. In the meantime, onwards and upwards!
 


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