Food is an essential part of any holiday, so we sampled the delights of the on-site restaurant. Yes I know I said we would do some cooking but that comes later, honest. There are 2 menus available at 20 and 30 euros respectively. We tried the food from both, Foie Gras, Duck confit, steak and it was good food and tasty but probably a bit expensive for what it was. For 50 euros without drink I’d have expected a little better. The setting is pleasant enough with seating inside and out, plus a convenient playground a few steps away to sooth restless children. The staff are very attentive and speak good English but the menu doesn’t change often, so it could get a bit repetitive to eat here often. There is a takeaway where the usual fare of burgers, pizzas and a roast chicken can be ordered. Our mobile home’s kitchen was a comfortable size and well equipped for self-catering, fridge/freezer, cooker, microwave and a useful selection of utensils mean you can rustle up your own grub very nicely. We cooked a selection of relatively simple dishes and supplemented them with some local produce, such as cheese and wine (it would be rude not to support the local economy wouldn’t it?). We very much enjoyed sitting on our verandah for some al fresco dining.
The on-site supermarket was convenient but with limited stock and a little pricy, so we used the Super U in Mer, only a few minutes’ drive away, to secure our provisions. The Canvas office have directions to about 4 supermarkets in the area. All those that doubted we would cook, now hang your head in shame.
With all the good food available, self-catered or otherwise, a popular way to work off the pounds is to cycle. This area is relatively flat and there are something like 550 Km of cycle friendly paths, trails and back roads to enjoy. Bikes are available to hire at the site or in the village and a brilliant map called Les Chateau a Velo is available from the information office. It shows you all the routes on a map of the area, indicating the distance, type of route (path, road, track), plus other useful information. More information is also available at www.bloischambord.com. We got talking to another “silver” couple who were staying in the mobile home a few doors down from us. They love the cycling in this area & come here with Canvas every year. Although they also try out other places, they end up here as a “banker” that they are sure to enjoy.
For us the main form of exercise was walking. The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes is a UNESCO World heritage site and is described as an outstanding cultural landscape of great (I would say exceptional) beauty. The Canvas team have put together a guide which suggests some walks in the area and some additional cycle rides. We walked for hours along La Loire river and there are some handy parking spots so you can pick up where you left off the day before, without walking the same route again. For a couple of days the temperature was perfect, the sun shone, the dragon flies danced above the reeds with electric blue reflecting in their wings, wild orchids beamed from the bank, trees shed their fluffy white blossom so that it seemed we were walking through a snowstorm. Hand in hand, at that moment in time, there was no place in the world we’d rather be. The walking paths/bike trails were fairly deserted and we’d walk for quite some time before passing another soul. Nearly all greeted us with a cheery bonjour. In fact my bonjour pronunciation must have been getting quite good, as a passing lady with her dog rattled off at machine gun speed a sentence or two in French. Sadly I was to disappoint her by explaining that I only spoke a little French but her smile was restored when I also knew enough to say good dog. As I patted her dog on the head I’m sure she thought about patting me on the head for my attempts at her language.
Sadly the war between the good and plentiful local produce and the exercise was being won by the local produce, the results of which were being displayed on my waistline. My Silver travel bag was so dismayed it got straight onto designing and filming its own workout video to remedy the situation. All to be revealed in the next chapter.
- Read Chapter 1: Camping, who me?
- Read Chapter 2: The bag and the carousel
- Read Chapter 3: Chateau Des Marias
- Read Chapter 5: Testing the hypothesis
- Read Chapter 6: I kissed the girl!