🇫🇷 Day 9 – Exciting Start

A cooler than usual morning lended itself to a cycle along a canal, so we got ourselves fed and changed, bikes prepped and on Bampa’s car before setting off towards Châtel-Censoir, the drop-off point.

Bampa runs two sat-nav’s; the in-car job and a separate Garmin for the front-facing camera that detects stuff, like speed limits and lane drifting. Sure enough, as we entered the long stretch of Rue du Colonel Rozanoff towards the town centre, a Gendarmerie stepped out from the side of the road and waved us in. Oh my goodness. We stopped and I buzzed the window down but the officer wasn’t interested in me; she wanted the driver obvs. After a few high-tension minutes of no insurance papers (at the Gîte) and a struggle to locate a drivers licence in wallet (new wallet) we were waved away with a slap on the wrist and a wave at Missy in the back seat.

Thereafter it was all plain sailing; a beautiful stretch of fully laid tarmac hugs the Canal du Nivernais, which follows roughly the Yonne river all the way. What a brilliant concept; unbroken stretches of smooth, flat tarmac for cyclists. We cycled along unperturbed by traffic and waved to others with a cheery “Bonjour!” and each time it was returned.

We stopped every now and again for water and photos before terminating around Mailly-le-Château, with its striking Château on the hill above looking down on the little village. A quick burst around the outskirts and bridges, before a snack for Missy and back towards the drop-off once more. The architecture in all these small towns is always beautiful and different in each town you get to. At the drop-off we were early so the ladies took to the play park in the shade, while I detached the baby seat and headed up into town for a look. I wanted to try get to the hill where all the really stunning buildings seemed to be, so found the hill and got myself up it, despite a local knowingly smile at me as I blew out every orifice to get there. Once at the top I saw a weird church style group of houses. Google doesn’t bring much more information so I’ll just have to be in the dark.

Got back down and Bampa had arrived back again, so we quickly got the bikes on the roof and headed home. The rest of the afternoon was spent watching a film with Missy while others had afternoon kips, and then a lovely Bolognese for dinner, a few drinky-pops and a card game or two, then bed. Another rapid day but a good one at that.